Sven Thiele, founder of HotChillee writes about his reasons for riding in Pink this year…
When I started cycling as a sport in about 1999 there was nothing trendy about it. Today we have design, colour, cut, fabric and what seems like an infinite host of options and variations. Despite this wonderful freedom of expression my colour of choice for 2017 will be PINK.
In November, 2015 I rode the Coronation Double Century Team Trial. I rode in a very special social media and VIP team with a bunch of friends and Chillees (about 36 of us!). About ½ way round the 200km course one of the fittest of our team and a regular Ironman triathlete, complained of a severe headache. Popping a few pain killers had no effect. This was a Saturday. By the end of the following week Chantz had been diagnosed with a severe form of cancer. By December she could hardly move. By January 2015 things were really not looking good and in April she sadly passed away, a little over 4 months after that headache. One of the most energetic, vibrant and fittest in our midst had died at the young age of 36.
Her favourite colour happened to be pink, so for the event in 2016 we made some special edition pink HotChillee kit, in her honour but also using the “pink cancer” theme to raise awareness. Since then I’ve been riding the “pink” kit. On nearly every ride I’ve been asked “why the pink?” and have been able to relay her story of ultimately embracing life as she did, riding a bike and taking every day and person as it comes.
I have met and come to know many more people and their stories and to know better people that I already knew. Some of the stories are sad and serve as a continual reminder to embrace and live each day, whilst others stories are motivating and courageous or simply place the person you have known for so long in a totally new context.
This last weekend I rode in a big bunch in my pink kit. I spoke with Jack a Chillee who had recovered from illness and was filled with new admiration for this feisty Scot. Will had ridden his last HotChillee LONDON-PARIS in 2013 before being diagnosed with a vicious cancer. This year he will ride again coming into Paris to the day, exactly four years after being diagnosed. I learnt of men now minus prostrate smashing it on the front of the bunch. I heard of massively challenging planned rides for friends or family now departed. Most importantly I heard about the passion for life, cycling and embracing every moment. I would not have had any of these conversations were I not in Pink. I met so many people and shared so much more than if I had been in boring black! And somehow when I reflected on a perfect day on the bike with so many people, I thought – “ That is so Chantz”! So for 2017 I plan on being in pink!
Chantz – Rocking Ironman
Chantz in pink, centre back with the Double Century gang for the last time – and her fave pro’s Ben Swift and Bernie Eisel with team Sky then.
Riding in pink