On a recent sunny weekday, drivers on the scenic, hilly twists of Mulholland Drive near Los Angeles were treated to an eye-catching sight; dozens of bicyclists in bright orange uniforms, taking the hills in apparently effortless stride — except possibly for a few stragglers near the back, struggling to catch up.
And who were those laggards? A few brave people from RallySM, sweating hard to keep up with the incredible men and women of the Rally Cycling team. The three-hour, 30-mile ride was organized by Circuit Sport to give the members of the men’s and women’s teams a rare chance to meet and ride together. (Usually their busy race schedules keep them apart.)
Rally staffers Raleigh Swick, Chris Carey, and Karl Ulfers at training camp.
Rally staffers were invited to join the fun, and a few hardy souls took up the challenge in the name of promoting better health and having a good time, among them Chief Creative Officer Rhett Woods, Senior Designer Raleigh Swick, Vice President of Product Karl Ulfers, and Product Director Christopher Carey. Full disclosure: Carey is a former pro cyclist himself who rode for the McGuire Cycling and American Lung Association teams from 2003 to 2010.
It’s all part of Rally’s commitment to better health. “Cycling is a fantastic way to improve one’s health, both for lifestyle enthusiasts and professionals,” says David Ko, Rally Health’s president and chief operating officer. “We are inspired by these athletes, and know their stories will help motivate Rally users to stay active.”
So how did the Rally staffers do on the ride? “It was fun, but hard,” says Swick, an avid cycler who rides 100 miles per week. “You just kept looking up and seeing all those orange jerseys spread out miles ahead of you on Mulholland Drive. It was humbling.”
Carey, on the other hand, had a blast. “The men and women on the Rally Cycling team are awesome,” he says. “Danny Pate is a hero of mine. He’s raced at the top level, yet has been consistently anti-doping. I got to chat with him about doing the Tour de France. And I got to catch up with Evan Huffman, a local guy from Sacramento who I used to race with. Anyway, this was a ‘recovery’ ride for them, after nine days of straight training, so for them it was an easy ride, but for us it was fast. I stayed mostly in the back, ’cause I figured, if I’m going to crash, I’ll crash on my own and not take the whole team down with me.”
As for Ulfers, the ride “had a significant amount of hill climbs in it, so it was a hard day at the office,” he says, laughing. “But it was a great time, and it was incredible to see the passion and the abilities of the professional cyclists. They obviously had to take it down a notch for us amateurs that were riding along with them.”
Ulfers loves to ride but gave it up for a year to train for his first marathon. Now he’s back on the bike. “I think what’s so cool about the Rally Cycling team is that they themselves are incredible athletes and very accomplished at what they’re doing, but that’s only one part of the mission,” he says. “The other part is to inspire others to be healthy, and for me personally, that’s certainly what happened.”
And then Ulfers let us in on a little secret. Turns out Chief Creative Officer Rhett Woods fell a little bit behind the group, ended up taking a right when everyone else took a left, and accidentally added a couple of extra miles to his ride. Oops!
Chief Creative Officer Rhett Woods (before he got lost).
“The funny story about that is that Rhett and I did a century ride this past summer, where we rode 100 miles together, and we also ended up adding three miles to that route, because we made a wrong turn. So it’s part of a grand tradition. That’s what we do here at Rally, we go the extra mile. Literally!”
Read more about Rally Cycling here.