And the Winner Is... (cont)

Here, read the winning essay from Outside's Seven Cycles contest as well as the four other finalists

Kellyann Davis, Frederick, MDI'm sitting here looking at my road bike, it's there in front of me on the rollers, a Trek 2100 I bought in 1993 when I worked at a little bike shop in Hawaii. Of course it didn't fit me too well and I made some "modifications," like turning the stem around backwards, but it wasn't easy for a girl to find a good fit back then and I loved it despite its faults. About six years later I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I bet half of the entries you read have a line like that. Don't get me wrong, cancer sucked but I don't think that surviving it makes me special or more deserving, it's just part of my story about the bike. Soon after I finished chemo my husband decided to look for someone a little less sick and bald than I was and he split like a banana, taking his income with him. I was left to recover with house payments, four dogs, a broken heart, and of course, my trusty but dusty bicycle. I started riding again a week after he left, mainly because crying was a lame workout and I was tired of acting like I was sick and sad even if that's how I felt. It didn't matter then what I was riding, could have been a granny bike with a basket for all I cared, just needed to get the wheels spinning again.

Six years later I'm looking back at a long and bumpy road, but I made it because I never gave up, I kept riding that bike and I started my own company doing custom research. It's hard work, but it's worth it. I truly understand what you guys are doing at Seven, what it means to be the little guy doing custom jobs. I understand just how good you have to be, how well you have to know and really think about your customers, how you have to stand in their shoes and ask yourself if the product you're delivering is the best it can be for them. I know what it's like to obsess over the details and make adjustments until you're sure it's perfect. How much you have to care to succeed and compete with the big companies. Feels good to take that much pride in your work and be rewarded with a genuinely satisfied client who talks about how you exceeded their wildest expectations and delivered just what they needed. You guys know. It's about doing it better than anyone else and making the end result worth it for your customer.

So I guess I deserve a Seven because I'm a fighter, because I really get what you guys do, and because my budget would never allow a woman like me to spring for something as special as a Seven. Plus, I would send you doughnuts every year until I die on the anniversary of the day I got my bike, the "good kind."

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