About Sam Lowe & StartConfident

One of my favorite stories to tell is that the very first thing I purchased with my very first paycheck was — a racing bike. It was a 1987 Schwinn Tempo. Turquoise and white. Shimano 105 drivetrain using much-maligned egg-shaped chainrings.

1987 Schwinn Tempo
You never forget your first love…

If you follow professional cycling now, you’ll see that those egg-shaped chainrings with the little yellow sticker were ahead of their time…

I researched the heck out of that purchase. I was torn between the Specialized Allez and the Schwinn. I ultimately went with the Schwinn because I believed the Columbus tubing was superior to the Specialized, and that Shimano’s then-new “indexed shifting” was the wave of the future.

Apparently, some solid research goes a long way towards equally solid decisions.

I was a newly-hatched, deer-in-the-headlights graphic design graduate from the University of Kentucky’s Jefferson Community College in Louisville. As one of the top designers in the 1985 graduating class, I was asked to do some advertising for the college’s newly-acquired “2nd best in the country” designation, which was awarded by a national business magazine.

The fact that I was paid to vaunt “No. 2” status was a precursor to the kind of odd corporate assignments I’d find myself untangling for the next 30 years

The fact that I was paid to vaunt “No. 2” status was a precursor to the kind of odd corporate assignments I’d find myself untangling for the next 30 years, such as…being paid to educate and persuade doctors to adopt certain therapies. I mean, I don’t have a medical degree; I’m a designer and writer who loves to race his bike.

How my former day job qualifies me to help you develop the skills and confidence to race your bike

Marketing and advertising are funny businesses. If you’re persuasive and creative, you can find yourself in a leadership position pretty quickly. And that’s where I used to spend all of my daytime hours: leading designers and writers to develop materials that market therapeutics to doctors and other healthcare providers.

As the old gag goes, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” Sorta.

Why should this be important to you? After all, this is a website dedicated to new and aspiring bike racers, right?

Bringing you — the new or aspiring racer — the best education, information, and inspiration

My day job wasn’t so much “creative,” despite the title and training I got back in Louisville in the ‘80s. My business card read, “Creative Director.” You’d probably expect my life to be reminiscent of Mad Men. I mean, doesn’t a designer, writer, and photographer craft sexy ads and write witty jingles?

No, more than anything else, I was a “content aggregator.”

Let me explain.

More on my Former Day Job

Healthcare marketing materials are highly regulated by the FDA. That means drug makers can only say factual things about their drugs when they attempt to market them. And by “factual,” they mean your story must be built out of studied, researched, and published materials.

Remember that research paper you had to do in 10th grade? The one where the teacher said you had to use, oh, 8 to 12 “sources” of information? Remember putting together your list of references for the last page, where each book or recording or website had to be accurate down to the exact paragraph and date?

That is what I used to do. On steroids.

Only now, as the primary content creator and aggregator for you here at StartConfident, I do it to help you roll to your first few bike racing start lines. I carefully select from sports physiology books, sites, and articles, as well as other coaching literature so you don't have to.

I want you to be prepared to realize a dream. I want you to have relevant knowledge that you can easily use. I want you to be able to dispel the fear that could hold you back from a lifetime of fulfillment, challenge, and achievement.

StartConfident is your trustworthy source for comprehensive get-started bike racing information

The web, bookstores, bike shops — there are TONS of information available to you regarding the tradition-steeped world of bike racing.

But when you’re completely new to the idea, what exactly do you need to know?

Most of the race-oriented information online is specific to training or equipment, or geared for those who’ve already begun racing. StartConfident assumes you know little to nothing of these things. In fact, StartConfident assumes:

  • You’ve never raced, but you are attracted to the idea
  • You’re unsure of where to start
  • Why are local racers so…cliquish? Standoffish?
  • You’re really like to race, but you have a number of fears holding you back
  • Carbon, steel, aluminum, Shimano, Campy, SRAM, help!
  • You think “training” is either something boxers do, or a way to get to work if you live in New York

StartConfident will not only gather together great content to get you geared up right, thinking right, and more fit to race, but it will also seek to inspire you. Bike racing is a beautiful and heroic sport; it’s a sport that can literally challenge you deep into old age. If you StartConfident, you’ll finish strong.

I hope you’ll find a welcoming home here, and that you’ll feel motivated to take the advice you find, and share it with those you think will appreciate it.

See you at the start.