Podcast: Anne Hed, CEO of HED Cycling – A Pioneer Company in Carbon Wheels, Aerodynamics, & More

Podcast Hed Cycling

Our partner in podcasting, The Gravel Ride Podcast, sits down this week with Anne Hed, CEO of HED Cycling. HED has been a pioneer in carbon wheels and aerodynamic carbon components for as long as I can remember. It was amazing to hear about how long HED has been thinking (and producing wheels) for the gravel market.

HED Cycling Website

Automatic Transcription by The Gravel Ride (please excuse all errors)

[00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello, and welcome to the gravel ride podcast, where we go deep on the sport of gravel cycling through in-depth interviews with product designers, event organizers and athletes. Who are pioneering the sport

I’m your host, Craig Dalton, a lifelong cyclist who discovered gravel cycling back in 2016 and made all the mistakes you don’t need to make. I approach each episode as a beginner down, unlock all the knowledge you need to become a great gravel cyclist.

This week on the podcast. We welcome Anne head CEO of head cycling out of Minnesota. If you’ve been around the cycling industry for a while I’m sure you’ve seen head wheels. They’ve been around for many, many decades and have been pioneering the use of carbon to go fast for that entire time. Anne’s late husband. Steve had an, an founded the company. Out of a bike shop in Minnesota and built wheels to support triathletes in the early days. But have evolved to support all high performing athletes, including gravel, cyclists. We’ll get into a little bit about the history of the company. The wheels they produce for the gravel market. And the history of gravel in minnesota.

I was particularly amused by one story about Steve head and Gerard from open cycles and how the open cycle up, which has been a pioneering frame set and bicycle in our sport. Might not have come to existence. If it wasn’t for a little event out in Minnesota. Before we jump into the conversation. I need to thank this week. Sponsor hammerhead. And the hammer had kuru to computer.

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And sometimes I’ll do a couple laps on it. If I need to kind of keep my ride in a controlled area. This will automatically create a lap. There’s hundreds of little items like that, that hammer had is always introducing into the equation. So I really feel like this computer and the software is alive.

I finally got around to doing some fine tuning of my main screen. Moved a few things around. As I’ve started to get a sense of got all these options. As to what I can put on the screen and I’m pinning down exactly what I want and putting them in the right location. So while I was happy before. I’m super happy now that I’m getting it dialed.

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The gravel ride at checkout to get yours today. This is an exclusive limited time offer only for our podcast listeners. So don’t forget to use that promo code, the gravel ride after adding a custom color kit and premium water bottle into your cart with the purchase of her career to. That’s hammerhead.io. Would that business behind us let’s jump right into my interview with Anne head And welcome to the shelf.

[00:03:41] Anne Hed: Oh, boy. I’m so happy to tell everybody this story of head and I’m getting ready to head off to Emporia next week. So it’s like perfect timing for this podcast.

[00:03:52] Craig Dalton: Yeah, it’s so exciting. When I got introduced to you, obviously I’d been around been familiar with the head brand for my entire cycling career. And to hear some of the backstory that I know we’ll get into in this podcast about. How early on you’ve been riding bikes off road. I think it’s just exciting to have this conversation and make sure everybody in the gravel cycling communities, aware of the products that you have had in the market and the products that you’re continuing to unveil in the model.

[00:04:18] Anne Hed: Yes. I’m excited to tell the story.

[00:04:21] Craig Dalton: So let’s, let’s start at sort of the beginning. Just, I know you’ve been around cycling your whole life and did a lot of events in the triathlon world. So why don’t we get a little bit about your backstory, where you’re from, because I think it all leads into the head brand and your journey with your late husband.

[00:04:37] Anne Hed: Yeah. So I am a resident of Minnesota born and raised here. And I grew up in Duluth where. It was incredibly challenging on a bike. So my first job was a lifeguard. So I came from a swimming background and I had to bike just to get to work. And then I kind of picked up running along the way. And when I was in my early twenties, I saw of course the Hawaiian Ironman.

And I thought, well, you know, I’m signed up for college, I’ve done some classes, but I, I have this dream to go do. So I qualified for Kona in a, in a triathlon, but AI had no money. And I had a, really a heavy bike and a friend said, there’s this guy named Steve head. He owns a bike shop called grand performance.

I think you should go see if he’ll help you. So I literally just walked into a shop and there he was. And I’ll never forget it. Like shirtless, grease all over permed, magenta hair. This was in the eighties. Okay. And so, he handed me a hundred dollar check, which didn’t bounce for the entry of the Hawaiian Ironman in 1983.

So, he also gave me a bike. So I, I headed over there and I, and I was racing and I, I was on a professional team to Mizuno. I, I wasn’t winning a bunch of races, but while I was racing, Steve San Francisco Mosher set the hour record on disc wheels, double disc wheels and Steven’s background besides owning a bike shop.

And having a history lit degree and not an engineering degree he had made skateboards and water skis kind of like in his garage. So he went into a garage with a friend and made a solid disc wheel

[00:06:33] Craig Dalton: and what was he making? What kind of a material was he using to make that we all in a garage?

[00:06:37] Anne Hed: It was basically fiberglass and foam and he got a friend to machine, some. Hubs or he tore apart a hub and he found an aluminum rim and he glued it together and, and it, it didn’t fall apart. He gave it to me and I did some races on it

[00:06:57] Craig Dalton: Literally that first wheel.

[00:06:59] Anne Hed: It was actually the second, well, the first one went to another friend that helped him.

Right. So. So I started writing it and people were just stopping me at races and saying, you know, what is that? And can I have one? And so we made, we made a few more and all of a sudden we’re like this, this could actually be a business. So, he, he was able to. Get some more raw materials, but it wasn’t enough to do very many.

So I saw that there was a triathlon and the first prize was a car. So I went to Brattleboro Vermont in 1984 and lo and behold, I won a car. So I came back to Minnesota and. Went and imagined this is a 21 year old girl that knew nothing about business or anything, walking to banks, asking for some money.

And one baker said, what do you have? And I said, I have a car and I have a, I have a bike. Well here, if you give me the title of the car, I’ll give you $14,000. That was, that was a lot of money was still is a lot of money. So. Got the money and I gave it to Steve and, you know, we were kind of dating.

So, so between, you know, his amazing creative brain and my earnings of that car, that’s how head cycling started

[00:08:28] Craig Dalton: Amazing. And was it, did Steve always and yourself, did you have an orientation around building products around speed? I know you said he was inspired by seeing saying Moser’s world record with full, full disc wheels. Was that the orientation, like let’s make a fast aerodynamic wheel.

[00:08:49] Anne Hed: oh yeah, for sure. I mean, you know, Steven just. Italian products to and racing. And it was Francisco Mosher and, and he was just a fan of all types of cycling. But it think from the infancy, it’s always been how to make an affordable product that is fast and aerodynamic that, that a lot of people can use.

And so that’s really still the. The premises of why we make certain products is we want them and everybody to just enjoy cycling and have the experience of speed and, and have it still affordable.

[00:09:28] Craig Dalton: And when you started out with the disc wheel, did you then move to a spoke to.

[00:09:32] Anne Hed: Yeah. Cause of course, you know, you can’t use a solid disc wheel on the front. So, he again sat together with a few folks and, and designed the toroidal air shaped front wheel that is still patented to this day. So we had an extension to the patent, but it’s, it’s, it’s predominantly what you see.

All lot of the other wheel companies making it’s a 60 millimeter carbon air, full shaped wheel. And like I said, we were pretty much first to the market on that. And we were able to figure out how to continue to make a product super fast. So that was in 1992.

[00:10:18] Craig Dalton: Okay.

[00:10:19] Anne Hed: I’m sorry, 1990. We had hoped to get more of the aerodynamic aspect ratios from our patent, but the three spoke wheel that DuPont had invented back then got some in and we eventually then did buy that wheel in that patent because we knew how fast it was

[00:10:39] Craig Dalton: And have you been continuing to manufacture the wheels in Minnesota throughout that whole.

[00:10:44] Anne Hed: Yeah. I mean, you know, once, once in 84, 85, when we started having more phone calls and people calling off from all over the world, and I don’t, you know, depending on how some of the listeners there was fax machines that a lot of the orders had to come through. So we actually found a house in 1987 that allowed us to live there and work in a group.

Next to it. And the, the wheels just kept evolving and they were made in, in a garage, in, in white bear. Obviously we’ve moved since a few times since then, but it was, it was a pretty funny story. I mean, north wind would come through and we used to heat it with a wood-burning stove. And if the wind was too strong, we had to, we had to stop making wheels that day.

I mean, this is, this is in the eighties. So it’s been a long time.

[00:11:34] Craig Dalton: Yeah, no. And it’s, I mean, it’s real business talk there it’s, you know, when you’re actually manufacturing things and I think this gets lost on a lot of people, just the sheer complexity of manufacturing, anything let alone something like a bicycle wheel that needs a tremendous amount of precision in order to deliver what it’s supposed to deliver.

[00:11:53] Anne Hed: Yeah. So we S you know, we introduced that 60 millimeter We’ll and then we continued throughout the years adding, you know, your, your 40 millimeter. If it was windy, then we added the 90 millimeter on the front and rear. So the product has evolved throughout the history of head, but you know, it has always been made here in Minnesota.

All the carbon products are made here in Minnesota and still are.

[00:12:21] Craig Dalton: And at a certain point you expanded to Aero handlebars. If I’m not mistaken and other products like that, that supported the triathlete market.

[00:12:29] Anne Hed: Yeah. I mean, we would work with professional cycling teams pretty much from all over the world. And obviously with my background in triathlons, I did continue to do a few iron mans. And then I decided that, you know, Steven, I should eventually get married and, you know, have children and, and but throughout the.

Evolution of head, you know, the, the arrow bars were introduced primarily because we saw a need for speed up there. You know, the Scott handlebars that Boone Lennon invented also in the eighties, you know, weren’t, weren’t carbon, you know, they were aluminum kind of . So we signed need to add aerodynamic handlebars to our product.

All.

[00:13:14] Craig Dalton: And it seems just again from the outside and a fan of the sport that your husband then became sort of the aerodynamics guru for a lot of professional cyclists at some point.

[00:13:27] Anne Hed: Yeah, it was, it was amazing because I still look back at those days and we, we were pretty much the pioneers of the, the testing in wind tunnels. So we went back to Texas AMN in the, in the nineties and then on to San Diego to LA they’re low speed wind tunnel. We’ve been in pretty many, several wind tunnels throughout the U S but it is. What is amazing about that part with Steve is it was just the pure desire to help athletes go faster. You know, it was working with a lot of professional cycling. And just individual athletes. And he would come to races with me and Hey, who doesn’t want their bike fixed at a racer, you know, some help with your bike.

Cause sometimes we’d show up at races and products would be broken because of, you know, flying from across the world. And Steven just always had a toolbox there and a measurement and he would work with, you know, all, all different athletes from all different sports of, of cycling.

[00:14:31] Craig Dalton: And so fast forward it a little bit to sort of, to the 2010 era living in Minnesota. All kinds of gravel roads have probably always been a part of your training life. And I think it’s fascinating going back to those really early days of let’s call it pre the modern gravel bike market, what you were experiencing.

Can you just talk about sort of that era and how as bikes evolved and, and events evolved, particularly in Minnesota, some of those events you started thinking about off-road cycling as part of where the, where the brand would ultimately.

[00:15:07] Anne Hed: So, where we live is, is in a wooded area that has, oh gosh, maybe 30 miles of gravel, just pretty much or trails out our back door, but Steven’s parents actually. I lived on a farm in Canby, Minnesota. And so Steven talked about the dream he used to have of just riding the gravel roads back when he was a younger kid or just experiencing gravel in general.

And, you know, I. Would ride hours with Steve and he’d always be, well, let’s say it this way. I was worried that he was going to tip or fall or run into something because I knew when he was dreaming or thinking about the next product or, or he was on his bike and he was thinking about, okay, what else. What else would I want to be riding?

So I think, you know, it was in his blood. I mean, you know, when you, when you’re a farm, your families are farmers from, you know, Minnesota and, and you pretty much live on those roads. It just is part of your life. So. I had to go back into my archives. And we introduced in 2007, what we called the C2 gram, which is a 21 millimeter rim, which, which was quite unusual for back then.

And then in 2013, we, we went to 25 millimeters. So we, we were really pioneers in.

[00:16:35] Craig Dalton: Perfect.

[00:16:37] Anne Hed: alloy in wide wider rims. And that was inspired. You know, one of our, our employees that has been with me for over 26 years, Andy Tettemer, I had to, I had to ask him today and he, he did the first El Monzo in Minnesota in 2008, which is, which is astounding.

When I think about it, I mean, I, I can just only imagine, you know, back then, I think he said in 2007, there was 14 gravel writers in that ride. And look where it’s come now,

[00:17:11] Craig Dalton: It’s incredible. Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s interesting. When you look at whether it’s the grass opera series here in Northern California, that’s been going for 30 years or, or events like that that were predated any of the equipment that we kind of probably take for granted at this point.

[00:17:27] Anne Hed: Yeah. And, and Steven and, and Gerard did an El Monzo in 2013 and

[00:17:35] Craig Dalton: And that’s a Gerard from open cycles.

[00:17:38] Anne Hed: yes, yes, that’s, that’s who it is. And so, I remember like it was yesterday, you know, fiddling around with their bikes, trying to get everything sorted, wondering what they were going to carry, you know, for water and, and.

And, and food. And, and I just remember like the night before Girard and Steve were just trying to figure out and piece together, their bikes and Steven had a local frame builder, peacock Grove, Eric Noren build him a gravel bike because he just couldn’t find anything here or you know, around that he wanted to ride.

So that first ride that they did together was back in 2013.

[00:18:19] Craig Dalton: And where do you recall? Were there certain things in bicycles that he wasn’t finding that he had to ask for that custom bike to be built around?

[00:18:27] Anne Hed: You know, it was just, you know, everything from being able to have the tire with that he needed, you know? And he, he wanted a certain weight. Well, we call it the triple crown. So it was the headset area where he wanted to be sitting up in a certain area. You know, it was just the geometry of the frame that was.

Not available. I mean, it was, everything was custom made for Steve on that bike. And then of course after Steve’s passing Gerard decided to use some of that inspiration for the open and that first bike that Gerard may. It was like, I call it the chocolate brown color. And he, of course in memory of Steve did a limited edition of which he sent me one.

And obviously, I, I won’t, I w I wasn’t able to write it just because I’m five one. And so I gave it to my daughter and she’ll be riding it in Emporia, Kansas next week.

[00:19:28] Craig Dalton: And it’s amazing how the thought process around that bike and ultimately what they arrived at with the original open up is still state-of-the-art and progressive across anything you can find in the gravel market today.

[00:19:42] Anne Hed: It’s it’s a beautiful bike and all of the. The frames that, that Gerard has done have been, you know, pretty much state-of-the-art and, you know, besides that frame and the technology that it’s brought, you know, it’s also been able to experience just, you know, the six 50 B market also. So, our, our rims are also six 50 B also.

And you know, I can, I can go more. On, you know, what we’ve evolved since the alloy rims that, you know, Steven was so much a part of it in 2013 and 14 Steven passed away in late 2014. And since then we’ve brought our gravel wheels into carbon, but we weren’t doing any carbon gravel wheels back in 2014.

[00:20:34] Craig Dalton: Was that a more of a sort of thought about what the market could bear at that point and the type of riders and that the sort of scale of the number of gravel riders who might be interested in a slightly wider rim at that.

[00:20:45] Anne Hed: Yeah, I mean, 2014, you know, we were also the first to market and patented the very first fat carbon rim. So we were really busy in 2013 and 14, a launching that product also. We had gotten a large order from specialized to produce those. And then what also transpired was surveillance came to us and had asked us to manufacture a frame.

So, we had never done that before. And this was something intriguing to Steve and myself, just because it was a very complicated one piece carbon frame. And Steven was working tirelessly to get it done and, and that, and was really happy that we were able to do the tooling for that frame into a prototype.

Frame. And the day that the engineers from Cervelo came to head, we made the very first prototype one-piece carbon fiber frame here in Minnesota. But unfortunately, as he was getting ready to go to dinner with her engineers and I was picking up my daughter he called me with just absolute joy and excitement because the frame actually worked like the prototype worked and he was, you know, super proud of what had happened, but that happened to be the last phone call I ever had was Steve.

He passed away. You know, he, he passed four days later after that he ended up having a heart virus and and he never had, he never woke up. So that inspired me to to make a carbon fiber frame for Savella. And so we were so busy moving the business. I had to pick up a move three weeks later into a new facility.

And it took about a year and a half to get into that. Market and, and make a frame. So to get to the answer of your question, we, we were so busy with this frame fat by Grimm’s and we knew gravel was coming, but there’s only so much I can do, you know, I was, I was, you know, Trying to aim, you know, keep, keep the company together and move forward after Steve’s passing.

You know, I w I knew that we would move into a wide carbon gravel wheel too, but we didn’t introduce that until 2018.

[00:23:15] Craig Dalton: okay. Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. I mean, obviously quite a journey to be grieving and running a company and moving. Having a family and everything you went through at that time to come out the other side and continue the brand and continue, you know, obviously like your late husband had a bunch of projects in the works.

He was always thinking ahead in the market and to kind of realize that that triathlon frame was surveil. It was probably brought it full circle and felt good to realize that product.

[00:23:46] Anne Hed: Yeah. If he would have said, Hey, Annie, didn’t look so good, you know, or, you know, they aren’t really interested then I would have not made that frame, you know, but it really was the joy I heard in his voice. It was my last conversation with them and it was just kind of a gift. A gift he gave me. And I think it was a really, really good learning experience for our company because wheels are hard.

Frames are really hard. Like just the complexity of a frame being one piece also it was very challenging for us, but I think in the long run we learn different molding techniques that we maybe went to.

[00:24:24] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yep. And then, then at this point, does the company focus exclusively on wheels or are there still other components and frames in the mix?

[00:24:34] Anne Hed: Good question. I think when you realize what you’re really good at, you do what you’re really good at. So, you know, Had aspirations of, yeah, maybe we do another frame, but no, we are making wheels and I became women business certified own. Cause you know, I have still a little bit of a dream to make something out of carbon fiber that is out of the cycling industry someday.

Maybe something that flies, something that helps people. So being the really, the only woman. Owned carbon manufacturer here in the U S maybe the world. I don’t know. Don’t, don’t say that for sure. But, you know, I have opportunities or, or possibilities that I can venture into different markets, you know, on the side, you know, the, but, but in the cycling industry at this current time, we just really love making wheels and we’re, we’re busy.

And as you know, the year, the last couple of years with COVID has been a bit of. A nice tailwind for us. So we’re just pretty much right now working on carbon and alloy wheels. And. The carbon wheel that we introduced in 2018, it’s a fabulous name. It was named after in Poria Kansas. And that’s been a really I even trademark that one, I was thinking that day.

So, I think it’s, it’s a great name. I didn’t think of the name, but one of my coworkers did, but it’s, it’s a beautiful name for our carbon wheel in

[00:26:04] Craig Dalton: Let’s talk let’s, let’s talk about those wheels. So what, what is the headline up for gravel wheels? You’ve got both alloy and carbon versions. The gay mentioned 706 50 B models. Let’s talk about some of the attributes of the wheel.

[00:26:19] Anne Hed: right? So the the Alloway. Or just wonderful because they’re, you know, they’re, they’re just bomb proof in there. They’re affordable, you know, so there’s going to be certain folks that want kind of more of an entry-level or they don’t, they’re not interested in the carbon wheel. So we make alloy wheels.

The employer will, and I think retail is right around $750 and, you know, It’s just a 25 internal 30 external. And, you know, it’s, it’s works with I-CAR and SRAM and Shimano, and it’s, it’s just an all around great wheel.

[00:27:01] Craig Dalton: are you lacing that to a hub of your own manufacturer?

[00:27:05] Anne Hed: So we don’t make the hubs in house, but it’s a hub that we have designed and it’s a head hub and it’s, it’s very well-made. We have a four and a five pulse system. So depending if you get the performance lineup, you’re going to get the four Paul hub. If you get the pro lineup, which is. Going to be a little bit different spoke also.

So there is a little bit different price points. You can get either one of those.

[00:27:31] Craig Dalton: Or the rims identical between those two lines

[00:27:34] Anne Hed: the rooms are identical yeah. In the alleyway version.

[00:27:37] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And was that 25 millimeter internal width? Was that what you were making back in 2008 or whenever you first introduced the gravel wheel, did it have that wide of a internal spacing?

[00:27:50] Anne Hed: Oh, gosh, no, no. I mean, no, that didn’t, that didn’t happen for a few years later, but you know, everything’s keeps evolving and as you’ve seen with a lot of the other wheel manufacturers out there, they just keep getting wider and wider. I mean, the tires have gotten so much better over the last couple of years.

We’re still really. You know, sitting on a fence with different tire brands out there, but you know, the, the carbon wheel that we make, the Emporio carbon. Is tubeless and it is a phenomenal wheel. You can get it also in the pro version or the performance version. The pro version has just a little bit higher modulates carbon, so you can get a little bit lighter with it.

And then the, the pro version again. Little bit different carbon, same attributes as the, the alloy wheel. If it’s the pro it has the five Paul hub. If it’s the performance, it’s the four Paul hub, a little bit different spokes, but, both of them are just a really beautiful Wilson. I think what I’m so proud about is that, you know, over 30% of our workforce is female in manufacture.

[00:29:00] Craig Dalton: I imagine it’s quite unusual actually.

[00:29:02] Anne Hed: Very, you know, so it’s, it, it makes me feel really good about, you know, being able to provide a job and income and, you know, health insurance and benefits and, and, and I think that’s what differentiates head from so many of the other. Companies out there that yeah. A were made in Minnesota, but we’re, we don’t paint either.

So everything that comes out of the mold is green and it’s not going through a paint booth. So you see what you get.

[00:29:31] Craig Dalton: and were you able to, are you able to bring sort of semi-skilled employees in and train them up to be carbon fiber wheel building experts?

[00:29:42] Anne Hed: You know, we, we have lots of diversity here. So, we do have folks that have, you know, master’s in composite engineering degrees mechanical engineer. We have we have folks that have degrees in, in history and, and it’s, it’s just so, so first, which I’m so proud of. When it comes to the skill of actually molding a wheel, you know, you’re not going to be able to find somebody that has done that before.

So most of the people that do the, the lab, we teach them the skill and we, we, we spend a lot of time, you know, with different Teachings to make sure that they understand the, the layups. And you know, if you, if you look at a carbon fiber wheel, you know, ours is prepregs, so it comes frozen. We have automatic cutting machines to, to make sure that it’s laid up properly and cut properly.

I mean, I’m thinking in my mind, all the steps that it goes just to make a wheel, but all of the aluminum molds that we make are made in house. So we just purchased a five axis CNC to make more, but that skillset would be also training that person, how to machine. So it’s just, it’s just so many different attributes to make just a wheel.

[00:31:10] Craig Dalton: Yep. And everything’s gotta be perfect along the way. And a lot of attention to detail and a product like this as somebody who’s running a manufacturing facility myself, it’s, it’s fascinating to kind of bring people into the family and instruct them well, Hey, here’s the end goal. This is what we need to get to.

This is the quality level where. Our customers expect and we expect going out the door and then bringing them up to speed as to what are the steps along the way and how to be facilities all along the process to make sure that no error gets introduced into the process along the way.

[00:31:43] Anne Hed: Yeah. And COVID changed things a bit, to be honest with you. So, you know, the workforce has changed a little bit. We have been fortunate to find folks that were a, in the restaurant business or, you know, different schools and such, and they, they just, they just wanted us to build. So we were able to hire them and give them a skillset.

And they’re really happy about that. I mean, what makes me happy is when an employee comes up and says, you know, when I get to buy a house now, you know, they’re or thank you for providing health insurance, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s. It is the wheel that I love making, but I get a lot of joy out of working alongside and helping people find a skill set and giving them a employment.

[00:32:32] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think that’s huge. And so often on this podcast, we’re talking to people who work for larger corporations and don’t have that really intimate relationship with all the employees. And it goes, as you said, far beyond actually the output of the manufacturing process, it’s really being part of one another’s lives and seeing people be successful in acquiring new skills.

[00:32:52] Anne Hed: Yeah. I mean, next weekend I’ll be able to see some of our athletes and what I’m finding even really enjoyable as we’ve got athletes like Rachel McBride, you know, a non there’ll be a non-binary category there. And Rachel be racing in that. And I’ve got Joshlyn McAuley. Who’s a mother of two who just won an iron man in Texas.

She’ll be there several other athletes that, you know, we’re supporting and, and that’s what I get excited about. Going to events now that we be able to, you know, get back after the last few years and sitting in the booth and just supporting them because, you know, that’s, that’s where my roots were.

I was an athlete and I, I remember how difficult sometimes it was just getting to a race and making sure everything was okay with your bike and your wheels. And now we’re going to be on the course. Rachel needs support in the 200 mile. So. You’ll see a van out there and if anybody else needs any help, you know, we’ll be able to help with some of our product, but it’s, it’s connecting with the people that do the events and not, not just the pros.

You know, I, I, I love seeing our wheels on, on all kinds of the folks out there. It just brings a lot of happiness to me.

[00:34:10] Craig Dalton: Yeah, absolutely. Is the company going to be at other events throughout the year? Is that part of the marketing plan for the year?

[00:34:16] Anne Hed: We are one of the title sponsors for big sugar also. And you know, we we’re, we’re diverse. We have triathlons that we’re going to, I just got back from Saint George iron man and, and saw some of our triathletes, but we keep kind of adding things each month. So I, I’m not sure what other ones for sure we’re going, but I know that we’re, we are for sure.

Going to big sugar.

[00:34:38] Craig Dalton: Right on and as gravel athletes are considering ahead, we’ll said what’s the best way for them to kind of understand where to land in your product lineup. Are there some sort of easy ways to talk people through whether they should be riding a carbon wheel or an aluminum wheel?

[00:34:56] Anne Hed: Well, we have, we actually pick up the phone. So if somebody calls here and is kind of stuck a little bit, that’s been one of my mantras too, is I really think it’s important for people to be able to call and who’s ever answered the phone here is very well diverse in the needs of what an athlete might need or weekend rider as such.

So, you know, it’s really, it really kind of depends on. What their goals are, you know, and what their price ranges. But like I said, we have aluminum wheels that, you know, are, are under $800 in carbon wheels, you know? Well, over $2,000. So it’s, it’s really whatever you feel you want. I mean, you know, putting on.

A fancy pair of carbon wills, you know, is, is, is fun. You know, and it, and it is, it is lighter and it’s going to maybe respond a little bit different, but you know, a lot, we saw a lot of, of alloy too. I mean, so it’s really, it’s really up to the athlete or the rider, but we can help them decide depending on what they need.

[00:35:57] Craig Dalton: Interesting. Well, that’s great to know. I’ll certainly put the website in my show notes, so people know how to find you and encourage everybody to call head and understand what had wheels you should get underneath you for your next gravel event.

[00:36:11] Anne Hed: Yeah, I’m, I’m really happy to say that, you know, our supply chain is probably good. Like, you know, it was, it was tough, maybe 6, 6, 7, 8 months ago. But you know, if you called today, most of our alloy gravel Emporio wheels are in. Within a quick, quick lead time to, to ship carbons, even some of those in stock.

So it’s not like the, the crazy lead times that you’re hearing from a lot of the bike manufacturers. We could get people up rolling on, on a head wheel pretty quickly.

[00:36:42] Craig Dalton: Amazing. Well, thank you. And so much for the time, I loved hearing more about the journey and what you guys are doing and appreciate all the support that you guys are putting into the sport of gravel cycling, not only through putting great products out there, but going and participating in some of these events and supporting our event, organizers that are doing hard work to keep us all rolling.

[00:37:02] Anne Hed: Yes. Well, thank you. And I hope to, to meet some of the people that hopefully will listen to the podcast. And if you have, if you see me and you do listen to it, just just let me know or drop me an email. And if you have any questions about our product line I actually do pick up the phone to and answer my emails.

[00:37:21] Craig Dalton: I love it. Thanks so much for the time and good luck out in Emporia.

[00:37:26] Anne Hed: I’m looking forward to it.

[00:37:28] Craig Dalton: Cheers.

[00:37:29] Anne Hed: Thanks.

[00:37:30] Craig Dalton: So that’s going to do it for this week’s edition of the gravel ride podcast. Big, thanks to Ann Head for joining us and sharing the story about HED Cycling.

Until next time here’s to finding some dirt under your wheels.

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