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“Dispatch” is an online column from Triathlete Editor-at-Large Holly Bennett that features pro updates, industry news, happenings afield and otherwise random reports related to multi-sport. Look for “Dispatch” every Thursday on Triathlete.com.
I realized recently that it had been far too long since I paid a visit to industry pal Franko Vatterott. Vatterott is the co-founder of bike fit company Retül, as well as the mastermind behind athlete management firm Human Interest Group (HIG). In fact, I hadn’t yet checked out Retül’s spiffy new Boulder headquarters, a space they moved into nearly a year ago. There’s rarely a dull moment in Vatterott’s professional life, so I knew that whatever was happening behind the big Retül sign gracing an office park doorway at 5445 Conestoga Court, it had to be good–and my visit did not disappoint.
The Retül space is impressive. Walk through the door and the place immediately has a hip, happening feel blanketed in just enough professionalism. Case in point, Vatterott emerged from his office clad in a cool blazer in jeans, a nod to the company’s not exactly official “Formal Friday” policy. He took me on a tour through room after room of Retül-ian hijinks–a behind the scenes look at the industry’s leading fit technology. There’s the lab where cyclists are fit on Retül’s Müve Dynamic Fit Bike, a revolutionary system designed to optimize a rider’s speed, power and comfort in customized harmony. [Cool fact: Starting soon, HIG athletes will use the Müve in the wind tunnel to optimize aerodynamic positioning. The bike’s quick and easy adjustability will significantly increase time-efficiency in the cost-prohibitive tunnel.]
There’s the classroom in which two or three classes per month packed with Retül University students from across the country are trained in all things fit-related. [Cool fact: Retül also boasts training universities around the globe, with locations in the United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, Australia, Taipei and Tokyo and new schools launching in Germany and the Czech Republic later this year.] There are engineering and manufacturing rooms full of high tech gadgets and gizmo-loving employees working to craft the latest Retül products, including the “loud room” where the real hands-on drilling, sawing and hammering happens. And there’s the software room, flanked with five or six staff members laser-focused on their Macs, the folks Vatterott refers to aloud as “the really, really smart guys.” The guys nod in acknowledgment as we walk through the room; it’s not a matter of ego, but rather a straightforward fact: these are some of the best brains in the bike industry hard at work on Retül’s next round of innovations.
We pass by a group of Retül University students in training during a special segment on foot inserts and make our way to a recent addition to the space–an expansion that makes Retül and HIG the sole tenants of the sprawling building’s first floor. The decor is a work in progress, but ultimately it will transform into a totally cool hang out spot for HIG’s stable of top pros–including world champions Craig Alexander, Leanda Cave, Julie Dibens and Conrad Stoltz. There’s a dedicated area where athletes, media and industry cohorts can conduct interviews or host presentations. [Cool fact: The backdrop will be a photographic Boulder vista, providing a scenic connection to the company’s roots.] The pros will enjoy an athlete lounge replete with comfy couches, a flat screen TV and an array of NormaTec recovery boots. And there are a handful of individual offices where pros will be able to spend focused work time as needed away from the distractions of training, home life or the bustling corner coffee shop. [Cool fact: Being a pro triathlete isn’t all about swim, bike and run fun and games–there’s also a significant amount of computer work involved keeping up with sponsors, media and fans via email, blogging and other forms of social media.]
Visiting Vatterott was certainly an interesting way to spend the afternoon. The combined Retül/HIG space is a perfect blend of techy innovations and elite athlete focused elements that simply make it a hot-spot place to hang out. [Cool fact: It doesn’t hurt that the Wild Woods Brewery is right around the corner for easy access to post-bike-fit beers.] Next time you’re in Boulder, be sure to schedule your own Retül fit session and spend a few hours soaking up the über-cool vibe.
Learn more about Retül’s dynamic fit system at Retul.com.
Learn more about Human Interest Group’s pro athletes at Humaninterestgroup.org.
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