“At some point somebody decided we’d do the speedos, maybe that was Kona for the IRONMAN World Championships. If all of us looked like Jason it wouldn’t be that cool, it’d be an Abercrombie and Fitch photo shoot. But we also have weird looking old guys doing inappropriate stretches, and that’s just funny.”
Greg Leibert is the man to blame if you’ve ever caught a glimpse of a late-middle-aged man in a speedo desperately chasing the Tour of California. But when he’s not flexing in swimwear, he’s the Creative Director here at Bonk Breaker.
Greg describes himself as a “just a creative guy, I like to draw pictures and be silly.” But he’s got plenty of athletic experience to match his creativity. The reason Greg, in his speedo, keeps up with the bike racers for longer than expected is because he ran the mile ran competitively in college. “I was all big 8 six times but never a big 8 or national champion. I think I was ranked top 20 in the country in the mile at one point. I missed the Olympic trials in 1984 by just a couple of seconds, there’s no way I’d have qualified for the team. But it would’ve been cool to have gone to the trials.”
Greg’s running career was focused on “trying to follow in the footsteps of Jim Ryan, who was a famous miler and the first high school runner to break four minutes.” His hero even came back and trained with their college team. But even with Greg’s best efforts, he kept getting hurt and eventually transitioned to playing team sports alongside coaching his kid’s teams, before moving to California.
Once he arrived on the West Coast, Greg was introduced to cycling. “I loved it, just went as fast as I could on a $300 mountain bike up and down the beach path!” Soon enough his competitive side came out and he was racing. “Fast forward 20 years, I had over 100 wins and seven state championships.” Greg says he might not race much longer, although he still enjoys the competition. At 57 “Guys are still super tough and they look like Yoda! If you eke out a win you still have to stand on the podium and then look at the photo and you see that we all have grey hair and kit that doesn’t fit right any more. It’s kind of depressing.”
Greg came to Bonk Breaker through a friend he met at one of those bike races, Chris Frank. “He’s a sprinter and I’m more of a climber so we didn’t bang bars much, but were often in the same race. So we can be friendly!” Greg had been working as a toy designer for years, but when that company went bust he started doing freelance work at Bonk Breaker. “Chris said ‘why don’t you come in one day a week,’ then it was two days, then three and soon enough I became part of the team.”
Around the office, Greg saw what the Bonk Breaker team is all about. “We shoot each other with Nerf guns and hide in stage areas to jump out and scare people.” But it’s not all speedos and foam darts. “Mostly it’s just working hard and seeing how hard Co-Founder Jason Winn works—he doesn’t quit and works harder than everyone. The guy is always smiling and lifting ten times more than you at event set up and stuff. Being around him recharges my batteries. Chris is super aggressive, a classic sprinter. He can’t see any negative side of anything. He is super confident, and that just inspires trust.”
Oh, and as for that speedo thing. It probably started with Kona’s famous underwear run. Before that, Greg was running in furry shorts and a cowboy hat. Like we said, it’s mostly hard work at Bonk Breaker.