It seems like 2019 has already been a rough year for injuries and unfortunately, the deaths of too many riders. Then we were all hit with the heavy news that another rider had passed away from a cycling accident. That rider was Intense Cycles COO and Product Director, Chad Peterson. Chad was a fiercely driven individual both on and off the bike who was a large part of Intense’s rebirth.
To celebrate Chad’s life, check out his Beyond the Bike video from Intense. Ride in peace, Chad.
The Intense family lost an invaluable member when Chad Peterson passed away from injuries sustained in a bicycling accident on September 2, 2019 near Ortega Highway in California.
Peterson was a most avid cyclist with a passion for mountain biking largely unmatched. He consistently woke up at 4:00 am on workdays to ride, regularly logging 20+ hours a week on the bike. Consistent rides were part of his lifestyle and passion but also his work as he combined his early morning workouts with new product and prototype testing. His arrival at Intense met the arrival of carbon in the company’s lineup and his expertise in sourcing and managing supplier relations was instrumental in the company’s success with advanced materials.
Peterson’s love for cycling and dedication to on-the-bike miles helped Intense produce and perfect many products including the Sniper—one of their most popular models. The aggressive XC bike was released in March 2018 after nearly three years in development and in conjunction with the notorious “Chad Challenge”—a program to challenge riders to match or beat the number of miles and elevation Chad rode in one month. Peterson racked up 1,075 miles and 132,167 feet of elevation gain during the challenge.
Peterson’s passion for cycling was matched by his pursuit for career professionalism and a knack for mastering the product from production design to delivery on the dealership floor.
His extensive experience in the cycling space started as a shop mechanic out of college near his West Virginia hometown. Next, he worked for Cannondale starting as Coordinate Measuring Machine Programmer, moving to Senior Purchasing Agent, and then to Product Management over eight years. After leaving the bicycle industry for a short time as Product Developer at iconic outdoor brand Patagonia, Peterson returned to two wheels as a Bag Product Developer at Brooks England, and then holding Director roles at SR Group, which holds major bicycling brands Crankbrothers, Selle Royal, Brooks Saddles, and Fizik.
Nearly six years ago, Peterson made his move to Intense and immediately fit into his role as the lead for global development and production operations. His expertise in long-term and strategic product line planning and product development process management was profound. His dedication to factory correspondence led him to consistently ignore sleep and there was no project he wouldn’t tackle. His calm demeanor and communication to staff led to a most efficient and respectable working relationship for all.
Despite his professional success and dependability, Peterson’s proudest accomplishments had nothing to do with cycling. His heart and soul were committed entirely to his wife Njani of 20 years and their two sons Kahlil (age 18 ) and Maceo (age 11). His oldest son, Kahlil is currently an active recruit in the U.S. Marines Corp —filling Peterson with immense pride. Raising his children and being a great husband was his personal definition of success.
“Chad’s strong spirit will live on in our memories,” stated Jeff Steber, Intense founder and CEO.“He lived his life Intense and his drive for cycling inspired the majority of the bikes created since his arrival. There is no person that represents Intense For Life in a better way than Chad has. He felt like our Superman here—always invincible—and his passing will continue to not seem real.”
“It’s all OK in the end. If it is not OK, it is not the end” – Chad Peterson’s favorite quote