Men, women, black, white, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, No One Cares!!
Inclusion, fun, pride, support, company level perks, FUN, lasting friendships, and camaraderie!
This is the Eliel Factory Team!
Let’s get started!
After several years of being put back together by physicians from deployment related challenges, I finally found myself getting back on a bike in 2020. By this time my bike was 10 years outdated so I ordered a new Canyon Grail gravel bike. Being 40 now, my crazy mountain bike days are starting to dwindle making gravel more appealing each day. I loved the new bike so much that after 1 month I entered the Belgian Waffle Ride Cedar City, Utah. Things were very stressful. I had no idea what I was doing and didn’t know a single person in any sort of cycling, besides watching their YouTube videos. I didn’t know what to do, where to go, or how any of this worked. I didn’t even know what clothing to wear. I ran into Tyler Pierce, The Vegan Cyclist, and he gave me some quick pointers which helped me get through the event successfully. But it was still super stressful like the first day at a new school in a different country.
Until just weeks before the race, you would never catch me in Lycra. I was a mountain bike guy my whole life and really struggled with the transition into the gravel world and the tight clothing many gravel rider’s wear. I eventually gave in and decided to order a kit to at least blend in at the race. After seeing the cost of brand name items, I decided to order knock offs from China. After all, I didn’t really want to wear the stuff to begin with.
That kit ended up working out for the race. Though I quickly started noticing the differences between what I was wearing compared to everyone else. The fit was just not right, tight in the wrong areas and loose in all the rest. Then a month later the whole thing started falling apart.
I had noticed in videos from both Tyler Pierce and Jeremiah Bishop, they were always wearing really nice-looking gear. So, I got the point and ordered my first set of cargo bibs from Eliel. The quality was instantly apparent upon opening the package, and the price seemed more reasonable as I compared others. Minutes later I was trying them on at midnight knowing full well I was not going to head out riding that late at night. I was sold! These things were so comfortable, looked great, and just felt like they would last forever. Side note, there was a technical issue with my order and I ended up also getting a winter set at no cost after the error was resolved, and then instructed to keep them for my troubles. To say I was now completely impressed with Eliel and their customer service would be a gross understatement!
Spring forward a year and I was now signed up for a 2nd go at BWR Cedar City. The Eliel booth was pretty impressive, and I dropped a lot of coin with them that day. Standing near their booth I ran into Bryan McCulloch wearing the 2021-EFT kit. It looked great! Then I started noticing a bunch of other people wearing this quality kit at the event. Naturally, I looked into this whole EFT thing, got an invite, proceeded through the whole application process and was accepted.
From this point forward, for me personally, everything in cycling had instantly changed! It started with the excitement and culture that naturally comes with this team, and the rather LOUD colorway of the 2022 kit design that catches every eye. From experience, this kit can be seen over a mile away even when in a sea of other jerseys. I have made several new friends near my house from just seeing a fellow team member in this Rainbow Explosion kit. At events I constantly find myself walking up to others in EFT gear, and others walking up to start conversations with me. Conversations range from where we are from, to planned tactics after pre-riding the upcoming course, details about the event, where to go, what to do, or where we will meet up for food and beverage after the race. All the same questions I had at my first race when I had no one there to lean on for guidance. That almost never seems to be the case when wearing EFT clothing! No matter what the conversation, the instant inclusion and camaraderie is constant and amazing!
I was in a unique situation when it came time to order my 2022 kit which allowed me to order nearly 1 of every cut, providing me the opportunity to find which I liked and detail out all the differences between each one with my body type. I did not however order anything El-Capitan, which bothers me to this day. Initially I figured I would never fit or be comfortable in an aero kit. But after several months cycling off my winter insulation, El-Cap and Del-Dios are now my favorite. When winter comes back around bringing all the wonderful holiday food that prevents me from getting on the indoor trainer with my food coma, I'll temporarily move back over to the new Rincon Relaxed fit jersey. As that weight comes off in Spring it allows me to move to the regular Rincon, and then into the Solana. When summer is in full swing, the slimmer and much cooler Diablo kit comes into play for those super-hot days. On the other days it’s El-Cap or Del-Dios. That’s how my Eliel kit acquisition developed from not wanting to be seen in Lycra, to having some for every situation and loving it! Living in Chicago we must be ready for not only the full range of weather, but grandma doesn’t stop cooking holiday meals just because 14 inches of snow has fallen😄.
You may ask how I knew the differences between the jersey and bib cuts I mentioned above. Well to be honest, I did not. I read everything on the Eliel web site but still was not exactly sure of the details because lycra was all new to me. Asking questions on the EFT Facebook page absolutely helped a ton! But it was not until I got my order of nearly every item that I got the best understanding of each difference. So now, anytime I see a question I’m excited provide my feedback and suggestions to those very same people that helped me out either on the team, at the expos, or mid race! This also allows me point potential Eliel newcomers in the right direction to select what will likely make them happy and comfy. It’s nice to be able to help others get the items that work best for them and so have a good experience without having to return things until they get it right, as I have done with other brands.
Lastly, perks naturally come with many teams. The gear perks and discounts are amazing. You likely will not use them all, mostly because there are just so many great options. Even with how amazing these gear perks are, to me, nothing compares to the friendships gained, instant inclusion the moment you see another team jersey, the support from many, and the excitement to share your big accomplishments with people that completely relate and understand just how much effort it takes to accomplish them.
This brings us back to my intro. Whether at an event, participating in a race, just out and about, or surfing the team Facebook page, whether you are male, female, black, white, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern or anything else, No One Cares! The only color seen is the color of your jersey. Long hair or short, a handshake or wave always means the same as we cross each other’s paths.
This whole thing is about inclusion, FUN, pride in your team, support from each other, lasting relationships, and camaraderie, with some pretty cool company level perks, amazing challenge rewards, and FUN!