In this cycling profile we feature a success story about a talented young triathlete from Naples Florida, Graham Pimentel. Graham is a natural runner who competed in his first tri at age 12 and got hooked!
Several years later Jane and Joe Du Bois, the owners of our eight Florida based Trek Bicycle Stores, met Graham at the Naples Fitness Challenge Triathlon and were so impressed that they helped him out with sponsorship.
Trek Bicycle Stores have sponsored Graham ever since, and recently hooked him up with his dream bike. A custom Trek ProjectOne Madone, complete with Bontrager Aeolus 5 aero carbon fiber wheels, the ultimate weapon for the elite draft legal tri circuit. Graham is currently 19 and attends Queens University in Charlotte and he just got a pro triathlon contract for the Carolina Gliders in Major League Triathlon. His first MLT Pro race will be May 20th in Charlotte.
We wish Graham luck! Check the Trek Bike Store USA FaceBook page for race results and updates on Graham's season.
Read on for a short interview with Graham…
How old were you when you did your first triathlon?
Where was it and what was the result?
Sudgen Park, don’t remember.
What sports did you play in High School?
Cross Country and Track freshman year. Swimming sophomore-senior year.
Did you receive any scholastic sports honors in High School?
Most valuable player, most improved, school records, 5 varsity letters.
What was your first big result in Triathlon?
First big result in triathlon when I was 16, I placed 16th at the North American Junior championships and qualified for that years Junior Pan American championship. (Junior elite category is 16-19)
When did you decide your athletic focus would be triathlon?
Decided triathlon would be my main focus when I was 14 after my first national championships and got to see what it was like for the people who stood up on the podiums. (I finished 45th out of the 75-man field)
What is your best discipline swim, bike or run?
Run, always was natural
Do you prefer the Olympic Distance Draft Legal races?
I actually prefer sprint draft legal races, even faster.
Congratulations on your recent pro contract, do you race for a sponsor or a team?
I'm now racing for the Carolina Gliders in Major League Triathlon. Go Gliders!
How did you get connected with the Trek Bicycle Store of Estero?
I had the great opportunity of meeting Jane and Joe Du Bois during the Naples Fitness Challenge. They liked what I wanted to do with the sport and I loved trek the company, so they’ve been helping me ever since.
How have they supported and helped you over the years?
Jane and Joe helped me by providing me with an opportunity to race at the high caliber level that I am with the proper equipment. I was able to get my bike serviced whenever I had a problem for no cost. Tony Catalina and the staff was always so helpful to me whenever I had an issue.
How do you like your new Trek ProjectOne Madone?
Two words. Sooooooooo stiff. Not to mention aero. Everytime I ride it, or even just look at it, the bike reminds me of more of a machine rather than just a bike. It doesn’t just get the job done, it excels at doing what it’s supposed to do. Go fast.
What is your dream goal?
ITU World Champ has a nice ring to it. That’s just talk though. Lots of sacrifice if I want to get even near that point, but more than willing to do it.
There is no question that Naples is a hotbed for cycling...
Not only is Naples a popular winter cycling destination, there is a huge and active year round cycling community with quality rides everyday, to name a few... Naples Velo's HOP (Hour of Power), Thursday hammerfest to FGCU, Friday's Sprint ride, the infamous Saturday Bridge's ride and the Sunday Airport ride from Trek Estero.
Naples even has it's own Elite Woman's Team! Now in it's second season the Papa John's p/b Trek feature some of the top women racers in the country with the likes of 11 time National Champion Tina Pic!
The team is owned and managed by a famous local racer in her own right, Naples own Tish Kelly. Two years ago while on a training ride with her daughter Madison (who has natural talent and already a National Championship under her belt) the pair rode with Naples entrepreneur Papa John, and the seed was planted to form a team.
The Papa John's team had much success and fun in their first year and Tish decided to bolstered up the team for 2017. Part of the genesis was partnering with Trek as a bike sponsor.
The sponsorship is part of Trek's GART Program, "Great Athletes Ride Trek". This program is supported both by Trek corporate and our own Trek Bicycle Stores of Florida. The team picked the versatile Emonda SL 6 for their bike.
All of the bike fitting and builds were done in our Estero and Naples stores and the ladies got to dial in and test out the bikes during a week long Naples based training camp. The camp was bookended by a charity century ride for NPC, "Naples Pathway Coalition" and the Pan-Florida Challenge which is a two day event 190 mile event.
I was lucky enough to ride along with the team on the Pan-Florida Challenge and it was awesome to see the talent and experience of the team as they executed a perfect echelon into the strong crosswinds!
We wish much success for the for the team in 2017!
You can "meet" the team in the following short video. Follow along with them on FaceBook or on the web.
The absolute best part about working at a bike shop is seeing how cycling has enhanced someone's life.
It could be losing 30 pounds, or the passion you feel on a great group ride, the pride of a great race, or the twinkle in a 75 year old's eye when she talks about riding every day.
This is the first part of a new series that will be featured on this blog called Cycling Profiles.
We wanted to try and capture this spark and the power of how cycling can enrich your life. Watch the following short video and I bet you see it too!