Meet my friend "Big Daddy" Riley. Ours is a classic post web 2.0 friendship - we've never actually met. Both of us work in the apparel business and where introduced by a mutual colleague who thought we could "do some business" together. We are working on some things, but I've recently realized that most of our conversations, emails, or Facebook messages revolve around triathlon instead.
I don't remember how we found out that the other was into triathlon, it was probably through a Facebook post one of us made. Originally, I was expecting him to call me for opinions about artwork and retailing, not the merits of 2 piece tri-suits. But that's OK. The truth is, it's actually a more interesting subject.
Like me, Riley is 40. Unlike me, he is a natural built endurance athlete, 6'3, 175 lbs, currently with 9% body fat. Tall and lean.
He was going to do his first race - a 70.3 - on May 8th. But some knee problems sidelined him. In retrospect, I think he's glad. Because once he started training he realized how important training really is. Which is cool, because this is all one big learning process. Everything happens for a reason and injury aside, I think he welcomed the delay. Now his first triathlon is in July in New Jersey. He's also doing a time trial in Philadelphia next week. So his season is about to kick off.
Riley, correct me if I'm wrong, but you where going on about how you only wore black. Isn't there some red and white in that jersey? What's up with that?
Riley has got style. He's Johnny Cash with tons of tattoos and a sick bike. He was telling me today that when he showed up for his first ride with a local bicycling club, he was the only one driving an old hearse with flames painted on the side. It made for some awkward moments in the parking lot, but he quickly earned the respect in the peloton. And apparently he's dropping everyone on the hills now. Well played if you ask me.
When he's not sleeping, training, or eating way healthier than I do, Riley is the owner of Evil Brand Clothes. I like his stuff. Other fashion trends come and go, but the hot rodding & rockabilly scene will never go away.
We have a lot in common. We both came into the sport at about the same time. We both have wives that are non-participating but very supportive, and we both agree that triathlon is one of the most important things that has happened to us in our adult lives. We also both come from climbing backgrounds. And we both like to rock. I noticed he referenced an AC/DC song on Facebook today. I did the same thing about a month ago.
The coolest thing Riley told me today was how training has had such a positive impact on him mentally. He says that in the past winters where always tough. Before he started Evil Brand he was a freelance photographer and there just wasn't much work around at that time of year. Plus the weather didn't help. As a result he would get depressed. But this last winter, the training kept him occupied and his mind and body fit. I can completely relate.
Inevitably, I'll meet Riley in person soon, though I don't know if it will be at a business function or at a race. But until then, we'll have plenty to talk about.