Tinker Juarez & Butte 100

Tinker Juarez - 4X US 24 Hour Solo Champion, 3X NORBA XC Champion, 2X Olympian, Gold Medallist, Pan Am Games, ABA BMX Hall of Fame, Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, 3 top 10 finishes in World MTB Championships and on and on... finally met his challange at the Butte 100! Getting off to a strong start, everyone anticipated he would win, but he found this race to be harder than he anticipated and came in third. After, he said the Butte 100 was one of the hardest races he's done and has become one of his favorite. Harder than the Leadville 100!

Thank you Triple Ring Productions for an awesome course!

Quick Update...

You know, the faster I go, the further behind I get. I owe you several things - more people that inspire me and an update on my road trip to the Butte 100.

Needless to say, I'm back from the trip. I was hoping to keep things updated as I traveled, but unfortunately, I forgot the power cord to my PC!

 However, the trip was fun and an experience I will never forget. Please bear with me as I upload 14GB of videos and photos that I want to share with you... Stay tuned!


Today I leave on a new adventure! I'm heading to Butte, Montana for the Butte 100. This is my first "real" road trip, so I'm a little scared, but excited. No real plans other than to arrive in Butte on Friday and hang with my friends - Bob Waggoner, Gina Evans, Bill Martin and Rob Leipheimer.

Taking my sleeping bag, bike, hiking shoes and Leki walking poles. That's about as good as it gets. Tune in to our YouTube Channel for video updates along the way and of course, I'll be tweeting too...

And if you happen to be in Butte on Saturday, July 31, join me at the Butte 100!

Tour de France - Stage 15

OK, folks, you all know I'm not a "cyclist"; I’m just a chick with a bike. A poser. I don't know much about Tour de France, I just love watching it and I love the men in spandex, especially Fabian Cancellara. And this year, I’m rooting as hard as hell for Andy Schleck to win.

So about Andy vs Alberto Contador today... I'm not sure that my opinion is worth anything, because as I said, I don't know much about TDF. But people, I do know this... the Tour de France is a competition. In competions, there's strategy, drive, determination and, they're not always fair.

I was just watching Alberto Contador’s explanation of today’s race – he’s apologetic, he says he didn’t realize there was a mechanical problem and that he started the attack before they happened. I believe him. I believe him not only because he sounds sincere, but because - if you watch the video between 4-7 seconds, it appears to me that Contador was already starting the attack. He’s off his seat and pushing it. Andy doesn’t realize he has a problem until 9-10 seconds.

OK, so you say it would have been “gentlemanly” to stop. Put on the brakes. Slow down. Wait. How many of you cyclists would really have done that if you were in that race? What if it would have taken Andy 10-20 minutes to fix that chain, would you expect Contador to wait that long, or just stay long enough to say "sorry buddy, good luck"? What exactly were people expecting?

Like I said, I don't know much about the rules of engagement here, so I guess I'll go buy "Tour de France for Dummies", then maybe I won't be so naive.

In the meantime, I know Andy will be back in that yellow, if not tomorrow, soon. I had a feeling he was going to win TDF 2010 as I watched him warm up at Stage 7 of Tour of California. I was right there under his nose. And as I watched him, watched his focus and determination, I knew. I knew he was going to hit Tour de France hard this year. He’s going to win. As he said, he has fire in his belly and… “I want to take my revenge”. Heck, he had fire in his belly long before today!

BTW, don’t forget to vote for me in the StartupNation Leading Moms in Business Competition!

Go Andy, go Andy, go Andy!

Meet Team Winter

Since our product launch in May 2008, we have been fortunate to meet some extraordinary people. People that inspire and move us. Over the next several posts, I will introduce you to some of these friends in hopes that they will inspire you with their passion as much as they have us.

I’ll start with Team Winter

Team Winter is a non profit organization raising money and awareness for prostate cancer. The spearhead behind the organization is Winter Vinecki, an 11 year old triathlete who lost her dad, Michael, to prostate cancer when she was 9. The team behind Winter is her mom, Dr. Dawn Estelle, and her three brothers –Yukon (13), Magnum (9) and Ruger (7).

I first heard of Winter over a year ago, when my friend Scott Zagarino, a fellow Shorty Award winner, told me he had shared some Action Wipes with her. After I learned of Winter’s story, I was instantly captivated. So when she wrote to me a couple months ago asking if I would consider sponsoring her with Action Wipes, my immediate response was ‘YES!’ (Ok, let’s get corny - she actually had me at “hello”!)

Now, let me say this – Winter, at 11 years old, already has amazing vision, dedication and drive. I’m sure we’ll be seeing her in the Olympics in the very near future! And, after spending time with her, I found that her strength comes from her family. Like Samson counted on his hair for strength, Winter counts on Dawn and the boys.

The cohesiveness, love and support of this family blows me away. And the more I come to know them, the more in awe I become. And as amazing as Winter is – her mom and brothers need to be recognized, cheered and supported as well…

I don’t know how Dawn does it – widowed much too soon, she is the sole supporter (emotionally and financially) to these four, incredible kids. And as if being a full time, loving mom is not enough, she is a full time physician and Team Winter’s janitor, secretary, travel agent, tradeshow & logistics coordinator, vendor relationship liaison, accounts payable & receivable, marketing & PR, promotions, sponsorship coordinator, fund raiser and…best friend. She’s related to the energizer rabbit! I know it!

And then there is Yukon. At 13, this smart, loving boy is already entrenched in the daily business activities of Team Winter, while keeping up with his school homework and own athletic aspirations. Yukon has taken on the task of updating, maintaining and improving the Team Winter website – without any formal technical training. He also maintains all social media aspects of the organization – tweeting and facebooking as time permits. At events, you’ll find him in the Team Winter tent, in charge of sales.

Laughter and balances comes easily when Magnum and Ruger are in da-house. The personality differences between these two couldn’t be farther apart than when the red sea parted. But they too, are a crucial link in Winter’s circle of strength and, you’ll find them promoting and helping at events too. In fact, you’ll find the entire family promoting Team Winter, their sponsors and helping at the tent.

For so many families, the death of a spouse/parent can shatter the fragile bonds of the family, but the Vineckis found strength in each other and have rallied around the gifted talents of Winter as a way to stay connected. While Winter’s achievements are awesome on their own merits, what is truly inspiring and heartwarming is the love, friendship and camaraderie that Dawn, Yukon, Magnum and Ruger all bring to the Vinecki team. They are the inspiration for Winter and they are all truly an inspiration to me. We are proud to know them and to help in a very small way with a sponsorship from Action Wipes.

If you want to support Team Winter, go to www.teamwinter.org and make a donation and you’ll make their day. 100% of it goes to cancer research. Now how many other non-profits can say this?!

Thank you FedEx!

(AP Photo/The Tennessean, John Partipilo)
If you hadn’t heard about the Nashville floods last week, then you must have been hiding under a rock – like me. I was so busy preparing and attending the Avia Wildflower Triathlon (notice I said “attending” not “participating”), that I had not watched, read or listened to the news in over a week. So I was clueless that something so devastating was happening in Tennessee - until my Twitter buddy, Newton Dominey of The Crag at Cool Springs Climbing Facility ( @cragcoolsprings ) contacted me.

On Monday, Newton sent me an email asking if I would consider sending some Action Wipes for the volunteers and shelters in Nashville. He advised that the city was under water after a storm dropped 13 inches in a short period of time and that one of the water processing plants was submerged, thus causing a severe water shortage. The city was asking its residents to cut water usage as much as possible – which meant the volunteers could not shower.

My immediate response was “of course!” I told Newton I would be happy to send several cases after he confirmed the city would accept them. (You may be asking yourself “why would you ask that?!” Well, when I wanted to help the Haiti disaster, none, and I mean NONE, of the agencies would take the Action Wipes - even though “hygiene, baby wipes and wet wipes” were listed on the “Need” lists. They would only accept cash donations.)

A day later, Newton called to tell me he had spoken to the Mayor’s office and they would love to have the Action Wipes. So, I told him I would send them out right away. As time was of the essence, they had to be shipped overnight, they could not wait for ground shipping, which takes a week. I was so happy they could actually use the wipes that I didn’t even think about the cost to ship several boxes “overnight”. So when I went to the USPS and UPS sites to calculate overnight shipping, I just about fell out of my chair when I saw the rates! (USPS quoted $309 and UPS quoted $490 to $690, depending what time of day I wanted it there.) As a small business, I just can't afford the overnight shipping.

So I called UPS, explained the situation and asked if there was anyway they could provide better rates. Their immediate answer was “no, those are the rates”. So I asked if they could verify that the boxes would get there first thing in the morning, only to find out they were not delivering to the area at all. Next call was to USPS. I asked the same thing, “do you have a disaster fund that can help me get these boxes at a better rate?” “No, and delivery to the area is being delayed due to the floods" they advised.

Now, when I get something in my head, I leave no stone unturned! I knew there had to be someone out there that could help me, help Nashville. So I began calling friends and shipping companies everywhere and still, no one could help me. Then, I realized I had not yet tried FedEx!

Frustrated, tired and on the verge of tears, I called FedEx - after going to their website first and finding the Custom Critical Surface and Air Expedite number, which I thought was a good place to start. I went through the story again and asked if they could help. I was advised it would cost about $900 as I had to rent the entire truck.

*Sigh* My first thought was…”Sh*t, H*ll, F*ck!” But, here is what real customer service is all about… realizing my frustration and hearing the “sniff, sniff” of my dripping nose and teary eyes, he suggests we try a different department. He then calls around and transfers me to the Standard Shipping Division. It’s getting better, they quote me $695. As my voice starts to quiver and tears start to roll down my face, Gary then suggests “let’s try the Customer Advocate Division”. What?!

After going through a couple of transfer hiccups, I’m finally speaking with Debbie in the Customer Advocate Division. Unfortunately, she can’t help me either…but again, Debbie doesn’t blow me off, she suggests I speak with the “Charity Division”. What the…did she say “ Charity Division”?!

Now I'm hopeful; can FedEx really help me?

Enter Lisa from… the Charity Division. I don’t even get five words out when she asks “how many boxes we talking about?” Four I tell her, “what’s the weight?” 72 lbs I advise, “Oh hell, that’s nothing. Here’s what I need you to do…” Holy crap, I actually found someone that can help me. I’m shocked, I’m in disbelief, I don’t understand. “What’s it going to cost me?” I ask. “Don’t worry about it honey, we’ll take care of it. When tomorrow do you need it there?” she asks “Um, first thing in the morning?” I ask timidly. “OK, is 8:30am good?” she wonders, “Um, um, yeah!” I reply.

And batta bing, batta bang holy Batman, we have a shipment going to Nashville – overnight!

THEY DID IT. FedEx stepped up to the plate and delivered. This huge corporation helped me, a small business, help Nashville. The packages arrived as promised at 8:35am the next morning. Amazing! 

So Thank you FedEx for caring. Your great customer service helped me help others. I am - forever grateful.

And thank you Heileigh of Perry’s Parcel and Courier Service in Atascadero for helping me get all the labeling right and the boxes ready for pickup! You too are awesome.

Leaves of three, let them be

Ahhhh, spring. Don't you just love the buzzing of bees, the green grass, beautiful blossoms and the warm sun that signals the arrival of spring?

We are fortunate to live in a rural area of town, surrounded by rolling hills, somewhat distant neighbors and great walking trails where I take "da boys", Riko and Jasper, for a walk in the afternoons.

Right now, the hills are full of wild flowers and there's still water running into the creeks from the last set of storms, so the visuals and the sounds are amazing.
However, with the beauty comes the beast - Poison Oak. If you live on the west coast and you're not familiar with it, it's a good idea to educate yourself before you go hiking, camping or cycling through the hills. This nasty weed can cause a severe, itchy rash if you happen to get the urushiol oil from it's leaves, stems or roots on your skin.
Should you happen to brush up against the bush, or in many cases, your dog happens to brush themselves against it, try to clean off the oil as soon as possible. While many people believe dogs are not affected by the oil, they do however carry the oil on their fur. So, if you happen to pet them, or they happen to brush against your leg - you're in trouble! So make sure to clean them well too.

Here is a short video on how to clean up after your walk...

Make sure to check out our YouTube video too...
We recommend that you take a shower when you get home to ensure you've removed all the oils from all possible areas. Find out more about poison oak, poison ivy and sumac and how to treat it by visiting http://poisonivy.aesir.com/ and http://www.poison-ivy.org/.

And The Oscar Goes To...

Since our launch, we have been very fortunate in garnering a lot of press. And, with the Oscars just around the corner, today's review couldn't be more timely...definately worthy of either "Best Documentary" or "Best Comedy" of the year award!

And the Oscar goes to... Camping Gear TV!!

The Pitch Tank

In business, there are always risks…
Going to the Locker2Locker Pitch Tank in Florida was a risk – both personally and financially. The question is… was it worth it?

I first heard of the contest when Kevin Harrington posted a tweet announcing the contest. After checking it out and seeing it would take place in “Hollywood”, I thought to myself – “heck, if I win, it’s only a few hours drive”, so I completed the application, printed a copy for my records and boom, hit the send button.

Several weeks later, when I received an email advising I was chosen as a finalist, I got excited. Until I realized it was in Hollywood – FLORIDA and only one week to book the trip. Oh. Crap. Quick mental calculation: Air (last minute ticket), hotel (Super Bowl week), rental car, mileage, parking, food and other incidentals  = NOT IN BUDGET. My head droped and my shoulders slumped in dissapointment.

But after speaking with the coordinator and learning about the invitee list, I thought this could be a great networking opportunity. The infomercial wasn't as attractive to me as was the chance to meet Kevin Harrington, Les Brown, Lisa NicholsSusie Carder and others in person. When would I ever have the opportunity again to meet professionals like this all in one place? After discussing it with my husband, we both agreed this could be good... and you just never know what could happen. So keeping myself open to possibilities, I booked the trip.

The Pitch was held at Trump Hollywood, a luxurious high-rise immediately recognizable as The Donald's brand. As a finalist, I was invited to attend a VIP Pre-Awards Reception in one of the high-rise suites... Swanky!

Following the reception, the finalists were asked to meet in the library to begin preparing for our presentations. At this point, I start getting nervous. Being upstairs the entire time, I didn't realize that several hundred people were partying downstairs too - and they were going to be watching our presentations. YIKES.

To help me relax, I went up to each and every person in the room, handed them a pack of Action Wipes and said... "I'm pitching my product tonight, Action Wipes, and I'd like you to try them. I would really like your feedback after I'm done." Everyone was very kind, gave me words of encouragement and wished me well. How cool is that!

We were then asked into the "green room"...

Where we were briefed and given instructions...

We were also advised that we would go in random order, except for Elite Health, they would go first. Overall, the event didn't go exactly as planned due to time constraints. Originally, all the contestants were suppose to pitch, then three finalists would be selected, they would pitch again then a winner would be announced. Instead, we all pitched and were told the winner would be announced in the morning - during the business summit. Bummer.

However, after the pitch, I stuck around to thank the judges – that’s when I saw Kevin speaking to a camera, announcing the winner.… As I read his lips, I was disappointed, I didn’t win. The winner was Elite Health, the first presenter.

At the end of the evening, as I was waiting for my car, I had the opportunity to speak with Kevin one-to-one as he waited for his car too. (Ok…his limo.) I asked “why Elite?”  He told me what he liked was that Elite already had 180,000 distributors and was generating income. Having said he liked my product and could see a lot of opportunity, I asked - "Can you help me, and if not, do you know anyone that can?" He said it would be a good product for the Home Shopping Network (HSN), but he wanted to think about it more as he was on overload from all of the day's events. So he asked that I follow up with him by sending more detailed information and we would go from there.

So there you have it. Was it worth it? It was to me. And you just never know what can happen from the samples I passed out (not only at the event, but to the flight attendants, business folks in the shuttle, passengers next to me on the plane... call me Johnny Appleseed!)

And remember - always ask for help and don't stop there. The person you ask may not be able to, but you never know who they may know!

My Comfort Zone

Martha Van Inwegen, Action Wipes from Doug MacMillan on Vimeo.

As a small business owner, I constantly have to step out of my comfort zone, which makes me uncomfortable! Very uncomfortable.

My friends and family think I’m an extrovert and that getting in front of people just comes naturally to me – but it doesn’t, honestly. It takes every ounce of courage I can muster to approach a complete stranger and ask if they would like to try our Action Wipes. When we go to events and people start making their way towards our booth, my stomach does summersaults and my coffee starts coming up my throat just watching them walking our way. When I won the Shorty Award for Brand last year and had to go in front of some 300 people and thousands more watching via the web to give my 140 character speech – I was so scared, I almost didn’t make it to the stage because I shaking in my boots so hard (ok, I wore sandals).

So now that you know this about me, you’ll laugh when I tell you that I seriously considered participating in ABC’s Shark Tank. Yes, a show with millions of viewer’s nation wide! I have to tell you, I was sick to my stomach just creating the five minute video required to be considered. But I submitted it non-the-less. So imagine my surprise when they called and told me they loved it and wanted to move forward. Man, I had just about puked and even cried on that demo tape – how could they possible want me?! However, I passed on the opportunity – not out of fear, but out of what I believe is smart business sense. After reading the 40 page contract and them not willing to accept changes, I decided there was no way I could sign it.

As uncomfortable as it makes me, I am always looking for opportunities that will help promote Action Wipes, or at minimum, put them in front of people that can help me. So, here’s another opportunity for you to laugh at me again… I recently entered a contest to win a free infomercial at the Locker2Locker Pitch Maker Contest, in conjunction with the 2010 Professional Athletes Business Summit. For the contest, entrepreneurs submitted their product, or idea in the hopes of being one of 20 finalist chosen to present to a distinguished panel and in front of over 100 professional athletes. Guess what? We made the final 20. GULP.

I am now sitting in Oakland, waiting to take the Bart to the San Francisco airport to catch a red-eye to Hollywood. Florida. Since the day I found out, my stomach has been in knots. The closer it gets to stepping on that plane, the more I can feel my early morning breakfast coming back up. What makes it more nerve wrecking is that - ironically, the deciding panel is being lead by Kevin Harrington – one of the sharks on Shark Tank. OMG!

My sister once asked me “how do you do it - so easily approach people and start talking to them or pitch your product?” “I have to, my business will not grow if I live my life in fear and hope people will find us by chance” I said. “I could never do what you do” she said.

If you want to have a successfull company, you have to put yourself out there, you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other - but know that one day your perseverance, the nervous sweat and even making a fool out of yourself will pay off. I believe it - that's why I do it!

Co-Opetition: It's a good thing!

Since the invention of baby wipes in 1970 there's been an immense surge of wet wipes on a global level - GLOBAL.

These days, you can find a wipe for just about every household chore and every body part...

Besides the familiar baby wipes, there's wipes to clean cell phones, clean floor and kitchen counters, antistatic wipes to clean your computer screen, antiseptic wipes to clean your hands, cosmetic wipes to remove your makeup, specialty wipes that prevent goggles from fogging, self tanning wipes, before or after sex wipes, and of course, wipes for when you can't shower.

While big corporations (Kimberly Clark & Clorox) hold the largest share of the market, there are some small, creative companies that are breaking into that share with some very cool ideas. Some are in direct competition with Action Wipes and others are what I consider "Co-Opetition". Co-Opetition is when a brand competes with Action Wipes for the consumer dollar, but actually compliments it at the same time.

I decided to write this post as many of our fans have discovered these unique wipes one way or another (more often than not, via Twitter) and ask... "Hey, have you seen these?" So let me, show you, how you can use these unique wipes together with Action Wipes...

Purpose: Cleaning Cell Phone
Hate the gunk that builds up on your cell phone over time? Or have you ever thought about the germs left behind when someone else "borrows" your phone? Then Celly Smellys are what you need to clean both gunk & germs off without doing damage to the phone. Now, if that call you received got you all hot and sweaty, then use an Action Wipes too! Celly Smellys are sized 4"x7", are LCD safe, come in multi-packs of 15, four (4) fun scents to choose from and cost about .33 cents each.

Purpose: Degreasing Hands
There are times when Action Wipes are just too big for the job -like when you just want to clean your hands after changing a flat tire, or slipping the chain back on your bike, that's where Grease Monkey Wipes come in handy. Like Action Wipes, they are individually wrapped, so they are convenient and easy to carry in your purse, tool kit or store a couple with your spare tire. Now, if you spent a little too much time changing that tire and you find you need a shower too - then by all means followup with an Action Wipe! Grease Monkey Wipes are sized 8"x7", citrus scent and cost about $1.00 each.

Purpose: Refresh
You know how you can get that refreshing spa scent at home? By hanging an Herban Essentials towelette from the shower head while you shower. The steam helps the essential oils drift through the room just like in a spa. They're also great for when you just need a little refreshing. Unlike Action Wipes, they do not contain any cleansing agents. If you need to clean off the stinky sweat scent - use Action Wipes. Herban Essentials are sized 4.75"x7.5", come in five (5) different scents and cost about .75 cents each.

Purpose: Cleaning
Don't like any kind of scents? Then try Wysi Wipe, a dry, compact (3/4") wipe that expands as you add water. Wysi Wipe contain no wetting solution, scent or cleansing agents, so they're good at wiping off sweat, but not the odor. To clean off the odor - use Action Wipes. Wysi Wipe comes as a small tablet that expands to 9"x10" soft wipe after adding water and costs about .21 cents per tablet.

I hope this helped you understand the differences. If you have a favorite wipe that compliments Action Wipes, tell us about it and we'll spread the word.

And remember... Your face is not a baby's butt!