when, avid mountain bike racer & former professional motorcycle racer, Rick Schopp asked USAT Coach Mary Ann Sedor (Coach MA) to “take a look at his stroke” since he was new to the sport of triathlon and struggling a bit with the swim. Coach MA accepted and as most epic stories go…”the rest was history”
Rick got better at swimming, Coach MA was doing her thing coaching athletes and training for her 2nd Ironman and the two started dating. MA introduced Rick into the epic world of endurance sports, Rick introduced MA into the fast world of bike racing and both of them introduced their families to each other. MA is the proud Momma of 5 kids (ages 27,26,25,23 & 19) and Rick is the proud Papi of 3 kids (ages 26, 16 & 14). Together they started blending their families, forming a strong partnership and in April, 2012 their “baby” INTENT, Inc. was born.
The INTENT Story starts in June of 2010...
“I was working at a number of different places coaching cycling & triathlon and we kept daydreaming about what we would do if we had our own coaching company”, recalls Coach MA when she reminisces about how the idea of INTENT was born. “One day, after yet another chat, one of us said...why don’t we start something together? And both of us looked at each other, smiled and said OK!” MA remembers feeling excited and nervous at the idea and then in what would prove to be a strong pattern in the story of INTENT, both of them jumped right in and got to work.
Both Rick and MA approach sport the same way and this became the foundation of how they wanted to coach athletes and form their company and community. They share the same passion for focused training and highly competitive racing but also neither of them take themselves too seriously. Coach Rick explains; “We train smart, go as hard as we can every time we race but check our egos each and every day”. We believe that when you understand why you do what you do, from why you are doing every workout to why you do any of this in the first place, that your experience gains depth and quality. We believe that when you do things “with intent”, everything is becomes more efficient, more enjoyable and the outcome is always the best as it can be”.
With the company established, Rick & MA started coaching athletes whenever and wherever they could. They held clinics in parks, open water swim lessons at local lakes and started coaching athletes individually to help them get ready for events. They also started to form their INTENT Community, got their first race kits designed and a few friends started “RACING WITH INTENT”.
Very quickly, the team grew and grew, more kits were being worn, flags and team tents were bought, more athletes were being coached and there was even the first INTENT Youth Triathlon Team training and racing. INTENT’s offerings and community were growing and the mission to “Train, Race & Live with INTENT was catching on.
In addition, while Rick & MA were busy coaching cyclists and triathletes, they simultaneously realized the importance of strength and mobility for all of the people they worked with each year. They began to see how poorly so many of their athletes moved, injuries were popping up and both of them became committed to adding functional strength coaching to their already strong menu of offerings. Because strength classes need a dedicated space and because their community of athletes needed a place to hang out, train & of course host the occasional party, Rick and MA decided to open their first INTENT Training Facility and the search for the right spot began.
The first INTENT Training Facility opened in February 2014 in Woodridge, IL. The winter months before were spent transforming a blank warehouse into the stylish, state of the art gym that it is today. Rick and MA’s 8 children, friends and athletes chipped in to build out the gym and cycling studio, paint the entire space and get it ready for everyone. The result is a gym that functional, warm and professional. The current offerings include a full schedule of strength classes, 6 Week Challenge Programs for new clients, Personal Training, Indoor Cycling Classes on Wahoo Kickr Trainers & of course some kick ass parties.
As all of this was happening, the most important part and Rick and MA’s favorite part of INTENT, Inc. kept growing and growing - their INTENT Community.
Fast forward to June 2018 and INTENT now has grown to over 100 athletes training and racing “with INTENT”, athletes all over the world being coached by INTENT Coaches, and the desire to expand the reach and offerings of the INTENT brand to more people.
As mentioned earlier, Rick and MA share the same willingness to say YES to opportunities for their business and their community and jump in and get to work. It was because of this shared trait that they said YES to opening their first INTENT Bike Shop & second.