The best part of this company is seeing pictures and reading stories from our customers. This post is from Rachel and Roger.
How did you meet?
We met when I was in grad school at UF, and Roger was finishing up his engineering degree. I had just moved to Gainesville, and as a cyclist, my priority was to find some nice routes in the area - and other cyclists, too! One day, driving back from class, I just *happened* to see a rather handsome cyclist riding into my neighborhood. I promptly pulled him over (yes, I was still in the car, and probably terrified him), and asked if he would go for a bike ride with me. The rest is history.
P.S. - After 10 years of being married, he still has the piece of paper with my phone number on it, that I gave him that day.
What was the most challenging ride / run? Why?
Our most challenging run was the first ultramarathon we did together. It was a North Face Endurance Challenge Series event, outside of Washington, D.C. It was only a 50K - not too far - but we had no idea what to expect. In particular, I'd underestimated the importance of training for downhill running. Within the first 5 miles, the steep downhills got the better of me, and my quads started seizing up. It felt like knives stabbing into my legs, and I could barely walk. It was painful, but I was also mad at myself, and determined to finish...so I did. I had to stop and stretch after almost every downhill, and it took much longer than anticipated. Roger was there with me every step of the way. It was a learning experience for both of us - and it also got us both hooked on ultrarunning. Because as painful as that experience was, we loved the beauty of the trails and scenery, the friendly and welcoming running community, and the challenge.
...as a post-script: we've come a far ways since then! we regularly finish top 5 in trail and ultra-running events in NorCal, behind pro racers and the top finishers in Western States. There's still a lot of room for us to improve, though!
What's on your event calendar this year?
This year is about continuing to build a solid base of trail running events and training. This means a few select local races, like the Toro Loco 30K in August, and the Mt. Tam 50K in November. Our long-term goal (maybe for 2017..?) is to qualify for Western States. That's a bucket list item for us both.
Describe the perfect day...
Any day outside exploring is a perfect day. Whether chasing new trails along a skyline ridge, or riding our bikes across mountain passes, California has lots of opportunities for perfect days.
The first photo is from June 2016, and was taken at the summit of the Haleakala volcano in Maui (it was a pretty tough, 35 mile climb from sea level to 10,000 ft!)
The second photo is from September 2015, and was taken during our cross-country trip from NYC > San Francisco. This was at the top of the(in)famous Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs, CO.
The third photo is from January 2016 and was taken at the top of the Franz Josef glacier in New Zealand. We took a helicopter to the top of the glacier, and hiked around it - it was gorgeous.
A friend asked how this company got started. I initially answered with the story about the product itself, but driving home I realized the true origin went back further into history and truly had nothing to with The Warmfront.
In the late 90's I was working as a software engineer in Boulder. I bought this journal at Eddie Bauer to keep lists of songs and movies I liked and didn't want to forget, and started recording ideas for inventions in it.
I was traveling for work and was at Stapleton Airport - probably pre-wireless - and took my company laptop out of the gigantic suitcase that housed it to look like an important businessman. I was probably playing Solitaire.
I was struggling to create a spot on my lap for this clunky piece of machinery, squeezing my knees and other sensitive areas together with little success. The laptop almost slipped off, it was uncomfortable, hot, etc.
After the trip, I wrote this entry in my journal: Laptop strap / leg holder. My little engineer brain was creating a laptop bag that would fold out into a lap desk of some sort. At the time I was disorganized, lacking focus and confidence, and forgot about this.
A few years later, I'm on another business trip and open up Skymall. What do I see for sale in there? My bag/desk idea. The product description sounded identical to my concept.
I hated that feeling. But it was actually the start of my personal growth and maturing. Instead of thinking my idea was stolen, I recognized that I had done nothing with my idea. I resolved that I would design something else and finish it. I didn't know what, how or when, and the Warmfront was still a few years away, but I wasn't going to let an invention sit in my journal and fade away.
P.S. If you look at the first entry in this journal, you'll see Flashing CHMSL. Full geek disclosure, that stand for Center High Mounted Stop Light. You know those brake lights that are in the middle of the liftgate or rear window on cars? That is the official name.
In the 2000s, it was a new invention. I thought they would be more effective if under heavy braking, they would flash. Take a look at some of the newer cars when you're stuck in traffic - the lights start flashing.
Thoughts and hopefully inspirations from the Warmfront.