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Old 05-09-09, 09:47 AM   #1
cslone
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Who's started their own team?

A friend of mine(seriously, a friend) has some issues with his(our) team and was talking to me the other day about starting his own team. He wants pretty lax rules, no bike requirements, Cat 3 or higher no politics bs and just race. He feels with these requirements, a successful team should be relatively "easy". I am a cynic and think that starting your own successful team would be hard as hell. I don't have the experience to know what else goes on behind the scenes, but I told him that I think there's more to it than just getting a group of guys together and racing. In theory it sounds all well and good, but I think it will be much more time consuming than he thinks.

So, for those of you who have started your own team or been a part of the process; what behind the scenes things need to be accounted for? Non-profit registration, hoops with USA Cycling, etc? What barriers did you run into and finally, would you do it again(start your own team)?
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Old 05-09-09, 12:02 PM   #2
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Starting a team is not a big deal. You don't need to be any organization, just pay $150 to become official (USAC). You don't even have to be a licensed racer, you can just become an organization type member (team or promoter).

Really the only requirement is to hold a race. You can piggy back on another permit (if the promoter lets you) but there is a limit I think of two teams per permit (it used to be sort of unlimited). The intent is to have you hold a race so there are more races in general.

You'll probably want to order kits. That means choosing a clothing company, figuring out a design, and dealing with money over time (i.e. due dates). All of that gets to be a pain. A dictatorship is much easier but it can beget ugly kits and disgruntled team wearers.

After that you can make it as simple or as complex as you want. Rules, rides, etc.

I've officially had a team, on and off, for a while. I've been responsible for paying the club fee for about 15 years, and it existed as a separate entity for another 5 years before that. For some time we had a lot of group rides, lots of racers. Then, for many years, it was just a holding place for ex-members living all over. CO, NM, CA, etc. Now it's a shell team - I pay the team fee to preserve the name. I don't know if there are officially any racers on the team.

Name of the team? Carpe Diem Racing, of course.

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Old 05-09-09, 03:29 PM   #3
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really the hardest part about starting the collegiate team here was finding people to ride/race. If you've got that in the bag, really the other stuff is nothing. Put into it what you want to get out of it.
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Old 05-10-09, 09:47 AM   #4
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Talk to or email Mitch. I am sure he would be more than happy to talk about what he's been through.

Last edited by cat4ever; 05-10-09 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 05-10-09, 12:01 PM   #5
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A friend of mine(seriously, a friend) has some issues with his(our) team and was talking to me the other day about starting his own team. He wants pretty lax rules, no bike requirements, Cat 3 or higher no politics bs and just race. He feels with these requirements, a successful team should be relatively "easy". I am a cynic and think that starting your own successful team would be hard as hell. I don't have the experience to know what else goes on behind the scenes, but I told him that I think there's more to it than just getting a group of guys together and racing. In theory it sounds all well and good, but I think it will be much more time consuming than he thinks.
Well, I managed a team for 3-years (that I was on for 6), and I'll tell you while it's not technically difficult, it's A LOT of work.

1. holding a race to maintain USAC standing will be the most difficult part. It takes about $3-10k to put on a race depending on location, city-regulations, insurance, etc. You'll need to attract enough racers and entry-fees to cover your costs. Not to mention having 2-3k beforehand to front. And you're looking at about 500-1000 manhours of work to accomplish this race. Then you'll need to have enough volunteers to generate the required manhours to get everything done. Which comes up to the next part.

2. people's egos, politics and BS. Once you've amassed enough people to generate the required critical mass to put on a race (say at least 20-30 people minimum), the chances of everyone getting along gets slimmer and slimmer with larger numbers. Which gets into...

3. what kind of rules do you put in place to make the team-membership fair? Does everyone have to work the race to be on the team? How many hours? 10? 5? 20? What about you, the race-organizer who puts in 100-hrs in two-weeks to make this happen? What kind of compensation do you give the volunteers? Is it weighted towards hours volunteered? Or number of races done representing the team? Or based upon category? I'll tell you A LOT of cat1/2 rider will think they deserve a free ride. How would you make team-membership be fair to all involved with such a wide variation?

4. sponsorship, similar to putting on the race. It'll require a certain number of hours per year to promote the team, easily 100-300 hours. How do you divvy up the schwag?


One thing that'll determine the success of a team is to have all the above hashed-out in writing beforehand. That way anyone joining will get a handbook with all the rules and expectation spelled out. Nothing like getting hit out of left-field with, "Hey, put in 50-hours working that race", or "I won 20-races last year, I'm more valuable to you than Billy Bob". Trying to reconcile those things without a pre-determined criteria will be haphazard and you'll always end up pissing someone off no matter what you do.
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Old 05-10-09, 01:46 PM   #6
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www.thresholdcycling.com


Started up by a group of friends 5 months ago. Pretty smooth and tremendously fun to be part of team from its inception. I'm very proud to be a Threshold Teammate.

Sorry not to include more, but I-mah lazy.


-L
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Old 05-11-09, 12:51 PM   #7
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Thanks guys. I think the thought of organizing a race has put him over the top. That is a daunting task that is probably pretty thankless as it is.
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Old 05-11-09, 12:56 PM   #8
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If you don't have sponsors you don't have to organize a race...
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Old 05-11-09, 01:04 PM   #9
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Just do it.
Like CDR said, $150 to USAC and your official.
You could wear plain jerseys with the team intials embridered in some small spot.
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Old 05-11-09, 01:39 PM   #10
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Does it even matter to you guys if you are "official" ? Why not just register as unattached and buy some matching jerseys and bibs?
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Old 05-11-09, 03:55 PM   #11
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Does it even matter to you guys if you are "official" ? Why not just register as unattached and buy some matching jerseys and bibs?
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Old 05-12-09, 02:22 PM   #12
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If you don't have sponsors you don't have to organize a race...

Yeah but too many clubs out there act like everyone else and never even think about holding a race.

Heck, as an Alum, I help keep my collegiate team afloat and I don't know if the rules are the same for collegiate teams, but we sure as hell have sponsors and we sure as hell do NOT have the manpower to sponsor/organize a race. That's life.
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Old 05-12-09, 02:31 PM   #13
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Yeah but too many clubs out there act like everyone else and never even think about holding a race.

Heck, as an Alum, I help keep my collegiate team afloat and I don't know if the rules are the same for collegiate teams, but we sure as hell have sponsors and we sure as hell do NOT have the manpower to sponsor/organize a race. That's life.
Same with our collegiate team.
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Old 05-12-09, 03:40 PM   #14
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Our team just started out as a bunch of cat 1 2 3 guys that grew up together. One of them opened a shop. They piggybacked on another shop's permit in another state and that's all there was.

Then I joined.

I said,"so what is required?" he said,"you're cool. you can be in. Just buy a kit"

A month later I was asked to be team manager. I filed with USAC for $150. Done

We run a cross race every year anyway and that counts for the permit. We did the cross race with 2 guys.

We have no dues. Buy a kit. We scare off the slow. We don't give anyone any perks. We have a loose discount system. It's awesome.
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Old 05-12-09, 04:59 PM   #15
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Yeah but too many clubs out there act like everyone else and never even think about holding a race.

Heck, as an Alum, I help keep my collegiate team afloat and I don't know if the rules are the same for collegiate teams, but we sure as hell have sponsors and we sure as hell do NOT have the manpower to sponsor/organize a race. That's life.
No idea if the rules are different for collegiate teams, but USAC teams get suspended (or at least are supposed to) and can't renew if they don't put on a race.

Depending on the size of the race and prize list, multiple teams can put on and get credit for a race-- it's pretty common for smaller clubs to piggyback onto a bigger club's race and provide some volunteers and maybe round up some prize money.

We have a club that puts on most of the track races at the LA Velodrome and can help teams get credit if they provide prize money and volunteers without having to do the initial leg work.
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Old 05-12-09, 05:00 PM   #16
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We run a cross race every year anyway and that counts for the permit. We did the cross race with 2 guys.
Interesting. Is there any sort of requirement for the race or only that it existed?

Rob
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Old 05-12-09, 05:19 PM   #17
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Interesting. Is there any sort of requirement for the race or only that it existed?

Rob
There are tons of rules related to race organization. Cross races are easy because you don't need follow vehicles or road permits etc.
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Old 05-12-09, 05:45 PM   #18
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I've built something like ten different teams over the last dozen years not including composite teams.

In the beginning it is pretty easy to get the basics done. Kit is BY FAR the biggest PITA every year.

Once you throw in sponsors (and the hunt for those sponsors) things get more complicated.

I let egos walk every time. No good comes from having a prima dona around unless you are all drawing a paycheck.

Once you start to include travel to events, hotels, cars, designated 'team' equipment things ramp up another notch.

Writing proposals, managing a budget, shopping the team for sponsors can be time consuming and thankless. You'd better love it.

Having said all that I have always been very proud of the teams I've created and the success of the riders (even after they moved on) that have been involved over the years. It really gives me a sense that I have given something back to the sport and that I was able to help younger riders on their way up, and some riders who were just decent people in it for the fun.

My suggestion would to be to go into it with your eyes open. Take it to what ever level you feel good about. If you don't enjoy it walk away at the end of the season and try again the following year or just be better for the experience.

Don't forget to post your kit designs so we can all critique the crap out of them.
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