Sunday, February 24, 2013

Places We Like: Justin Vineyards

I am not 100% sure if this blog should be titled “places” we like or “things” we like. Regardless, you HAVE to know about Justin Vineyards. A couple of years ago, Steph and I were working on some designs and we decided to open a bottle of wine for inspiration. (Yeah, not the first time that's happened.) She asked if I’d ever heard of Justin and I said I hadn’t. She and hubby Brit discovered the small winery on the way back from Vineman 70.3 that year.  Rumor has it they had to move wheels and gear bags around so they could return to San Diego with multiple cases in the trunk.  Just sayin...

Anyhow, we cracked open a bottle of Justification and I was in love. There whole selection is lovely and you have to check out their corks. With clever inspiration & puns on them, I now have enough to fill up a bike case, and they make fun holiday ornament gifts for friends.

Here's the lowdown on this wonderful place.
Former investment banker Justin Baldwin founded the Justin Vineyards & Winery in 1981 after purchasing 160 acres west of Paso Robles on California's Central Coast and planting grapes.
The region’s first grapes were planted in 1779 by Franciscan missionaries. While it hasn't been validated officially, it is rumored that the good monks not only knew how to make good wine, but they also wore skinny jeans under their robes and rode around the vines on fixies. BLESS THEM!
Justin produces Bordeaux style blends that are…how would a connoisseur put it?? Oh yes...kickass. Their efforts have been rewarded with past and present vintages earning 90+ points in every major wine publication. In addition to having great wine, they also have an amazing B&B called “The Just Inn," (get it?!.) Each of the four luxury suites are appointed in beautiful European tradition. The food is insanely good. They have in-room massages that make the Just Inn a great place to recover after wine tasting and training.

Bonus points if this other awesomeness wasn't enough for you?: it's Pet-Friendly! WOOT!
There are some really good rides in the Paso Robles area if you'd like a great training trip. On the east side, you can bike out around Hog Canyon, Estrella, Pleasant and Cross Canyon. The roads are generally
good for riding though a few of them lack much of a shoulder and there are some challenging hills to be found, like the one by J. Lohr Vineyards (another great Cab & Pinot to check out, BTW)

Of course, you may want to get your training done early before the wine tasters hit the road.

So if you happen to be up near Paso Robles and need to take in some anti-oxidants, we’d encourage you to stop by Justin Winery ( and have a taste.

If you get you good one, be sure to share your cork with us! CHEERS!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Over the past couple of years, SOAS has had the pleasure of sponsoring athletes who share the values, outlook on life and who embrace the athletic lifestyle that is the essence of our brand and why we do what we do at SOAS.
Perhaps due to my previous life as a literature major and a reporter, I am steadfast in my belief that words matter. Fearfully of being accused of what Winston Churchill called ‘terminological inexactitude,’ we made a conscious decision to call our sponsored athletes “Ambassadors”.  We initially decided to use this term instead of “Team Member” since most endurance sports are individualistic at their core, and the first definition of “Team” is: “a group of players forming one side in a competition, game or sport.” 
On Friday of last week, SOAS announced our sponsored amateur athletes for 2013.  Our elite gals will be announced this coming week. To select these 22 amazing age-group ladies, we read and re-read hundreds of applications, checked blog posts and solicited feedback from others in our industry.  We endeavored to find those individuals who embody the spirit of endurance sport and best represent the SOAS brand.
One of the things we are always struck by when reviewing these amazing applications each year is the theme of friends, training partners and groups. The vast majority of entries and blog posts written by the applicants talk not about their speed and PRs, but rather how they have their friends to thank for getting them into the sport, staying in the sport and improving in the sport. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not because SOAS girls aren’t fast.  Among our athletes we’ve been fortunate enough to have the fastest overall female amateur in the 2011 70.3 World Championships, as well as an Ironman Champion, and multiple Ironman Champion age-groupers. 
But universally, instead of getting a spreadsheet full of swim, bike and run splits, these ladies shared stories about how friends got them into the sport, and how they, in turn, convinced other friends to give running, cycling or triathlon a shot....not to mention how much better a painfully long training day was thanks to being able to suffer with a “bestie.” These friendships always outweigh any race result.
That’s a big part of what SOAS is all about. Sure, we also aim to create the MOST comfortable, functional and best-looking clothes in our sport. But more than that, we want to be a grass-roots company that encourages a community of friends who share their love of health and sport. Ladies who love to compete, for sure, but who also like to laugh, have an occasional glass of wine….and who want to bring along other people for the ride. We want to be a team that cheers other athletes along, even when they pass us or we are having a bad day. 
 So with that, as a backdrop, let me share another definition of the word “Team.”  This one is for the verb and it means: “to come together to achieve a common goal.”  Our team certainly does that. 
Please say hello to the 2013 SOAS Amateur Team. Don’t hesitate to say “hey” if you see them out on a race course somewhere!

Our PRO team will be announced this week.

Happy Training,