Pearl Izumi Champion, Induction Day - Video

Marketing people, who're trying to reach a specific demographic, have made use of social media intermediaries for several years.

You want to launch a new mascara? You get one of those make-up Vloggers, with gazillions of followers, to talk about it on their YouTube channel.

Imagine that but substitute cycling kit for mascara and you're close to what Pearl Izumi are attempting with their 'Champion' programme.

Close, but not quite there.

Because the people Pearl Izumi has chosen to join that team have - and I choke when I say this - inspiring, altruistic motivations for taking part and genuinely interesting stories to tell.  If I have a skill it's as a story teller, so that's what I'll be doing in the nine months this team will run.  I'll share their stories under the PIChampionTale label.  Click that to see them all.

Why am I doing this?  Partly because I'm chuffed to be included among such a great group of people who I want to help.  But less altruistically, I'm interested in the experts who'll help us.

Our first day, for which we had to travel to Milton Keynes (watch the video below), got off to a roaring start with Tim Lawson who blinded everyone with the science of nutrition.  This is the man who started and then sold Science in Sport, started Secret Training (once his 3 year no-compete clause ended), and from whom I learnt so, so, so much about how and what to eat for performance when I was part of the SiS Winter Academy

I wrote about his advice to me back in December 2012!

I sat with Tim in the Jury's Hotel Bar (he drank water) for more than an hour just boggling at the products in the pipeline.

Take their Ketone Project.  It's a pro and pre-biotic supplement which allows athletes to metabolise fat in races.  Big Pharma is trying to grab this as a weight loss treatment.  Tim wants it as a sports supplement.  He says it really works.  Wow.  With bells on.

Who else will we meet through this PIChampion connection?  As yet I don't know, and that is exactly why this is so exciting.

There's product stuff too.  Pearl Izumi is the biggest cycling apparel brand in the world (they tell me).  While they grudgingly admit to previously being USA focused, the new UK brand manager Brodie Gardias is changing that.  There are some exciting products coming later this year, and I really do mean exciting, that's not marketing hype.  Hopefully some will find their way to me in Scotland.

All of this - the experts, the inspiring stories, and the new product stuff - I will share here on my blog and Twitter.  I'll be open, honest and slightly sceptical, because after 30 years a journalist I can't be anything else!  Stick with me and we'll pick their brains clean...

However, two of the women selected chose not to take part due to the gender-based team colours - blue for boys, pink for girls.  It's a very good point made by two quite exceptional cyclists whose posts on our private Facebook group have been great to read.  Lucy and Eleanor explain their reasons on their respective blogs.

Oh yes, the video.  The rest of us went to Milton Keynes on Saturday for our induction day.  I waved around a GoPro session and came back with this video.  It's a new YouTube account, so please Subscribe so you don't miss a thing.

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