Tuesday, December 31, 2013

STARTING POINT


People often tie their New Year’s resolutions to past failures–areas where they feel they’ve come up short or somehow performed subpar. And they’re painfully predictable. The most common resolutions sound like something straight from a late-night television ad:

Exercise more!
Eat healthier!
Lose weight!

There’s nothing wrong with these motivational missives–goals are good things, and surely we all have room for self-improvement. But how about taking a slightly different tack in 2014? Why not start your personal progress project with a pat on the back, appreciation for what you already do right? After all, as an endurance athlete you probably adhere to a decent diet, exercise almost daily and are far more fit than the average American. So congratulate yourself. Give your exercise regimen big ups. Be proud of the massive plate of food you just plowed through–recovery from your rigorous morning run. Smile at your buns of steel. Parade around in your skinny jeans–because hell yeah, they fit!

Once you’re feeling proud and positive (not to mention pretty darn hot), then take time to make an action plan. Just be sure to acknowledge your current state of awesomeness first–because with that as a starting point, 2014 is bound to be your best year yet!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

THE SOAS SQUAD


We recently opened our SOAS Racing team application, which inspired 2013 team member Holly Bennett to write about her experience on sports teams. 
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I played soccer since my first day in first grade. I attended an all girls private school in Dallas, Texas and I couldn’t wait to swap my pressed green jumper, white button-front blouse and freshly polished saddle oxfords for the far cooler green and white team uniform and cleats at the end of each school day. Running around kicking that ball felt fantastic and pretty much every girl at school was on the soccer team–it was simply what we did in Dallas.

Later my family moved to a small town in New Mexico, where I played co-ed soccer at a much smaller school. Usually I was one of only one or two other girls on the team. There, it was all about keeping pace with the boys–or trying our best to run and shoot past them. We girls earned our stripes, for sure.

When I reached seventh grade (at yet another school) I was no longer one of the star players, but I loved the competitive fire of being on the field all the same. I created my own games within the game–for example, betting my coach a quarter I could score a goal if he subbed me for a tiring teammate, then swiftly scoring two. Ka-ching!

With high school came a move to boarding school and a new type of team: track and field. Sadly I abhorred running at the time. But no matter–I took up shot put and discus. Not that I was any good at hurling heavy objects, but everyone was welcome on the track team, so my best friend and I jumped aboard. We were in it for the camaraderie, the feeling of belonging to something fun, the ticket to travel to other New England schools and the chance to meet boys beyond our own student body.

Several years ago, before I discovered triathlon, I considered joining an adult soccer league to regain that team dynamic. But with practices and games conflicting with my erratic work schedule, I knew I would have to stick to the individual sport route. I started running 10k’s, then a marathon, and eventually made my way to multisport.

When I first got wind of SOAS, it was through my pal Australian pro Amanda Balding–she was building a career beyond the racecourse and that included distribution of a killer new women’s clothing line. Amanda introduced me to Steph, founder of SOAS, and I drooled over her designs at the Ironman Melbourne expo.

When the 2013 team applications opened up, I immediately contacted Steph. I was eager to get involved with her evolving brand, to help in whatever way I could as a SOAS ambassador. And more than anything, I wanted to wear the team kit–such a fashion forward step from any tri gear I’d worn previously. I hadn’t actually tried on anything SOAS yet, so I kept my fingers crossed that when my uniform arrived the fit would suit me. Sure enough, it was better than I could have imagined–incredibly flattering technical apparel, plus functional in a way that to me sets the gold standard: absolutely nothing needs adjusting on the go. Gone were the days of continuously tugging my top down to cover my belly, fretting about muffin top or hoping that a poorly placed seam wouldn’t painfully chafe. This stuff fit and performed perfectly! And it was a far cry from the track and field uniforms from my boarding school days–a hideous mix of maroon and blue ill-fitting men’s apparel.

But the SOAS team isn’t only about my enhanced athletic wardrobe. Much more importantly, it’s a gang of girls across the country and around the world, committed to playing fun and fair sport while looking and feeling great–and to growing the community around this totally cool company. Some of my teammates are some of my best pals–we meet up at races whenever possible. Sometimes we meet for happy hour (a love of wine is not a prerequisite for team selection, but it certainly helps). Or better yet, we do both. Other team members I’ve never met–and honestly I probably wouldn’t be able to pick out in a crowd–yet we’ve connected via social media and team communications and we cheer relentlessly for one another from afar. All in all, it’s an amazing gig–one I highly recommend to anyone looking for a fun, fitness-oriented and ever-so-slightly edgy place to call home.

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If you’re inspired to apply for the 2014 SOAS Racing team, email us at info@soasracing.com




Friday, October 25, 2013

GETTIN’ OUR CREATIVE ON!


Remember us? We realize it’s been a good long while (a.k.a., waaaay too long) since we’ve blogged. But it’s not because we’re lazy. On the contrary, we’ve been busier than ever, busting out some super cool creative projects along with our regular line up of tri/bike/run gear. 

As a boutique apparel brand, we always have an eye on the latest color, design and fashion trends and new ways to get our creative on. The driving force behind SOAS is owner/designer Steph, and there’s nothing she loves better than getting lost in the studio, crafting custom designs and special projects. Sure, she also spends time on the sewing floor, in sales meetings, sourcing raw materials and crunching numbers–all critical to running a successful clothing business–but by far her favorite duties involve design work. Hand Steph a colored pencil set and a sketchpad and she’ll be your friend for life! Fortunately for Steph, we manufacture many of our SOAS items in-house, and because production is literally at our fingertips we have the freedom and flexibility to, well, play! Here’s a look at the projects we’ve worked on recently...


Project Penny
SOAS Racing teammates Julia Polloreno, Jené Shaw and Holly Bennett tackled the inaugural Challenge Penticton (an iron-distance triathlon) in Canada in August–and wrote about it in a series of columns titled Project Penny



We couldn’t let the girls go on this international adventure without being properly accessorized, so we created a range of items to accompany their Vintage Race Tri Kits. The Project Penny accoutrements included personalized oversized tees, scarves and flip-flops. 








Booth Business 
Next up was Interbike, the be-all and end-all event in the bike industry. Not only did we build our own booth from the ground up, we created custom displays–like our chalkboard-style signage and Navy Nantucket and Vintage Race themed boards–to draw buyers in and sell our wares. Our hook worked–or maybe it was the wine we served at happy hour. Either way, Interbike 2013 was our most successful trade show to date!


Kona Co-Branding Collaboration
We were honored by the opportunity to create custom co-
branded gear to outfit the Triathlete Magazine crew on the ground in Kona during October’s Ironman World Championship. We opted for color-bright beachy racer-back tanks, cool-as-can-be trucker hats, jute tote bags and even dashing dolman-style tees for the guys (our first ever venture into menswear).
If you’re a fan of the festive colors and styles, we have a limited number available on sale now.


Linsey’s Lucky 13
To know pro triathlete Linsey Corbin is to love her–so we were thrilled to help with Linsey Corbin's Lucky 13 project (13 days of products and preparation for the 2013 Ironman World Championship, wherein she and hubby Chris created a 13-day video series highlighting Linsey’s sponsors, training, ever-positive attitude and sense of humor). Steph took on the visual branding for the project and decorated Linsey’s signature finish line cowboy hat to match. Here’s a video showing the hat’s creation:

video



Hell On Wheels
Rather than hoofing it around the island during race week in Kona, we rolled in style on custom cruiser bikes.

(OK, we admit–they were actually off-the-Wal-Mart-rack models made by Huffy, but we upped their cool factor immeasurably with the addition of SOAS stickers!)





Now that you’ve learned a little more about our capabilities, we’re curious to know what kind of special projects you’d like to see from SOAS? (Because you never know when Steph is going to get that creative itch!) And what about lifestyle products–is there anything you jones for from your favorite tri/bike/run brand that would cross over to everyday wear? As our company continues to grow, we certainly plan to broaden our apparel offerings–and your feedback is invaluable as we continually carve out our unique approach to fashion-meets-function!

- the SOAS crew

Monday, September 30, 2013

SOAS Racing

Our mission is to bring women in endurance sports a means of feeling strong and feminine at the same time. SOAS is about creating stylish “outfits” for training and racing. We wanted an alternative to plain black bike shorts and the typical “ladies” top. Our line gives you a complete look. As women who train and race, we want to look good while doing it. We’ve designed features and functionality specifically with women in mind.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

SOAS's Home Game: Oceanside 70.3




For SOAS, we consider Oceanside 70.3 in our backyard. Since we are based in San Diego, it’s just up the road from our offices and it’s one of our favorite events. Not to mention our season opener.  For those of you coming out for this excellent event that are not from the Southern Californian area... here’s some information we hope you find helpful.

The city of Oceanside is about a 40 minute drive north from San Diego and a two hour drive south from Los Angeles. That’s the good news. The bad news is that to get there you may have to take the 5 or the 405 freeway which can be incredibly congested. So when you get here, stay put for a while, enjoy the Oceanside pier and watch the surfers do their thing.  Also don’t let your spouse forget their golf clubs... there are more than 90 golf courses close to the Oceanside area....some quite famous, almost all of them are spectacular.


Now the race...

The race was originated as an Ironman event in 2000 and 2001. Back then, it was completely held inside Camp Pendleton, the major West Coast base of the US Marine Corp. The Camp has over 125,000 acres of varied terrain and 17.1 more miles of shoreline. Truly, some of the best realty in SoCal. But after 9/11, the race was turned into one of the first 70.3 events, due to the heightened security. Now, the bike portion is the only part of the race allowed within Camp Pendleton. The City of Oceanside worked alongside Camp Pendleton to accommodate the race, going so far as to allow the one and only time of the year that anyone is allowed to swim in Oceanside Harbor. 



The athletes will swim in Oceanside Harbor, cycle through San Clemente State Park and Camp Pendleton and run through Oceanside’s beachfront neighborhood. For an “Ocean Swim”, the water is generally somewhat calm since you'll be inside the harbor's protective wall. Guaranteed that the water will be down-right cold and the swells can pick up at the turn around.  

The bike is really interesting since it combines stretches of flat at the beginning and the end that can be lightning fast with three pretty significant climbs in the middle. It is a beautiful ride through the base, and if you aren't inspired by the Marines manning the aide stations and cheering you on, then its hard to imagine you getting inspired by much. Chances are, you'll tell them you should be cheering for them!

The two loop run course is really flat and spectator friendly down the main beach boardwalk & nearby neighborhoods. The only risk is you wanting to plop down in the sand to watch the surfers or join a cookout. 


An interesting feature of this race is that Accenture and the Challenged Athletes Foundation (one of our favorite non-profit organizations) are teaming to support eight injured military service members and first responders to race in Ironman event as part of CAF’s Operation Rebound. Additionally, CAF will be the official event charity for the race. Also half of the volunteer staff comes from units stationed at Camp Pendleton, so it truly a good time to give thanks to our men and women in the military community. San Diego is a major military town and we love our troops and encourage y'all to give them a shout-out or a hug!

For more race tips and info, check out our review at: http://soasracing.com/resources/race-reviews/rhoto-ironman-california.php


Have fun and a great race!