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How to: Help Aspiring Pro Cyclists?

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How to: Help Aspiring Pro Cyclists?

Old 05-20-17, 01:20 PM
  #1  
KyleSteel
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How to: Help Aspiring Pro Cyclists?

As you know, training to cycle professionally is SUPER tough. Balancing some sort of a job in addition to 15-20hrs of cycling + body work, turning down real jobs, saying 'no' to beers and weekend hangouts...AND the payoff in the US is pretty rough, even at the top.

It got me thinking: what if we could support aspiring cyclists by sharing in their story - WITHOUT a brand being the middleman?

And let's be honest, brands usually just pick the folks who are at the top anyways.

SO! If you could have access to aspiring professional cyclists directly, follow their journey, and ask questions about their training / races etc - would you donate to help them out?

If so: what would be most valuable to you? What would you want to know? Why would you support someone?

If not: why not?
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Old 05-20-17, 01:36 PM
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TimothyH
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Originally Posted by KyleSteel View Post
If not: why not?
Everyone makes their own choices in life and someone who turns down a job to become a pro athlete has made theirs. It's fine if someone else wants to donate but there are real charities more in need of the money.

I donate to a hospice for indigent cancer patients run by the Hawthorn Dominican Sisters, St. Vincent de Paul, etc. These serve people who didn't choose to be poor, homeless, sick and dying.


-Tim-
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Old 05-20-17, 02:12 PM
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Getting to the professional level of any sport, art, performing arts is tough. The ones who succeed have the talent and the guts to stick it out. Choices, as said above.
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Old 05-20-17, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Everyone makes their own choices in life and someone who turns down a job to become a pro athlete has made theirs. It's fine if someone else wants to donate but there are real charities more in need of the money.

I donate to a hospice for indigent cancer patients run by the Hawthorn Dominican Sisters, St. Vincent de Paul, etc. These serve people who didn't choose to be poor, homeless, sick and dying.


-Tim-
This is amazing feedback - and you make a very valid argument that also brings up an interesting point: donate is clearly the wrong word choice.

I was thinking more along the lines of how we spend our money in different ways, such cable TV, the internet, movies, eating out - all sorts of non-essential things, which is the category I would lump this into.
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Old 05-20-17, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveQ24 View Post
Getting to the professional level of any sport, art, performing arts is tough. The ones who succeed have the talent and the guts to stick it out. Choices, as said above.
Agree! And I'm not aiming to generate sympathy for them (we all have our hills to climb), but see if there's a win-win to support someone in return for insight into their journey, training, mindset, etc.

No one succeeds alone, whatever the medium.
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Old 05-20-17, 07:59 PM
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Many cyclists get sponsorship as they make their way up through the ranks. It starts with club discounts at the LBS ... and if you're good, you might score jerseys, maintenance, even a bicycle. Keep working at it, and you'll start to get other sponsorships.
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Old 05-20-17, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by KyleSteel View Post
This is amazing feedback - and you make a very valid argument that also brings up an interesting point: donate is clearly the wrong word choice.

I was thinking more along the lines of how we spend our money in different ways, such cable TV, the internet, movies, eating out - all sorts of non-essential things, which is the category I would lump this into.
I understand your point and am not trying to put down anyone who wants to provide private assistance to an aspiring athlete. That is entirely a private matter and anyone is free to do so.

Personally, I have no need of access to such an athlete. It would not enhance my life at all.

But your point is well taken about how we spend our money. Someone brought up NetFlix on the forums, that it is over $100/year for a basic subscription. Google Music, Starbucks, leaving the lights on when no one is in the room... If someone has disposable income and wants to spend it on access to an athlete it is their own business.

People spend lots of money on much worse things every day. It certainly isn't hurting anyone.


-Tim-
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Old 05-23-17, 12:34 PM
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Kyle, no matter how much we'd like to believe otherwise, true altruism does not exist. This world is about give and take. With that in mind, why would you want to eliminate the brand as a middleman? Generally speaking, you need support, and they need to reduce taxable income. Take advantage where that is available, and don't assume those "brands" must be cycling related. Also know, the life of a pro cyclist is far from glamorous. If you love to ride, do it for that reason and as you get better, what will come will come. As a retired pro mountain biker, I never made much money and never aspired to. I was just fortunate not to have to spend my own money on a hobby that I loved. Good luck.
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Old 05-23-17, 01:01 PM
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When they where kids the training of the tennis players Thomas Haas and his sister was partially funded by "sponsors". In return the sponsors where promised 15% of all the prize money until 2004. I think such a system can only work in sports with huge earning potential.
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Old 05-23-17, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by KyleSteel View Post
If not: why not?
What's the value proposition? I get nothing.
I have no reason to give money to someone so they can go biking.
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Old 05-24-17, 08:21 AM
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Riding a bicycle makes me no more interested in professional cycling, than driving a car makes me interested in auto racing.
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Old 05-24-17, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Semipedersen View Post
When they where kids the training of the tennis players Thomas Haas and his sister was partially funded by "sponsors". In return the sponsors where promised 15% of all the prize money until 2004. I think such a system can only work in sports with huge earning potential.
Maybe it's just a matter of scale. Smaller investments, less risk, may be reasonable for lower earning potential. If an aspiring pro has proven his talent competitively, would it be possible to crowd-fund him with something like gofundme or kickstart, but in exchange for shares of future earnings?
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Old 05-24-17, 04:56 PM
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As a former racer who managed to balance work and cycling (for a time), I didn't need any outside financial help. My love of cycling, and the rush I got from racing motivated me to find the time to train, and look for the opportunities to race.

I used to work in law enforcement (in a major city), putting in all the overtime I could get, usually working 6 days a week. I started cycling as a way to work off the stress of the job. I forced myself to get out of bed before 6 each morning, and to ride for 60 minutes. On my day off, I would ride for three or four hours.

I didn't know it at the time, but I had a competitive streak in me. Whenever I was passed by another rider, I felt somewhat offended. This caused to ride harder.

Eventually I joined a local group ride, being invited by the owner of a bike shop were I bought equipment. I was a little intimidated at first, but before the ride was half way over, I was having fun. I joined the group ride every weekend, and began to make friends. Group rides are often competitive, and I rode hard to always stay in the front.

In time, I learned of a faster ride in another city, and joined it. Most of the riders were wannabe racers, and a few were real racers. These guys were fast, aggressive, and pushy, and I fit right in with them. I stopped working overtime, which gave me a couple more hours to ride each day, and two days off each weak. I spent all of my extra time riding. As a single man who was dating a serious triathlete, there was little to hold me back, or keep me off my bike.

I made a lot of friends on my rides (cycling, like other disciplines also follows the principle "it's not what you know but who you know"), and was invited by a couple of my new friends to take part in a race the next month. I finished second in the race, and like someone who wins a few dollars in a slot machine in Vegas, I became hooked. I got a license from USA cycling, and began entering events.

I was invited to join a local team, and we performed very well, with a couple riders eventually moving up into the pro ranks. Unfortunately for myself, though I was a strong rider, I was not as young as most of my teammates, and any career I might make in pro cycling would be a short one.

As luck would have it, I met a couple of pro riders from Europe who were wintering in my state, and we enjoyed some rides together. We had good chemistry, and worked well with each other, and they said that they knew of a team where there was a place for a rider like me (whatever that meant). I took a long leave of absence from my job, and moved to Europe. I was given the spot on the team (kind of a minor-league team which was used to sift out talent), and I spent one season racing with them.

I was not a bad rider, but at 29 there was little hope of moving into the pro ranks. I had never worked so hard in my life (and I went through Ranger training in the Army). But I enjoyed every moment of it. My greatest regret is that I hadn't started 10 years earlier. It was an interesting year to be racing in Europe, as it was the year of the Festina scandal. My season was cut a little short as I had a rather hard crash in a sprint (I have a rather spectacular scar on my right shoulder as a souvenir).

I don't see financial help for aspiring racers as being very helpful, because being funded may remove a bit of the motivation necessary to be a top-level rider. If you really love the sport, and are very good at it, you will find a way to be part of it.
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Old 05-24-17, 05:17 PM
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If you want to support aspiring racers, then the best way would be to sponsor a local team that supports juniors.
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