With 2014 drawing to an end and Interbike happening this week, the 2015 sponsorship hunt begins. I have been very fortunate to have some wonderful relationships with awesome people who make awesome product. Some of my sponsors have been with me for years and some have jumped on board this year. I have been humbled by their generosity.
Why, you ask, do I even bother? After all, I am a veterinarian and isn't that profession rolling in the dough? You would be surprised by how little a veterinarian makes compared to other medical professions. And just how expensive bike racing is. But I did not sign on because of the money; I did it because I love animals and wanted to be their voice.
And so each year since 2009, I have written proposals and submitted resumes. If sponsors come on board, then I spend a considerable amount of time writing reviews, blogging, FB'ing, and basically talking to cyclists why I use my sponsor's products and why they should as well. In doing so, I hope that I can give back to my sponsors. (Prior to submitting any sponsorhip proposal, I have purchased and used their product, ensuring that it is something that will work for me.)
My sponsorship mostly comes in the form of free and reduced product pricing. I don't make a living doing this; I just try to ease the financial burden a bit. I hope that the cycling industry realizes that athletes like me have just as much influence on pushing cyclists toward their product as the professional paid athletes do.
I can name several racers who have influenced my decisions on product. Rich got me hooked on the Awesome Strap from Backcountry Research. Erica made my taste buds and engine happy, happy, happy with the Rx Bar. Andrea led me to try GU Brew. Sarah has helped my legs be cramp free with Elete add-in electrolytes. And Danielle has made me CRAVE every new Twin 6 T that comes out. Curses you, Danielle!
I hope that have influenced some of you out there to try my sponsors' products. It is hard to quantify how much payback my sponsors get from me. If I have generated a "sale," next time just let them know.