A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about why I love the Liv/giant family. And yesterday I was able to get to know Liv/giant’s extended family : Giant Bikes Australia.
I had received an invite to the 2013 Ironman Race Day Event that was hosted by Giant Bikes. Knowing some of the people that would be there, I knew it was going to be a great event. But what I was greeted with was something so much more.
From the outside, it was a corporate event to celebrate one of the biggest events in Triathlon. The Melbourne Ironman. Giant had booked The Great Provider out, decorated it as the Ride Life Café, branded the fences with their logo and changed the front window with a massive photo to promote their bikes!
On the inside was something very different. Arriving early, I was privy to what happened before a lot of people started arriving. Inside were the usual suspects … Jo (Hall) busy going through boxes of merchandise that was going to be given to guests, the boys from Giant all putting up tents, getting rid of boxes and preparing The Great Provider to be as “Giant” as possible. And then busy in corner were a team of helpers … getting all the paraphernalia ready for the guests. Lanyards, cow bells, whistles etc all had to be unpacked and assembled ready to hand out.
|Sam - earning his keep|
This is all “normal” I guess for any event, but what really struck me was that this was all being done not as your typical corporate event, but as an event that had been set up to support and encourage the Giant athletes that were competing in Ironman. The true love and support that the team from Giant were showing behind the scenes for their athletes is something that I can only say is remarkable.
There was something special for the likes of Marty, Clayto, Mitch, Ryno, Kenny, Ollie, Hammo, Belly, Tim, Matty, …. This function really was for them. All of the branding, all of the support, was set up for these 10+ athletes. People were invited to attend this function, but everyone who was there was to provide noise, encouragement, support and love in the last 3kms of their Ironman event. A time when you know home is not that far away, but is often the longest part of any event. (Yeah – cause I have done an Ironman!)
As the live coverage streamed into the corner TV, guests mingled, Darren (Rutherford) made sure everyone was given a T-shirt, drinks and food flowed and this was like any other event where you get to mingle with people who have a true appreciation for a brand like Giant. And in a moment, the mood changed. Word came through that the first athlete was approaching. Not a Giant athlete, but the first place getter. It is safe to say that I have never ever been involved in such support for athletes. And with the cheer of everyone, and the ringing of some 200 cowbells, Eneke Llanos ran through the crowd. No, there was no red carpet, there was no big time clock and no finishers ribbon here. Just a Giant crowd there to throw their support to him. He was in the last 3kms of his 224.1km day at the office and the pain of his journey was taken from his face when he saw this support.
Athlete after athlete – they were all given the same reception. But when those 10+ Giant athletes came through, an extra level of support was thrown their way. There were tears, there were cheers and these athletes were heros.
A remarkable day for my family and I who all got to witness something special. Yes, there was the Ironman event and yes, we got to attend an amazing party thrown by Giant Bicycles Australia. But what I got to witness that was so special was the true love and support that this company has for its athletes. I have seen it before from Giant, but not on this scale. This company is like a parent to its children. They bend over backwards making sure everything is perfect, they go out of their way to create memories, they provide over overwhelming support and no matter what the result and they are proud!
I left this event last night knowing that I was part of something special. The definition of Giant - thing of great size, a person or thing of extraordinary power, significance, or importance and this is exactly what the people behind Giant Bicycles are! And for me, I am Giant for Life!
Thanks to Darren, Jo and all the crew for putting on a great day for everyone xo