Highlights from the ATB Homegrown Talent Stage at Big Valley Jamboree.
Words: Janelle Price
Cycling legend Greg LeMond once said “It never gets easier, you just go faster.” For John Beckel, General Manager of M Private Residences, this statement holds true as he enters his third year enduring new challenges and reaching new goals through the ATB Cycling program.
After researching the growing trend of road cycling coupled with the desire to provide ATB customers with a truly unique experience, the ATB Financial Cycling program was launched in spring of 2014 as a new way to connect and really get to know our clients in addition to promoting health and wellness in a dynamic way.
In 2015, our cyclists participated in various challenges from June to August and collectively, rode over 26,000 kilometers. This year, our cycling program has 91 riders from across Alberta and various lines of ATB looking to top that.
Beckel, an ATB Corporate Financial Services customer, has been impressed with the expertise and service ATB has provided to his company, M Private Residences. It’s a Calgary-based company that provides customers with access to various vacation resort homes around the world without the commitment and hassle of ownership.
Not only was ATB able to understand the company's complex business model, but it also built a meaningful relationship with Beckel from the start. The unique opportunity to be a part of the cycling program came up and Beckel jumped at the chance to be a part of something that isn’t exactly the norm when it comes to client hosting. And it’s been all uphill since then (literally).
Branching out from traditional hosting events, the ATB cycling program strives to do what other banks wouldn’t do—create an impactful experience and journey for our clients to truly connect and become part of the ATB family over the summer.
Sporting a colourful shirt adorned with hundreds of miniature bicycles, Beckel said that it has been an amazing experience to watch the ATB Cycling program grow in size and attract new riders over the years.
“It is a great way for new and old riders to connect and share best practices,” says Beckel. But what truly resonated with him about the ATB Cycling program experience was the ability to come together as a team to accomplish personal goals. “You feed off each other’s energy and are aware of the fact that you’re suffering together.”
One of Beckel’s most impactful experiences through the program was enduring the 135km ATB Financial Gran Fondo Highwood Pass—the pinnacle event of the program. Beckel endured and completed the ride on the highest paved road pass in Canada.
“It was very empowering to accomplish that feat, especially experiencing the benefits of doing it as a team,” said Beckel.
Long rides such as the Gran Fondo Highwood Pass are what the ATB cycling program aims to prepare riders for through weekly group rides run by professional cycling trainers. It’s this high level of training that has wowed Beckel over the years. The ability to learn how to ride safely on the open road in a team setting was an invaluable experience for Beckel in preparation for the Gran Fondo and his other cycling journeys.
Ultimately for Beckel, it all comes down to health and wellness, and the culture within ATB that the cycling program promotes.
“It is all about fitness and balance, and that comes from all areas of your life: your friends, family and social environment,” said Beckel.
It is this cleansing and peaceful element of cycling that Beckel enjoys the most—being able to shake off the daily stressors of life until it’s just you, your bike, and the open road.
Having completed the ATB Gran Fondo Highwood Pass last month, Beckel is eager for his next challenge and opportunity to ride with his ATB cycling teammates. It’s these ‘stories from the saddle’ that truly reflect how the ATB Cycling program is a unique experience that inspires ATB clients and teammates to get on their bike, enjoy the sport, and the invaluable comradery that comes with it.