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  1. #1
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    Getting Sponsored

    What's involved? I've been racing since '01, but in '08 I started getting more serious about it and ended up wining the local area EFTA (www.efta.com) race series for Senior 1 expert, and did it again this year. In Root 66 races I have raced as Cat 2, only because I didn't get a Cat 1 license this year. I did the Root 66 Landmine Classic with over 400 riders and had the fastest time of all sports, and a time that would have put me about 3rd for my age group in Cat1. I am by no means as fast as the semi-pros, but I would say a competitive Cat 1 level rider. It seems to me that the majority of Cat 1ers have some sort of sponsorship or team that they ride for...my question is: how do I go about trying to get some sort of sponsorship or join a team?
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  2. #2
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    If you're any good at anything in life sooner or later people will notice.

    but it doesn't hurt to be proactive. There must be some kind of local team or club you can join or maybe a local store will give you some kind of sponsorship. Ask the guys you ride/race with what they have happening.

  3. #3
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    Many bike makers have grassworks programs for good racers AND riders who are ambassadors for the sport and do things to help others, like trail work, lead riders, etc. A bike shop team is a good way to get introduced to this next step of sponsorship. IF has a really good program, but you need to have been an expert for a minimum of two years. Staying in the New England area, Bikeman seems to have a far reaching team (they are in Maine and I know of two team riders here in PA) - -anyhoo, they seem to have a good support program from Salsa and would be a good stepping stone. You may have a few good teams in your area too.

    If you are talking industry support, I would think you need to have a stop between where you are now and where you want to be.

    What type of program, if any, are you involved with now?
    Thanks to www.weavercycleworks.com for my awesome bike frames!

  4. #4
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    gt has something called the dirt coalition. i did it this year and it was awesome. im trying to get some more sponsors for the upcoming year too because i think i did pretty good this year. ive been going on bike company websites and blog type sites. but many companies have a sponsorship tab you can click on- i just sent in some stuff to kenda and pricepoint. i would go to a bike shop though. i found out about a lot of things by working in a bike shop and just talking with the people. but it never hurts to ask bike shops and email brands you may want to be sponsored by and tell them what you could do for them (races, advocacy etc) and what you would want in return (do you want a free bike or do you just want some stickers and free tires). good luck!

  5. #5
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    In my area we have lots of shop teams and other club type teams. I'm on a club based team with a shop sponsor (does that make sense?) I race in the same series as Manicmtbr and there are A LOT of teams to choose from. You can pretty much walk into any shop and ask about being on a team, or they will at least know where to point you.

    If you are winning Expert Senior 1 then you are FAST! I'm surprised you haven't looked into teams already. Factory teams usually require a resume consisting of an extensive expert (or better) racing background.

    <----Hack of a Sport Senior 1 rider who has frustratingly just missed podium a few times.

  6. #6
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    i feel your pain 88 rex- i hack that hack often.

    anyway, just be assertive and ask shops and see what benefits their teams get. at my shop you get a discount on parts and labor and you can be at our tent and use our tools and eat our food/beer at races. you have to buy a $175 kit though. if you ride in expert you should be able to get sponsorships no problem if you ask around. your probably better than me (im a pretty good sport rider) but ive managed to get my name out there and hope someone wants to give me a minor sponsorship this year to keep me motivated.

  7. #7
    CB2
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    Fred, you did good at Landmine. Not quite as good at Trail of Two Lakes
    Locally your best bet is to join a club and see what kind of discount that will afford you.
    You should compare your time to all the CAT1's and not just to the 19-29 y/o's; the 30-39's and 40-49's are faster.
    Last edited by CB2; 10-24-2009 at 02:07 PM.

  8. #8
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    I'm not sponsored so take with a grain of salt. Put yourself in the sponsor's shoes. They are looking to sell their business. Can you do that? What product do you really use and like? Do your fellow racers follow your example/recommendation? Your race record just backs up your ability to sell the business.
    Oh sh!+ just force upgraded to cat1. Now what?
    Best thing about an ultra marathon? I just get to ride my bike for X hours!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2
    CAT1's and not just to the 19-29 y/o's; the 30-39's and 40-49's are faster.

    The FASTEST group is typically 19-29 AND in the MASS the Expert Senior is 19-34.

  10. #10
    CB2
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    Quote Originally Posted by 88 rex
    The FASTEST group is typically 19-29 AND in the MASS the Expert Senior is 19-34.
    He's racing in the Root 66 series. Check the results.
    Also, snooping a little deeper on a rainy afternoon, it looks likes Fred only raced twice in the Root 66 series this season.

  11. #11
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    More grains of salt

    Congratulations on your results.

    I'm helping someone here with translation on their race prospectus.
    Basically, she began right before Interbike by emailing it and following up. She's won tons of 24h, marathons and xc here in Portugal, but we don't have as well developed a system, so she is looking to go Stateside.
    From personal experience, there are quite a few manufacturers willing to give product. It is harder to get an audience for frames, higher end forks,etc. without either a resume of results, cool projects/races in the future or both.

  12. #12
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    Most teams would be looking for a minimum commitment greater than 2 races, so keep that in mind when looking for a team.
    Last edited by Manicmtbr; 10-24-2009 at 05:05 PM.
    Thanks to www.weavercycleworks.com for my awesome bike frames!

  13. #13
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    I race for Monster Energy. Apparently, all I had to do was sell my soul to the devil.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2
    Fred, you did good at Landmine. Not quite as good at Trail of Two Lakes
    Locally your best bet is to join a club and see what kind of discount that will afford you.
    You should compare your time to all the CAT1's and not just to the 19-29 y/o's; the 30-39's and 40-49's are faster.
    Hey Charlie, it's funny you say that, because I kinda felt better with my time at Mt Snow, compared to Landmine - probably because, if you extrapolate my time for 3 laps, I'm not as far back from the pros as I was in Landmine. I think my strong suit is climbing, which Landmine didn't really have any of - but on the flip side, I know I could have made up a couple minutes on the downhillls at Mt Snow.

    Regardless, I guess my question just stems from seeing race results posted and team names being listed next to almost every rider that I'm racing against. I have no delusions of becoming a full-time pro or making any money at this, but I'd like to have a cool team kit to wear (getting a discount on stuff wouldn't hurt either)!
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2
    He's racing in the Root 66 series. Check the results.
    Also, snooping a little deeper on a rainy afternoon, it looks likes Fred only raced twice in the Root 66 series this season.
    I actually did the first race of the Root 66 series, Hopbrook Dam, but due to a results snafu was listed as 'no name' in the Cat 1 results. Mid pack result...I was still getting my legs back after a long winter.
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  16. #16
    CB2
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    Quote Originally Posted by XCFred
    I actually did the first race of the Root 66 series, Hopbrook Dam, but due to a results snafu was listed as 'no name' in the Cat 1 results. Mid pack result...I was still getting my legs back after a long winter.
    That was my worst race of the season too. I'd say the weather really set the tone for the rest of the season though!
    How'd you get to race the first race Cat1, and then the last two as a Cat2?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB2
    That was my worst race of the season too. I'd say the weather really set the tone for the rest of the season though!
    How'd you get to race the first race Cat1, and then the last two as a Cat2?
    I, um, started w. the wrong group. That day was a cluster from beginning to end. I pre-registered as a Cat 1, then found out at the race that you can't race Cat 1 w/ a one day license, but they agreed to let me go off w/ the Cat 1s, they just said my result wouldn't be official. Racing Cat 2 wasn't an option as I had given a ride to my Cat 1 friend and he couldn't wait around for me to do the Cat 2 race at 1:30...
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  18. #18
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    I think it's much easier to attract sponsors if your part of a team. Companies are more willing to give team deals if you put their name/logo on a kit and then have a big presence at high profile races.

  19. #19
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    I was formally sponored by Fort Frames when Gregg Dion was the owner. Here is a cut and paste of a FAQ from the Fort website: (NOTE: Fort no longer offers MTB frames in the US market, so while the materiel is good IMO, it is not really valid for a MTB racer).

    5. "Do you offer sponsorships?"

    Yes, definitely. However, sponsoring is more complicated than most people realize. And we have some expectations of sponsorees. You should carefully consider what exactly you are seeking when you contact us or any company about sponsorships, and be honest about your qualifications. Believe it or not, your racing results are not the determining factor in most cases. We are more impressed by the number of events in which you participate and the way you present yourself and represent our product.
    But in recent years, we have been more interested in sponsoring clubs and teams than individuals. This is a trend thoughout the sport. Some teams out there do an excellent job of preparing a sponsorship prospectus, describing their team's organization in detail: the bottom line seems to be that when you present yourself well, your club or team sponsorship request carries a lot more weight. An amateur team which demonstates professionalism in their organization and their activities is most attractive to sponsors.
    Please email to "info@fortbicycles.com" for more information about sponsoring.

    The biggest role I had on the team was to pit for the Elite Cyclocross riders, but Gregg and I built a great relationship that still stands today, even though he sold the business over two years ago. The biggest reason riding for Fort was good for me was the relationship and teamwork we had and I always wanted to be in a position to help him out as my sponsor. It was the best two years of my racing career and I hope to one day be back in a similiar position with a bike sponsor.
    Thanks to www.weavercycleworks.com for my awesome bike frames!

  20. #20
    CB2
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    Quote Originally Posted by XCFred

    Regardless, I guess my question just stems from seeing race results posted and team names being listed next to almost every rider that I'm racing against. I have no delusions of becoming a full-time pro or making any money at this, but I'd like to have a cool team kit to wear (getting a discount on stuff wouldn't hurt either)!
    99% of the people with team names listed are members of clubs (excluding the Pros). You buy the team kit and get a discount on gear. Ask around at your local shops.
    This past year my company sponsored me so I could write off entry fees, parts (bike's got to work if you want to represent) and travel expenses.

    My math was off on Trail of Two Lakes as well. If you maintained the same pace for lap 3 as you did the first two, you would have been right up there in the 19-29.

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