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        I just started to understand that I should start documenting my life. And I can do it in such a way where it’s not conceited, and it’s a way for me to just share my life with the people that I actually really care about; those being my friends, my family, our clients and the people within the industries that we work in.

From here forward, I’m going to be more cautious of sharing my life in a humble manner. It is a way to inspire and expose some of the things that are happening to me. I think I am very privileged to be a part of a lot of things. Hopefully, I get to inspire people in maximizing their efforts, in everything that they do. Whether you’re a marketer, a designer, an enthusiast, or whatever it is that you do, just to get you where you want to be. If I can be part of that in any way, I would love to.

So the day starts with going to see Otter Classic. In the midst of this, I have been a part of multiple things, like my Rally team. And as you can see in the photo below, the Raptor looks great, with a bicycle on its back.

            I’ve been fortunate enough to be working with a few partners on this new project, this is our 511 tactical/course and performance, Ford Raptor. This Raptor is going to be a SEMA Vehicle. This is about living and exposing the outdoor lifestyle from an off the grid mentality, and being able to do as much as you can with the truck. You can practically live out of it and enjoy every feat of the world.

This is going to be the first journey of this truck. I am a car nut. I love playing in the dirt, from bicycles to motorcycles and cars. For those who do know me, it’s been a big passion of mine since I was a kid growing up in Elwood, New Jersey. So this truck will be my chariot for the 800-mile-trek, round trip from Orange County to the Sea Otter Classic.

Getting to the Sea Otter Classic was just a journey in itself. I was still understanding the technology of this truck, so I didn’t really get a lot of pictures nor  document anything. But here’s one of the pictures on the ride up. It looks amazing.

So as soon as I get to Monterey, the first thing I wanted to do was, hit the beach. So we went straight to the beach. On our way there, I checked out this beautiful tree that’s being held up by some wood and some other type of structure. It’s really showing that it has served its time, and I love the fact that Monterey is trying to preserve it.

As I’m walking through, I notice this bus. It’s a pretty cool bus. I’m all about finding efficient ways to get through life and I see a family of 7 living out of this school bus. It’s dear to me and my wife to see families, who really appreciate life without technology. They just embrace the beauty of what is naturally there. We ended up stopping and talking to the family. If you look at this image closely, you’ll notice that the kids have a hand print on the side of the truck. And it’s just a really cool for them to have it. The kids will never ever forget these memories of exploring and playing together, among other things.

As I walk through the rest of the streets of Carmel, which is a higher end type of street, I start noticing galleries popping up left and right. My buddy Brad and I started dabbling into our inner art nerd. Something that’s really close to my heart is comic books. Art was never a reality for me being a first generation American for an immigrant family. Art was not a serious career because we’re known to be in the service phase of medical or blue collar work. Art really reached out to me and I feel that sometimes you’re just born with a God-given gift.

What really called out to me in my time was Marvel and DC comic books. When I look at art, I can appreciate it. I can see the depth and the meaning. But when you see art that has anything related to DC, Marvel or any type of form of comic book that I grew up with, you got me by the heart strings.

Above are 4 amazing art pieces by Devon. When you look at these images, it’s amazing to see how much clarity he has with what is portrayed in his mind. He was able to bring out what he was seeing in his eyes, and unto a canvas. The amount of layers that he has been able to manifest into each art piece is amazing.

If you look at things like the Wonder Woman, she is plowing through the canvas in the midst of chaos. The image shows America having this vision of a world, where Wonder Woman plows through showing what a real woman should be like; strong, bold, beautiful, confident and intelligent. It’s blasting through all the things cliché, that people think that women should be.

The images on the background that Devon has done is of half-naked women and people marketing women in a different manner; in a different eye. This isn’t necessarily the way things need to be.

I, being a father, this image means the world to me. If I had a spare $20,000 laying around, and I could make ethical sense of buying this art piece, I would have bought this for my daughter. I would buy it just so for her to know, that no matter what you think, no matter what you do, your perseverance and upbringing will get you through it all. Your shield will be the kind of upbringing that you had. And your discipline will be your mindset. It really means a lot to me what Wonder Woman portrays.

If you also look at Capt. America, it’s a bottom-up vision of him stepping over, protecting you through all the turmoil in the world. He even has images of Trump in there. It’s an amazing touch and feel. You can also see the two Batman pieces talk about diversity as well.

So I moved on from Carmel Street and out to a couple of festivities to hang out with the guys from Giant Bicycle. The bicycle industry is a really cool niche. There’s the corporate side and there’s the purist side. A lot of the bicycle people in this phase have a really good bullshit meter, but when you get past that bullshit meter, you start getting embraced by a group of individuals. They are real, and like to have fun. But they also do very good business. There’s no company cooler than Crank Brothers.

The Crank Brothers is based out of Laguna Beach, CA, an Italian based parent company. Some people know them from their past, being at culture groups. This group ended up taking over the company, keeping some of the original people and reviving it to a whole new being. I am really proud to be friends with these guys, they’re more family than anything.

I am really proud to watch them grow and see their new product line. I’m also excited for the new products they’re bringing out to the bicycle industry, which is an improved seat dropper post with different options. They also have some new and amazing pedals that no one in the industry has really thought of. It’s really innovating to see these guys become the apple of the bicycle industry, knowing that someone is constantly pushing and recreating the wheel. And these guys literally recreated the wheel. If you get a chance to look up Crank Brothers to get an idea of what these guys really do, please do so. It’s really quite impressive and I hope you enjoy seeing what they come up next.

I wanted to go to bed but this party was so ridiculous. I swear, they had a mansion that they rented out, where the entire staff stayed in as true family of business. The house was so big and so hard to get to. I couldn’t help but think that a Cuban drug lord lived there. The house was gorgeous with so many finite details over 10,000 square feet. What a way for a brand like Crank Brothers to embrace and appreciate their athletes and their staff members. I finally got out of that party and got some rest knowing that the next morning will be an epic ride.

I knew that coming the next morning was going to be the 1 year anniversary of road riding.  It’s really important to me. I haven’t been road riding for a while. I had a weird and uncomfortable vibe about wearing the bicycle kits that road bike riders wear. I wasn’t confident in my body at all and when I put on my shorts and jersey on, I felt really disgusting.

I mean, I was really embarrassed and was not really into it. A year later, I lost 22 pounds, by eating correctly and really enjoying the ride. Now my body has all new forms of muscle memory for riding a bike. It has been phenomenal.

Giant Bicycle is very corporate but also family-oriented. If you’re within the team and within the business, you’ll understand how these guys operate. Today, the company took everyone out to Sea Otter Classic. Sea Otter Classic is one of the largest bicycle events, where everyone from all over the world comes to enjoy the festival of cycling whether you’re a road rider, a mountain bike and etc. It also hosts the most epic scenery you will ever see in California. It’s in Monterey, California. We rode the 7-mile and we were setting up shop to ride.

The guy in this image happens to be the global marketing director. Basically he’s helping him out, talking to him about his shock and explaining to him the details.

The bicycle ride was just epic, Giant Bicycles took us (around 50 riders maybe?) to a very quick loop of the 7-mile route, which was one of the most incredible sceneries I have ever seen. My best friend, Brad introduced me to road riding because I told him I wanted to be in better shape. I wasn’t really happy with my physique. He encouraged me to start road riding. I ended up doing the road ride.

A year later, here I am today riding with some of the bicycle industries’ most passionate bicycle riders. We ended up taking this loop, which was one of the most awesome loops ever. It was supposed to be a mellow ride and I was looking forward to do a calm and fun kind of anniversary ride for myself, but these guys were just so excited. And they are not the type to take things lightly. They’re aggressive entrepreneurs and passionate enthusiasts. I should have known better that it wasn’t going to be the ride I expected.

We ended up pedaling from as low as 16Mph to the highs of 32Mph. Adrenaline came over me. I was starting to enjoy the ride. Unfortunately, it was suddenly stopped because a good friend of mine didn’t warn me about a pot hole. Everyone was moving so fast and quickly in excitement and adrenaline. I did not notice that my tires slowly started to leak out and I was left abandoned on the side of the street.

I had to call an Uber and that was a wrap for my ride, but I really enjoyed the memories. It’s a pretty comedic situation and I really appreciate how everybody in the end found it a good laugh on how and why it happened. We basically just a good chuckle out of leaving me out on the road and me being not able to truly keep up. It’s a real great atmosphere from a professional and personal sense, to have friends and colleagues, from whom you can let your guard down and enjoy a couple of good jokes while pedaling your ass off.

We went back to both of the events. I went around in laps saying hi to a bunch of friends, really delighted with the atmosphere. Catching up with everybody and seeing how they’re doing, and giving advice under social media space, was really great.  It was good to hear that people are starting to welcome social media. I personally have been preaching it since 2004. But the biggest thing that you’ll hear from pioneers, is you need to be patient.

You have to be able nurture your consumers and customers; and let them make the decision on their own. We are not in a world where people are pushing sales or really pulling sales but what we are trying to do is pull in the community versus pushing forward growing companies. People out there realize that bringing in communities is the revenue driver, not driving in conversions and having a meaningless transaction.

I got to sit down with the legendary bicycle rider Hans Rey. Everybody has impressions, but he makes a real impression that he has digitized. The guy is literally a living legend in the bicycle world. He gets comments and posts. You’ll see other guys that are just getting huge views, likes and numbers, which I think is an outer layer of an impression.

Reach embracing and so on and so forth is a really nice piece but when you get the impressions like Hans Rey does on his social media, and the type of comments that gets to him, it becomes one of a kind. Hans Rey is like Michael Jordan. And the craziest part is, imagine if Michael Jordan actually responded back to you. That’s what Hans does. He makes a true impression. The value may not be there, but the value of what Hans brings to the table is immersive. How he can then take that and embrace it in a creative mindset is amazing, where again we are in a world where creatives are going to be leaders again. That’s where guys like Hans will see huge success. So it was really nice to see him and all that. As I was walking away from that conversation, I heard a couple giggles and laughs.

I ended up noticing that my buddy Marcelo Gutierrez was signing autographs being the amazing rider that he is. But something was different and I just finished talking to Hans about making a lasting impression. I turned around and here is Marcelo signing a four year old kid’s shirt. The more breathtaking part was that Marcelo signed it, and picked up the kid. He passed the baby on to his teammate to his right and started a trail. I think it’s really cool when you can influence somebody from that standpoint. Those images are going to last on that kid’s life forever. I quickly whipped out my camera, recorded the entire experience, because no one could ever explain that experience for that child for their parents and for the team.

Emotions were high. Facts were real. And the reality of it all was that, here is this team making a lasting impression. There will be a day that that kid comes back with that video and comes back to Giant Bicycles and says “Hey, I want to ride for Giant because of this moment.”  Or “Hey, I’m on the podium because of this moment.” There’s a lot that could happen from that time and we documented it. We come from a world now where we can document it. And he got passed down. We posted it on our social media page, on our Giantbicyclesus Instagram page. It’s just really cool to see everybody’s reaction from a lasting impression like that. It is nice to be part of a team that really does care and really wants to make an impression.

We keep making those lasting impressions. I’m really proud to be part of a team like this. The guys care. This brand really cares. A lot of people have opinions about Giant Bicycles, but Giant really cares about embracing all forms of consumers. Whether you’re a purist or an enthusiast to an amateur to a pro-amateur, to someone that’s overweight that wants to take a challenge to hit the road to a family that wants to be able to embrace their children into the culture – these guys truly do think of everyone, and care for everyone and love everyone and market to everyone and they fight each other internally to make sure that they come out on top. Really loving everyone as the Giant brand they are. To make sure everybody just wants to be a part of the ride life and let’s ride.

That really wraps up my journey going to Sea Otter Classic and really getting out to enjoy one of my favorite clients and some of my really favorite friends in the industry of bicycling. It is just an honor to be a part of their careers and a part of their everyday lives. And to share moments like this with them. I thank God for everything that He brings before me.

 

Now I’m behind the wheel of this beautiful truck for another six hours to go home to my beautiful wife and daughter that I want to just spend time with. I will take a break and reset to challenge the next Monday. I need to get back on the hustle and ride of the everyday business.

Lastly again, I just want to thank everyone at Giant. It’s been five years since we first met. Travis, thank you so much for believing in us and getting us to do the door. And to the entire marketing team, for really embracing myself and my passion and my dorkiness and my loud excitement and transferring it into positive energy to really help you guys grow the business; and the responsibility to believe that myself and our team can handle. It means the world to us that you guys really embrace everything that we do for you and allow us to be a part of the brand in so many ways that we know that others haven’t had the opportunity to have. With that, hats off to the world’s largest and greatest bicycle brand, Giant Bicycles.

 

 

Ernie Manansala

The author Ernie Manansala