I probably could have come up with a better headline. But its been something that has been on my mind for a while. How does sponsorship work? Its a good question. You see Cat 3 teams that have more backing than a legit World Cup woman. How does that happen? I have no idea. I have been around this rodeo for a while. In a past life this was my job. I built teams from scratch. I handled sponsorships for manufacturers. I got into race promotion and saw that side of it. The last 7 years back home though have really changed how I view it. And social media has blown it wide open. No doubt about that. For me how sponsorship works is very much about relationships and trust. For me the days of being swayed by some editor at a magazine to buy something are over. Long long over. And even before Lancegate or what ever we are calling the burning down of Euro-pro cycling the influence those pro riders had on me was about zero. And Rapha? Don't even get me going on Rapha. So you take out all the traditional key influencers and who are you left with?
Look at the picture above. Seriously. Love him or hate him when has any kid ever dressed up as a pro bike racer for a Halloween race? Mario Bros? Yeah sure. A ninja? Wolverine? Sure. But Myerson? That speaks volumes. Again love him or hate him that is how sponsorship works. Myerson has influenced a kid to dress up as him on Halloween. Rad. And Mini-Myerson is my hero. Cause he nailed it. Next would be Mo. And her lovely husband Matt. They get sponsorship. They give back so much to their sponsors and to the community its not even funny. If I owned a business I would sponsor them in a heart beat.
So why sponsor Mo? Because one she and Matt are key influencers. End of story right there. The one and only reason I am on SRAM Red right now is because they let me try one of Mo's bikes. The seed was planted. And its not like they were doing it to sell me anything. I needed a bike to go on a ride. Mo and I happen to have the exact same saddle height. So they lent me her bike. And we had an amazing day. Full disclosure they are my friends. But anyone who knows me knows I am or was a total campy freak. I wasn't leaving campy. Ever. But then I rode that SRAM Red and was blown away. So it was the gateway drug if you will. Again the main reason I am on TRP brakes other than that they are super sexy is that Matt and Mo love them, that Myerson likes them and that people I respect ride them. Ok maybe it was that Nys had a set of NEOX at a Superprestige before Shimano Europe saw them pistol whipped his mechanic and ripped them off his bike before the next race. I can't confirm that that happened but it has a nice Belgian Cross Mafia ring to it. So who do you trust? I trust the people who race and stand behind their gear.
The other piece of the puzzle for me is who shows my friends or cross the love. Seriously. If a company backs Mo I try my best to use that product. The list for me is long. Bob's Red Mill? Never really heard about them until Mo made Bob's Red Mill GF waffles at a World's Party. High & Mighty? I probably wouldn't have realized what great beer they made til the JAM Fundo or trying some at the Newbury team tent. So its changed for me. Used to be you would look at Velosnooze and see what the Pros were rocking and that would influence you. Now its about relationships. But that is a two way street. Its all wide open now. We are a community and we take care of each other. So you have to be really careful you can't toss your bike over the tape if it breaks. You can't go straight to the tubes if your shifter seizes and start bitching and moaning. Its just bad form.
I know that was kind of a ramble. But its one I think about all the time. I am not sure why I can't articulate it better. This cross season has been so different. For me every season has its own flavor this one is starting to be defined by the emergence of some Superfans. The heckling has always been there and I personally think the NECX heckles better than any other region. But what started up a bit at Canton blew up at Noho. Superfans with signs. So cool. This one is at the top of the ride up/run up at Canton. Starr Walker is holding up a 'stache superfan sign. I love that photo on some many levels.
The secret Hup bunker in Prague. Its guarded by a blanco Peacock. Unless you know the password its not going to go well for you. Peacocks are vicious, vicious creatures...
Keep this Mermaid in your thoughts the next couple of months ok. She is my hero. 100% badass. Such a style and flare. Tough as nails and the nicest and smartest kid I have ever met. And she has taught a whole legion of masters races the beauty of Spirit Animals, the power of rainbows and Unicorns.
Ice Weasels is fast approaching. The finals of the Zank SSCX series will go down on that day. We ordered some killer pint glasses that have been proven to make PBR taste like Dale's Pale Ale...or PBR to be extra refreshing....just depends on your point of view...