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Inaugural Thank Ride

Derek Teel on December 31st, 2021

Thanksgiving is a day for giving thanks, eating delicious food, and cherishing time with your loved ones. But for cyclists, it’s also a chance to spend a few hours riding with friends in celebration of the local on-bike community, too. This year, Dialed Health head coach Derek Teel decided to organize a ride to do just this. He brought a wide range of local cyclists together for a morning of fun, camaraderie, and free coffee— not to mention the promise of being home before family festivities began. The result was a new tradition called the Thank Ride, and it just might have been the best ride of the year.

An Early Start

The doors to Dialed Health HQ opened early Thanksgiving morning, and the mood was high as cyclists began arriving shortly thereafter. Coach Derek’s goal for the Thank Ride was to attract a wide range of cyclists, and the event’s positive atmosphere did just that. From heavy hitters in the local racing scene, to recreational riders, and even Instagram influencers, the group of 42 intrepid cyclists represented all corners of the Dialed Fam and local cycling community. Everyone shared the goal of keeping the ride positive and fun, united by the simple camaraderie of one another’s company on bikes.

At 7:30 AM, the Dialed Health doors were closed and riders headed outside. Coach Derek gave a short speech to set the tone for the day, and the group clipped in and began pedaling up the nearby foothills.

Intention and Planning Make Perfect

Good things don’t happen by accident, and the Thank Ride was no exception. Every aspect of the ride was planned in advance to be as fun, safe, and inclusive as possible, and ride leader Chaz Halbert was the obvious choice to embody these values. Chaz is a bike racer, a prominent local business owner, and an experienced ride leader, and Derek knew there was no one better suited to keeping the pace fun but challenging, whilst keeping the ride positive and safe. 

Accompanying the group was photographer Brady Nations, who documented the entire morning with free photos. The route itself was chosen to be fun, low-stress, and low-traffic, and local shop owner Matt LaPrade of A/E Service Course rode at the back in case anyone needed mechanical assistance. The pieces for success were all in place, and the best part of all awaited riders 16 miles ahead at the halfway point.

A Coffee Stop Like No Other

Few things are as cherished in cycling culture as a mid-ride stop at a local cafe. The Thank Ride paid homage to this tradition with a stop at Pour Choice, a favorite of many members of the Dialed Fam for its warm atmosphere and delicious coffee.

Of course, simply showing up at a coffee shop with 42 riders on Thanksgiving morning isn’t a great idea. But coach Derek reached out in advance to the cafe’s owner, who eagerly offered the shop’s entire outdoor patio space and personally came out to serve food and drink. Making things even better, ride leader Chaz treated the entire group to coffee and scones. He paid in advance so as the group arrived, the hot coffee and pastries were ready and waiting—no lines, payment, or stress required. A 30 minute stop proved just long enough to recharge and refuel without getting too cold; eventually the group bid the cafe a grateful farewell and started the mostly downhill ride home.

Having Fun (and Giving Thanks)

Whether due to the fun downhill route or the group’s collective caffeination, the pace increased slightly on the way home. But in keeping with the Thank Ride’s ethos it never got too intense as to be unwelcoming; instead, some riders playfully challenged themselves on the front while others sat more comfortably in the pack. By the time the group arrived back at Dialed Health HQ around 10:20, everyone was smiling. They’d all gotten home in time to spend Thanksgiving with their families after a good workout and free coffee, but it was something more personal that made the ride so special for Coach Derek. 

“The whole thing had the most incredible energy,” he said. “I’m so thankful, I got to talk to so many Dialed Fam members I’ve never met in person. It made the community feel so real to all of us, and it was so amazing to see the positive impact we can have on each other.” 

And that positivity was embodied in every facet of the ride. From the fun, to the coffee, to the incredibly safe and courteous group, the Thank Ride couldn’t have been better. In fact, if you think about it, the Thank Ride directly embodied the best of what Dialed Health represents: positive intentions, decisive steps towards a goal, and improving the community with a shared experience of good fitness. 

“Sure, we got lucky with stuff we couldn’t control, like traffic and weather.” Coach Derek explained. “But we nailed everything we could. We had an idea of how we could make an awesome ride, and we checked every box and made it happen. No wonder it went so well!”

A New Tradition

The Thank Ride was simply too much fun to be a one time thing, Coach Derek is already planning next year’s second edition. The pace will be fun, the coffee will be delicious, and we promise you’ll get home in time for everything your family has planned. We hope to see you there!

Words By Sean Hurley

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