Every once in a while, an opportunity comes up that seems too good to be true. RD2 has been working with Moto GP superstar Ben Spies for the past year by creating his new brand, redesigning and developing his new website, as well as many other endeavors.
When Mary Spies first told me that I may be going to Italy and Switzerland for a few days with her and Ben, I thought it was a far-fetched idea that she had. Low and behold, one month later I was arriving in Milan, Italy, only to embark on an adventure.
Mary and myself arrived early morning in Milan, only to find our ride outside of the airport waiting to take us to our next destination. This is my first trip to Europe, so my eyes were glued to the window, to look at all the beautiful scenery that Italy had to offer.
Driving in to Como, I couldn’t help but film all the beauty that was offering itself. Never having been here before, I felt as though I was getting a true taste of authentic Italy. The view from the Lake is simply stunning.
I had a very brief encounter with Como, before it was time to jump back in the car, and drive 4 hours to Freiburg, Germany. This is another beautiful and scenic trip as it took us from Italy, through Switzerland and the Swiss Alps, to our final destination of Freiburg.
Ben had become the latest professional athlete ambassador for Jorg Gray watches. He agreed to do two days of appearances at the Jorg Gray setup at the worlds biggest watch and jewelry convention called “Basel World” in Basel, Switzerland. Freiburg was about a 30 minute train ride to Basel, so the Jorg Gray team decided to book a hotel there.
When arriving in Freiburg, I could see what a historical and old town this was. It was unlike any place I had ever been or seen for that matter. With a number of old cathedrals, cobblestone roads, and the historic Black Forest on the outskirts of the city, it was like taking a step back into a different century.
After getting situated in the hotel, Ben, his trainer Brent, Mary, and myself were invited to join some of the Jorg Gray team for dinner. We were introduced to Vice President of Sales Mark Gurdus, Chief Operating Officer Damian Want and President Trevor Gnesin. We had a good time getting acquainted, and I got to taste some authentic German food. Overall consensus: absolutely delicious.
After dinner we took a cab back to the hotel and turned in for the night.
After experiencing a severe case of jet lag, I had no problem getting the sleep my body was screaming at me to get. Upon waking up, we were rushing to catch the 9 o’clock train. I grabbed my camera, put on the proper attire (an exclusive RD2 t-shirt), and we headed down to the train station to take it to Basel.
We arrived in Basel about 35 minutes later. This too had the look and feel of an old, historic city. There is wealth there, that is hard to comprehend, and it is apparent in the buildings and cars that occupy the city. Ben and I posed for a picture and then headed off to the Basel World area.
As I got to Basel World, I was prompted to go through security and get a badge indicating I was allowed to shoot video on the premises. All in all, it was about a 45 minute process. The security is extremely tight do to all the money and expensive jewelry that is located inside.
Walking in to Basel World, I was not prepared for the magnitude of what I was going to witness. First things first, we went to the Jorg Gray set which was on the bottom floor. They had quite an impressive display for Ben. You can tell they were quite thrilled to have him there.
After doing a good amount of filming, Trevor prompted Ben and myself to take a walk with him – upstairs. We followed him there, and my mouth simply hit the floor. Rolex, Du Bois, Michael Kors, and David Yurman were just a few of the high end designer names I witnessed right away. The displays and setups for these watches were in the millions, it was quite an overwhelming scene. The money in this particular area is unfathomable.
As a long day of filming and walking grew to an end, we left Basel World tired and wanting to relax. When we got back to the hotel, we ran in to some of the Jorg Gray folks, who again, graciously offered to take us out to dinner. This was a great restaurant, and was a much more authentic German experience. I took the approach “when in Rome…” and had my first ever, authentic German beer.
After taking an after dinner stroll through town, we all ended up retiring for the night, but not before getting to see much more of the beautiful and eerie architecture Freiburg has to offer.
After experiencing a delicious breakfast, it was time to head to Basel World again. This time we drove there, so we could leave early because Ben had to get back to Italy.
First, we had to go back to Basel so Ben could have his interview with Euro Sport. Soon after, we bid adieu to the fine folks at Jorg Gray, and embarked on another 4 hour trip back to Como, Italy.
When we got back to Como, Ben and myself decided to take a walk around the plaza to have what Ben described, “as the best ginseng espresso you’ll ever have”. He was right.
As we walked around, I could get the sense that Ben was eager for us to launch the Elbowz Racing website. He made it a personal goal to stay up to see the site go live. It was launching at 5PM CST time, which translates to midnight Italian time.
So to pass the time, Ben brought us out to get some authentic Italian food. Not yet having the opportunity to eat any, I made sure I got a pizza. Saying it was the best pizza I have ever had would be a gross understatement.
We took a stroll around town after dinner, and decided to grab a drink in a small Italian “watering-hole”. While there, Chris Ronan called me. As he asked me to put the phone on speaker, Ben grabbed it and Ronan informed him that the Elbowz website had gone live. With this great news in mind, Ben was eager to get back to his apartment and play around with it.
Before we knew it, it was past 1 o’clock in the morning. Mary and I had to be up at 4:30 to catch our flight back to the states. I thanked Ben for everything, and wished him well with his upcoming tests and races. He wished me well, and is eagerly anticipating the launch of his new website BenSpies.com
The alarm went off at 4:30, and Mary and I made our way back to the states. It was a whirlwind, but it was an experience I won’t ever forget.
RD2 is a company I could only dream to work for, and am eternally grateful that I do. Chris Ronan has always instilled in his team that we approach clients as though they are friends and family. I never once felt like I was on the job with Ben and Mary, and they treated me with the utmost professional respect while being extremely personal and engaging. I would like to say I have the best job in the world, but I think it’s more of a fact that I work for the best company in the world, who has the best clients in the world.
I can’t thank Chris and Melissa enough for allowing me this once in a lifetime opportunity. I had always dreamed of visiting Italy, but I never thought I would get to go and represent the company I work for. One of the many reasons RD2 separates themselves from the rest. The trust and professionalism they instill in their team makes for one hell of work experience!
Some more pictures for your viewing pleasure:
Great blog, Chris, I think you capture the essence of the trip! It was a whirl wind trip and a sink or swim choice. You are a great swimmer!!
you left out the reggae bar!