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Project Hermes Ground Zero: Our First Unofficial Athlete Support Project

It started as a dream during the early stages of COVID in 2020. The world was shutting down and I had to decide whether to cut a Speedriding trip in the French Alps short due to the talk of countries shutting down their borders. It was during this time that I really started to give thought to a business concept I’ve tossed around in my mind for a while. It was a concept composed of four separate aspects that would come together to make a whole – the pieces that now comprise My Wicked Dude.

I returned home just as the world went into quarantine. During this period, I decided to re-focus on fitness after two years of injuries. I got back into CrossFit through garage zoom workouts borrowing mismatched pieces of weight-lifting equipment for a couple of months. Even once stay-at-home rules were lifted and we were allowed back in the gym with fully-stocked equipment and the competitive spirit running strong, rules were pretty strict and social distancing remained in full swing. We had 3x3 personal workout boxes outlined in tape on the ground that everyone had to stay in while they worked out - you know “social distancing”.

One day during a back squat conditioning workout I met Taylor Auclair. We talked for a bit, shared our experiences, and bonded over our drive to push our limits. That’s when he told he wants to partake in the Moab 240 race in October 2021. I knew just a little about the race, having heard of it during a time when I was a part of the running community. I was stoked for him and thought it was an epic goal!

I shared with Taylor details about the brand I was working to launch in summer 2021. I told him about the mission of My Wicked Dude and told him I felt his journey to Moab lined up perfectly with what the brand is about. After discussions about his training plan and needs, I offered to support him in the process and share his story through My Wicked Dude platforms. Taylor was keen and agreed to join the My Wicked Dude athlete team.

It was through my process working with and training with Taylor in support of his dream to complete Moab 240 that the seed for Project Hermes began to grow, although I did not recognize it at the time.

As Taylor trained, My Wicked Dude was being built, knew that Taylor planned to select a team of pacers to partake in segments of his 240 mile race, but I did not expect to be asked to partake. Although hesitant at first, I did agree to join the team to pace a 30-50 mile segment as a part of Taylor’s team. I started training with the team completing 4am runs with Taylor and another pacer to gear up for the big day. Even during the pitch-black early morning hours, it was hot and humid training out on the East Coast. Those early morning runs created a bond as we imagined what the race would mean to each of us as we played a role in helping Taylor pursue a momentous goal that he dedicated so much to while balancing his role as husband, father, and active duty military service member.

As a team member of My Wicked Dude, we created special edition products dedicated to raising awareness and funding for Taylor’s race. 50% of the proceeds were to support the race, while the remaining 50% would be dedicated to a non-profit dear to Taylor. I partnered with artist Marinna Elinski who designed the Moab Arch logo utilized on the shirts, hydration bottles, and stickers dedicated to Taylor’s race.

About a year had passed since that initial conversation over back squats, and things were starting to get real. The brand launched on August 1st while at the same time details for Taylor’s October race were being finalized. Pre-orders went live for the Taylor-design gear and the amount of support that poured in from Taylor’s friends, family, and supporters of his goal was amazing! We ended up raising more money than anticipated to support both the race and The Up Center. It was because of this amazing outpouring of support that I began to brainstorm plans for supporting other athletes. From this, Project Hermes was created.

Project Hermes is inspired by the Greek God. Hermes was considered a jack-of-all-trades: in Greek mythology, he is the patron God of travel, sports, invention, art, literature, and trade. The son of Zeus, this one was a cunning trickster and moved easily between the divine and mortal worlds. To us, Hermes is what we as a brand want to be. We want to be a part of people’s journeys as they continue to strive to push the limits of creativity, travel, sports, art, literature, human performance and more.

Whatever you want to accomplish, Project Hermes is designed to support and encourage. Just as we did with Taylor’s dream, Project Hermes will allow dreamers to apply for funding, publicity, and general support as they chase that dream and conquer new challenges.

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