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      It was our friend Mark Loncar, owner/designer of Acme Made, who first blessed us with his design talents for our inaugural road jersey. The jersey received such an enthusiastic response that we’ve carried the original design forward; although we've made a few adjustments, it is still the vision and creativity of Mark's and my all-night sessions behind the glow of the computer that are the root of what we all wear now. I'll never forget Mark’s generosity and time, even while building and running his own company, that allowed us to, right out of the gate, launch our apparel line with something that looked like we spent thousands of dollars. And those nights were so much fun! We are forever grateful.


        Great design is important to us. I had heard Aimee Blase recommended several times when I first moved to Truckee. how good can this girl be? I wondered. As a small company on a tight budget looking for the highest quality in everything we do, life can be challenging. We pick our partners carefully - in fact, I was so concerned about finding the right designer to help Dude Girl find all her expressions that I hired three designers to spend a small amount of time on the same project concept. Aimee Blase blew our minds with her initial concepts - there was no comparison. She put so much of her heart into our fledgling product, and had the mind to strategically embrace what our brand is about, where it’s headed and how to communicate it effectively. We’ve never looked back. She and her team continue to blow our minds with their brilliant creativity, understanding, service and now friendship. She’s THAT good.


         I’m a huge fan of CLIF Bar, mostly because when we were just beginning our journey, CLIF Bar recognized that we had sump'm special. The folks at CLIF Bar read our story, reviewed our request for sponsorship, answered back with “yes” and sent us product for our first trip. When you are struggling start-up, trying to do a thousand things at once and fast, this is a big deal. I distinctly remember the day I received the good word from them – I breathed a sigh of relief that there are still big companies with soul out there, and who have “that thing” that big companies lose—faith. In a person, in an idea, in the spirit of sport, in a dream, in a small company. They didn’t forget their own roots. I love them for that.


    Not a company — one of the best friends anyone could ask for. Andy, co–founder of Fogdog, is my hero. From the beginning, Andy volunteered his time and energy to Dude Girl even while holding down a demanding, full–time position at Yahoo! He continues to help us scout routes and review hotels in France, serve our trip guests with humor and delight and interesting conversation (although the jury is still out on his ability to navigate the roads of France), create custom maps and GPS routes for our cycling guests, lead our Search Engine Optimization efforts, build web pages, distribute marketing materials. Long nights and hard work never wipe the smile from his face; he’s the best side–kick a stressed-out entrepreneur could have by her side. He keeps me laughing and he believes in what we are creating.


         When I first moved to the Lake Tahoe area, several friends highly recommended that I visit Tahoe Yoga and Wellness Center and take one of Walter Lightner’s yoga classes. I’ll never forget the first day I walked in – the studio had “that special sump’m.” And it’s still very difficult to describe why Walter, who owns Tahoe Yoga, is such a great yoga instructor; he has a gift – you have to experience it to understand. And then we were lucky enough to ride with Walter in France this past summer; afterward, I made a pact with myself to begin a regular yoga regimen upon my return to the U.S.! I love it. The entire staff is great, so if you are ever in Truckee (or Reno – a brand new location!), take a class at Tahoe Yoga! I wonder if my Western Grandma ever would have guessed that the Dude Girl program would consist of weekly yoga – my how times have changed.


         Here at Dude Girl, we’re Peetniks to the core. Brewing Peet's is NOT just having coffee. It’s a righteous morning ritual and, besides running mountain trails at morning’s first light, is just about the only perfect way to start your day. If you haven't tried it, just do it. You’ll never go back. This liquid gold is worth every penny.