It was one of those dark gloomy days in the office, around mid-afternoon, with rain hammering on the roof, drowning out the background music, all my important emails had just been demolished when suddenly I receive an email from Drops inviting Fabric to join the team at their training camp in Cambrils, Spain.
it was the second time we’d been invited in the two years of working with the team and we were really excited to be able attend this time. Personally, I hadn’t been on a pro road team camp before, so wasn’t sure what to expect and, to be honest, felt a little sick about getting the most out of it. I needn’t have worried, though…
Off I went to Spain and I took my trusty steed so I could get among the riders and record some Instagram stories with them at the same time. I could tell that some of the riders were really used to cameras being pointed at them, but for others it was a little harder. However, they soon relaxed and relaxed is how I’d describe the team’s vibe overall.
I ride a fair bit but was of course expecting a much quicker ride to my normal pace and wasn’t disappointed! With the team doing steady through and off, I was, just about, able to chat to most of the riders and learn about their experiences. Each and every rider has a fascinating story to tell and we plan to do more professional videos with them post-pandemic, perhaps along with other Fabric riders.
The support crew are welcoming too; Simon, Winnie and Nick were there to get stuff done and it was great to sit with them all for evening drinks after the riders had gone to bed.
An added bonus of spending time with the team was getting product feedback from the riders. Athletes have an incredible depth of experience and knowledge, and quite specific requirements! If we can send a product out and it is instantly well received, we know it’s going to work very well for non pro, everyday riders, too.
This was the first year where we guided all of the team to ride one specific model; the new Line S. The team had a choice of 142mm and 155mm widths, and although most were used to another brand’s 155mm saddle, it was interesting to see the split with some even changing to 142mm during the week.
Before dinner one evening I had the opportunity to present to the team on Fabric, so that they could learn more about the brand’s goals and the products that we offer. The presentation also gave me the chance to dust off some past slides and videos, plus show some new stuff that’s coming. Everybody is a gadget or kit ferret and seeing the other items available soon really opened eyes.
Meeting the whole team and the workhorse that is Bob, has been hugely beneficial. I’m sure most of you know what it’s like to email someone for months, even years, and never meet them, Face-to-face time is invaluable and to have this with the riders and crew during the training camp was such an honour. Fabric is still growing so we don’t quite have the means to see everybody that we support around the world, but we always try to make it count where possible!
Our road sponsorship program is getting bigger, we have a few domestic UK men’s teams and our only pro-tour level team is Drops. For us, women’s racing is something we’ve always wanted to support and if we can help spread the word, we’re very happy to!
Women in cycling is a big part of Fabric and we are always looking for ways to improve, and our approach is always evolving. Those groups of riders less represented in cycling are always first in our mind when we set about making new content. In fact, all marketing projects created this year up until Covid-19 took hold, represented women in some way.
To that end, we’ve always designed unisex saddles and previous experience with women’s teams has shown us that we do have a saddle for everyone, no matter what body shape, it’s always a case of just finding the right seat. Working with large women’s teams to prolific individuals is something we’ve always strived to do to help us make a saddle for everyone.
As a whole, we, the cycling community, definitely need more diversity in cycling. Things are starting to change for the better and we want to represent YOU.
I would like to say a big thanks to Drops for their hospitality, it was a great experience and one I will be looking to repeat into 2021!