Bows, Bikes and Rudy Project

Gabe was a two time Silver Medalist at the Comrades and a world record holder in cycling

Gabe Stanley, a South African, friend and coach was looking at me. We were on our bikes heading out for a 60-mile training/recovery ride. It was a Tuesday and an easy day. Gabe had pulled off the front so I could take the wind. He didn’t ease back and sit on my wheel. Instead, he rode next to me and stared. He didn’t seem happy.

Gabe was a talker. No matter how hard we rode, the two of us, or in a group of 50 riders, Gabe always had something to say and was saying it. At times during a ride it could be irritating, especially when I was sucking wind and he was jabbering as if he was sitting in a club having a beer.

On our easy recovery ride, as he peddled his bike next to me; I could sense a lecture was forming. I was hit with his heavy South African accent while he verbally hammered me. “Where are your glasses,” he fussed. Before I could respond, “You have only one set of eyes. Something could blow in the wind and hit one. Something could bounce up from the road,” and on he went with his tirade. It seemed to have lasted for miles. Gabe was seriously a talker. He was also one of the greatest athletes and coaches I’ve ever had the pleasure of calling a friend.

His point was taken and soon I was donning my first pair of Rudy Project glasses. It wasn’t long I was also sporting one of their cycling helmets.

In cycling, running and triathlon I’ve worn Rudy Project eyewear. Today, I can’t imagine doing any of those sports without protecting my eyes and head. Even though I’m not looking to do another triathlon or bike race in the near future I still train and I still use Rudy Project. I’m always looking for a run that doesn’t infringe on archery and will, of course, be wearing my Rudy Project glasses on the course.

My Rudy Project gear

In September 2013 I decided to take on archery as a new sport. Rudy Project glasses were the eyewear of choice for me.

Winter trail runner

Rudy Project has been around since 1985. It is an Italian company found by Rudy Barbazza in Treviso. In 2003 while bike racing in Florence, Italy, the apparent solo competitor that spoke English (other than me), noticed and complimented by Rudy Project glasses. Treviso is about 175 miles from Florence. It would have been cool to have visited the mother-ship while I was in Italy, but there was not enough time.

Some of my bikes and bows

Barbazza, with the onset of his company’s vision sought to create the world’s most technologically advanced sports eyewear. He and his team have worked with athletes from all fields, listening to what they want and what they need. Their goal has been to find the most advanced materials to develop products that elevate an athlete’s performance. They’ve summed up their research and efforts in two words: Technically Cool.

A really cool time trial / triathlon helmet

Shortly after I picked up a bow and started my project of talent transfer I contacted Rudy Project hoping to get them as a sponsor. From that first official contact I have represented their products. It was cool to wear them, even cooler to be one of their athletes.

Aside from the obvious advantages such as protection from wind, dust and insects, which may adversely affect the vital concentration of an archer, there is one major impact – light.

At my first ever NFAA Field Archery competition (NFAA Sectional Championships. June 11th – 12th, 2016) we’d be shooting from light restricted forests to bright open fields. It was so bright when we’d emerge from the woods that without my Rudy Project glasses I eyes would have been watering. Fortunately, I hadn’t left the glasses in my truck (It’s happened) and I shot well enough to have earned a 3rd place finish.

If you are an archer trying to get sponsorship, you know the difficulty. I may have had a slight advantage when I contacted Rudy Project because I’d done well on other sports as an amateur. The company did take a chance by agreeing to support a true novice in archery. There’s still a long haul ahead of me before I start earning more money shooting. But, I am happy to have Rudy Project behind me – or, to be specific protecting my eyes and head. Gabe, rest his soul, would be pleased.