Get A Grip Cycles Client: Brent PeeblesTuesday, August 9th, 2011 at 8:49 am | Written by Get A Grip Cycles
One day, Brent Peebles decided to go from working “billions” of hours for IBM to working and living for…himself and his family. This is a story of the proverbial escape from corporate America.
Though still a burgeoning cyclist, he’s like an Energizer bunny with his heart and mind in the game–just the kind of client we here at Get A Grip Cycles come to work daily to help and support.
He entered the 2009 Chicago Triathlon, bought a bike and “that was the beginning of it,” says Peebles. Now, two years later, he’s up to five or six triathlons a year, though he’s consciously adding cycling-only events to his schedule in 2011 to strengthen his cycling, which he considers his weakest (and favorite?) tri event.
“When I started doing triathlon, I immediately fell in love with cycling, just being on a bicycle with the wind around you and in your ears–it’s a spiritual thing,” he says. “I bought a decent entry-level bike right out of the gate, a Cannondale, and started out doing long rides by myself and would start to push myself and a college friend offered some initial remote coaching,” Peebles recalls.
That’s when we met Brent: “I did a fitting with Get A Grip and right away knew I wanted to up my equipment, get a carbon bike,” he says. “I worked with Adam [Kaplan] and he was top-notch. He wasn’t just fitting me, he was problem solving, fitting a bike to an actual person–and found the right bike for me.”
Which ended up being a Serotta Meivici. “I actually went and did a tour of the Serotta factory and walked out ready to get one,” says Peebles. “Adam had talked about Serotta and to see them building the bikes and to know that every single piece of that bike was hand-built in the U.S.A. and in that shop was ridiculous.”
It was also thanks to Geoff at Get A Grip that Peebles quickly turned from solo rides to more serious, formal training at Vision Quest Coaching, a top triathlete training firm based in the Chicago area and Florida.
“The rest is history,” says Peebles, and this level of physical, emotional and intellectual investment explains how Peebles has been able to go so far in endurance sports in a relatively short amount of time (like he said, about two years). “One reason I’ve been able to go zero-to-60 has been Vision Quest and my coach teaching me how to prep for races, race strategies, etc.
“I also have a very understanding wife,” he adds, quickly.
Put To The Test
Utilizing his hard- and quickly-won endurance, Peebles has turned his entire lifestyle around to participate in cycling events around the globe, including the fraught-with-pain Schwalbe Tour TransAlp, billed as “The Most Spectacular Stage Race For Everyone…7 Stages, 917 kilometers, 19,553 altitude meters.”
The event included “insane climbs” like the Stelvio Motirolo (up to a 21-percent grade). “I was never more happy to be off the bike than that day,” says Peebles. “We would descend (up to 53 m.p.h.) and immediately start climbing again.”
There were 1200 riders in the event, taking up quite a bit of roadway, says Peebles, who found pro-cycling attitudes made apparent: “Cars would have to wait but everyone was cool about it. Here, no one wants to wait an hour; there, they were taking pictures, cheering, clanging cowbells. It was the closest I’ll ever come to a Tour de France kind of thing,” finishes Peebles, who came in 84th out of 220 in the results.
“Having a power meter was huge. We’d be keeping in our range on the first climb and people would pass us, but on the next climb, or the next, we’d be passing them up again. We would also get to the flats and people would have nothing left and it really was learning how you can manage seven days of your own energy. Some days I did better than others, that’s for sure.”
In short, “It was the hardest physical thing I’ve ever done.”
Besides training here at home in Chicago, Peebles continues his work with Vision Quest and travels to cycle when he can: “I did a six-day camp in Santa Rosa, Calif., to prepare for that race,” he says. “I’ve also been able to ride in Las Vegas and Saratoga, N.Y., plus all the Vision Quest events in Wisconsin and CompuTrainer workouts simulating mountain rides,” he says of prepping for vertically-minded events when living in the flatlands.
“This year I’m focused on two Olympic triathlons, one down and one to go,” says Peebles. “I’ll do some Gran Fondos in Wisconsin, in Blue Mounds; and then the Dairlyland Dare in Dodgeville, Wisc., essentially a Fondo. It’s five 23-mile laps, so it’s going to be a long day.” Join him?
Firefly Cycles Hits A Nerve
Peebles had read about new custom bike company, Firefly Bicycles (who we wrote about a while back in this post), and then walked into a Firefly frame at the Get A Grip Cycles pro shop on West Irving Park Road. “It was just hanging there and looked really awesome, just beautiful,” remembers Peebles. “I started asking Adam a few questions and then we got a little more serious and now the bike should be here anytime.”
Now you’re jealous! “[Adam] told me about [Firefly] and when you look at what they do and the cost, it was the perfect choice for me. More on that soon,” finishes Peebles, who admits to having a life apart from triathlons and cycling.
The family, including his two children: both love to ride and the kids are keeping him busy with their activities these days. He’s keeping them busy, too, though, with family travel often taking the form of outdoor and, often, cycling-related adventures. That and New York Yankees baseball. “Our schedule is arranged around games,” he says, adding, “…and craft beer, the hoppier the better.”
Last and certainly least for the purposes of this post, Peebles does work post-IBM. “I’m still not totally sure what I want to be when I grow up, but I’m an IT consultant for overall business solutions,” says Peebles. “My clients are very supportive and the flexible schedule lets me get all this done and still have a life.”
From your lips to God’s ears, Brent. Thanks for the look into your life…at home and on the road!
p.s. Firefly Cycles, can we get this guy some swag already, LOL?