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  1. #1
    Senior Member JasonCarp's Avatar
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    Crew/money assembly for long distance cycling races

    For two years now, I have been fascinated following the Race Around Ireland. I love the black box website that tracks this. After being competitive this summer with duathlons, I decided next year I want to try long distance cycling. I will start with the National 24 hour Challenge which is close to my hometown.

    I have a long term goal to work up to Races like RAI and RAAM. I would like to start now to plan for the next 2-5 years to get sponsors and a crew together. (Would welcome the opportunity to ride on a team in some of these events as well.) I have no inkling on how to go about doing this. Does anyone know any resources for this? Do sponsorships cover the cost of travel, bikes, chase vehicles? Would love some insight on this.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Sponsorships are difficult to come by. You need to realize that companies are not in the business of just giving money away. They want exposure for their products. Do you know how you're going to provide that for your potential sponsors. They are much more receptive to racers who come to them with something like a business plan. You need to have a cycling resume that highlights your past accomplishments and knowing the "right" people helps a whole lot. You'll want to send out your resume package to targeted companies in the Oct-Nov time frame. Most companies set up their sponsorship packages for the next year in that time range. Make sure you know what you are asking for as well. Most companies are much more willing to give free or discounted products rather than cash. Cash is really hard to come by!

    Racing long distance races are expensive. I can tell you that the budget for my last RAAM team was over $40k. Some of that was covered by sponsors and some of it was covered out of the riders pockets. Some teams have bigger budgets and others have smaller. The first year I did RAAM we spent something over $25k and all of it was out of our pockets. We had no sponsors at all that year. If you mind your pennies you can probably get by cheaper.

    Getting crew is a little easier. You can get them just about anywhere. Teachers and college students make excellent crew, even if they don't ride bikes. We've gotten crew off of craigs list and recruited off of college campuses. Like anything with RAAM you never know how anyone (rider or crew) will handle the stress until they get into the situation. Probably one of your most important choices is the crew chief. Crew can't win the race for you but they can certainly loss it for you!
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  3. #3
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Note that some of the races don't require crew (particularly, a following car)- so you can get some experience at long-distance racing without a lot of crew. I don't know about the race you mention, but the Texas Time Trials and Sebring can both be done without a follow-car. It still helps to have one or more people watching out for you, getting bottles mixed, waking you up if you sleep, etc.

    My first involvement with ultraracing was as a volunteer at one. That can be very informative, lets you meet some people, and if you're willing to spend some time to help others, that can come around to your favor, also. Crewing for somebody else would likely be very educational.

    Some of the local (good) riders are helpful and friendly, others are not. When you see fat old people out riding or competing, treat them well, that might be your crewperson some day.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  4. #4
    Senior Member JasonCarp's Avatar
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    All good stuff, thanks for your thoughts. For bigger races like RAAM, how many crew members do your run with? I assume some jack of all trade guys are good to have, but what positions do they hold? Nutritionist? Navigator? Mechanic? Masseuse? Those are 4 people I feel I would want with me out there.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonCarp View Post
    All good stuff, thanks for your thoughts. For bigger races like RAAM, how many crew members do your run with? I assume some jack of all trade guys are good to have, but what positions do they hold? Nutritionist? Navigator? Mechanic? Masseuse? Those are 4 people I feel I would want with me out there.
    You should have your nutrition down before you even start something like RAAM. I suppose it wouldn't work to have one along but I've never used one. A good mechanic and masseuse are worth their weight in gold and second to a good crew chief. Minimum crew depends on how many vehicles you have. You need at least three crew in each vehicle for an eight hour shift and three sleeping. So roughly six per vehicle. If you use a motorhome you can get away with less because you can rotate people around so that you always have one group sleeping.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

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