Champagne and Wisdom

Every once in a blue moon there is cause for popping bottles of champagne. We wish we could party more often because everyday should be celebrated, but our bodies thank us that we do not drink the stuff everyday. Our recent release of the new Art’s Cyclery Women’s kit seemed like a good excuse to celebrate.


Champagne as the women entered.

After months of slaving away on the details of the design and sending back renderings of the kit, we were finally ready to present the fruits of our labor to our women’s community. It felt anti-climactic to just throw the kit out on the retail floor, so my co-creator and I decided to host a party for the women cyclists in our area.  It was a celebration of our hard work and the work of those that inspire us. A great reason for a party!

We are very fortunate to have some pretty inspirational people in our midst here in San Luis Obispo. When I mentioned the idea of having someone speak at our event, everyone in the office immediately named Karen Aydellot, a woman with an indomitable spirit and a million-watt smile. Karen, for those of you who don’t know, is a 31-time Ironman finisher, putting us all to shame athletically and emotionally. Karen accomplished many of those finishes without the help of her lower right leg, which she chose to have amputated after being hit by a car while training in 2006. I found it so helpful as a human being and an athlete to hear what she had to say about how she continues to succeed year after year. It was moving to hear of one person’s victory while battling through hard times in life and running into dead ends in training.


The reveal of the “Dot Q.O.M.” kit.

Here are some of Karen’s insights and examples of her inspiring attitude:

Attitude- It is well known that a positive attitude is helpful for pretty much any area of life. If 50% of your success or failure is due to your attitude, we better be sure to cultivate an attitude of success and victory. It is within us to change our future.

Accept and Value Support- Be able to recognize when you need help and then ask for it when you need it. Let yourself feel the love others have for you so that it can carry you when you aren’t at the top of your game.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff- Set-backs happen. Learn from what worked and/or what didn’t work and look forward. Obsessing over it will only bring you down, so look forward and take it as a lesson learned.

Be Positive- Smile. A smile has the potential to change your mood and the mood of others. A genuine smile can and will change how you feel. As mentioned above, positivity is one of the secrets to success, so keep smiling! Have the best smile!


Karen Aydelott bringing her million-watt smile!

Appreciate Beauty- When the days are hard and long, look around you. There is beauty surrounding us everywhere.

Find the good- In small moments throughout your day; recognize and be thankful for that which is good. These small moments of gratitude will create a happier, more gracious you.

Hope is very important- Find what it is that gives you hope to move forward and cling to it.


Lookin’ good in a bike shop.

Be realistic- It is important to have big “hairy” goals that are maybe a little bit intimidating. These huge goals are great, but it is just as important to be flexible and to be able to adjust them as life happens. Adaptability will keep you alive.

Be kind- Be good to yourself. Remember that you work hard and be sure to reward yourself here and there. As athletes it is so easy to beat ourselves up and compare ourselves to others, but be kind in how you talk to yourself. Remember your successes along with your perceived shortcomings.

Patience- Be patient with yourself! There will be bumps in the road, be patient when they come. Nothing worth holding onto comes overnight. Your persistence is what makes the achievement more beautiful and worthwhile.

I hope that Karen’s words have encouraged you as much as they have encouraged me! With her wisdom I now feel the calm patience that years of accomplishment can bring. Cherish your victories big and small and keep on smiling through it all.

“You lay a dream out there and you just work toward it. All I’ve done is followed a dream I’ve had. Not that I could win, but that I could do this.”

-Karen Aydelott


***All photos donated by Jamie Foster Photography.