Sep 16, 2019
I’m SO stoked to speak with Mark Satkieweicz, co-founder of SBT GRVL (pronounced Steamboat Gravel), in this episode. About a year ago, Mark and his three partners called my agency, Verde Brand Communications, about promoting a gravel grinder in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. (Full disclosure: SBT GRVL is a Verde client.) Here’s the thing: The race didn’t exist yet.
Not only did Mark and his partners create a brand new gravel event from scratch in about 10 months, it sold out within six days. SIX DAYS!!! We’re talking over 1,000 competitors and three courses. It is arguably one of the most successful cycling event launches of all time.
And now, after the inaugural SBT GRVL race took place on Aug. 18, 2019, we can officially report that not only did the team nail the launch, they nailed the event, too. The courses were incredible; the racers were happy; the cycling community is taking notice. For the record, that's not the PR-pro in me speaking; that’s spoken as an avid cyclist and racer, who competed on the long course.
Today, we talk about what made this event so exceptional right out of the gate, and the questions every event director and promoter should ask to ensure success. For Mark and his team, it was all about creating an accessible community. The focus was on the full experience - from registration to crossing the finish line - and ensuring that every touch point reinforced the spirit of inclusivity and support. The race itself was built on beauty and challenge, but the vibe was one of parity, breaking down barriers and encouraging everyone with an interest.
GUEST PROFILE: Mark Satkiewicz, the co-founder of SBT GRVL, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He is the former CEO of Smartwool and held executive positions at TOMS, Keebler and Nike. Mark is an avid endurance athlete and cyclist.