BRO Athletes: Behind the Logos

first_imgFitting together the sponsorship puzzle is something that I get a lot of personal questions about. In an age of social media built around constructed personas its impossible to separate an individual from the “brand” he or she has made for themselves. We all have one; even if its all cat videos and breakfast selfies, and being sensitive to this is the first big step in positioning yourself for sponsorship. Being aware of the brand of YOU is being aware how the world sees you.Every rider’s progression or development follows a different path. But the pressure to perform is nearly universal. It’s pretty common to hear “serious riders” (you know who you are) expressing their perception that their sponsorship hinges upon wins, upon podiums, and upon results. Repping product on social media, stickers on top tubes and handlebars, heck even socks are ad space for the rider who views his or her results as what keeps their races paid for, their gu’s discounted, or their socks fresh. The rider who brings his bike with him on the podium represents an intense level of pride in not only her accomplishment but also the equipment she used to get there. For the riders who structure their lives around racing any result is fuel to get them back out on the bike Monday morning; pushing harder and riding faster.The truth, strangely enough, is that the folks buying the Gu’s typically have a much broader goal than podiums or trending hashtags. They’re never heard saying that their participation in the sport is genuinely dependent on results. The sponsors who are invested financially or otherwise in cycling do it for their own passions the vast majority of the time. While there are exceptions where sponsorship is genuinely mere ad space, they are very rare. Cycling support certainly informs spending choices in our family its a big jump to say that affects the bottom line of a major sponsor, especially in the microcosm of the cycling world. The jerseys you see on top racers and professional cyclists these days are often backed by a smiling face in a team car who cares deeply not only for the success of the body inside that jersey, but also about the health of cycling in general. Those involved on all sides of cycling today do so out of passion. Passion for human endeavor, passion for the journeys we all take, and a genuine belief in the bike as a catalyst for personal and fundamental change. Behind the scenes the podiums are merely a celebration of the success of cycling, not just the achievement of the rider.24 Hours in the Old Pueblo 2016 I came onto the cycling scene reading gear reviews in my sister’s back issues of Mountain Bike Magazine or Zapata Espinoza’s editorials in Mountain Bike Action of the latest product which would barely be safe to ride these days! An era where super teams like Volvo-Cannondale or Trek-VW dominated the sponsorship landscape. Where Ned Overend’s lanky profile graced the backlit plastic billboard of the Mountain Dew dispenser at the corner store. I grew up wondering how I’d get into that world. How could I as a chubby kid from a town few had heard of at the time get to where The Lung (as Ned is still called) stood lit in green and red.My time in the industry began at a local bike shop in that little town; shop-ratting my way to a free kit at said shop. Having access to pro-deals from said shop were a big step, and one which most of the sponsorship world is still based off of. As an employee of a shop I was already heads and tails above the shop’s few “sponsored” riders; who all got a tidy little shop discount and access to regular promotional discounts. For most every bike “race team” was a gray area for the shop as it was hard to connect the dots between margin gained through sponsorship and margin lost to team riders. It takes a shop who genuinely values their racing community to subsidize it. So value your local shops who support racing. Prodeals hooked it up in place of sponsorship for a long time for me. SM100 chillThe next step in my progression I remember thinking that race results would open the doors of those awesome red Trek VW Golfs I saw my heroes pull up in. That if I just got on the top box all the big names would come knocking. As if my phone number was on the back of the jersey with a sub-line of “call me!” Nevertheless I spent a year lighting up the highways pursuing a pro mtb license. The numbers game of getting a pro mtb license meant a lot of travel, a lot of hitting the road early and crashing in a field, waiting for your 90 minutes of lactate threshold effort which MIGHT yield a free tire and a few NORBA/USCF (Now USA Cycling) points. I spent 42 weekends of the year away from home that year. I even raced the morning of my sister’s wedding to warnings of “don’t you dare come back damaged!” And after a Pro upgrade and some of the fastest fast twitch I’ve ever had the phone still didn’t ring. I had to radically change my perception of what made me worthwihle as a rider in order to make any headway in the world of supported riding and racing. I had earned some support from a grassroots program run by Gary Fisher and Trek but each year that deal was changing and the dynamic didn’t always feel like pro ball. 2011 was an Olympic year and in Olympic years the sponsorship paradigm shifts a lot to provide as much support as possible to athletes who have a shot to attend the biggest bike game there is. As a result I did get a phone call from Trek: “Sorry dude, we are cutting everybody.” If you didn’t have a shot at the Olympic Village, you didn’t have much to work with. Fortunately another phone call came shortly after that—a phone call I still tell folks about today and one I’m excited about every year its come since.What then are sponsors paying for? They are paying for association with positive individuals. To gain brand recognition not only with quality legs and podium time; but also quality character. When Roger Masse asks Tinker Juarez what tire he’s running he expects; and receives, a genuine answer. Suddenly the tire brand Tinker is riding is more than just a good option out of a batch of good options, its now THE option. And that’s worth a lot more than any billboard or ad in MTB Action. And the more that happens the more any brand grows, and grows in the right ways.  When racing for Fisher and Trek I had developed a little bit of a side passion. I had built a singlespeed mountain bike in college because a meager college student budget couldn’t afford a second training bike. It was equal parts classic and miserable; a steel singlespeed cobbled together from parts laying around or bartered for. That bike rode terribly and seldom worked as intended. On this singlespeed though I had started to make friends. Make a reputation for being all the right kinds of rowdy. Loud and proud at 2 A.M. in the pits of a 24 hour race. Bright eyed and bushy tailed on the start line as the “pain train” pulled out of the station. These things brought the sponsorship phone call that I stoke on. A friend had opened a bike shop and wanted to put together the best team VA had seen in a long while. That year we had 3 of the 5 pro MTB licenses in Virginia. It was stoke worthy. And this stoke, this excitement, this enthusiasm and being recognized FOR it is what’s brought me here today. At least I think so! I try to be someone who cherishes the world around him. Who recognizes that every rider, every person is on their own journey. That each pair of legs that crosses the finish line has a story equally as awesome as mine; most often more awesome than mine! I am a lucky and blessed man because I have financial and family support which matches my appetite for self challenge, for adventure, and for making the world a better, more positive place, one pedal stroke at a time. I continue to ride for Blue Ridge Cyclery today because we share the principle that life is better with a bike. That passion for the outdoors, for family, and a vision of a cleaner, healthier, and more informed world can all be better experienced and actualized with a bicycle. We share dreams. What makes me sponsor-able by them and others isn’t that I’ve won races; though that airtime and facetime helps, its the alignment with a positive force in the world. I’ve also been blessed to work with Pivot Cycles, Industry Nine, Ridge Supply, Starlight Apparel, Handup Gloves, Wolftooth Components, Endless Bike Co and a huge variety of other brands who’s faces I know, who’s hands I’ve shook, and who I feel honored to represent in my capacity as a smiling face and strong legs. In putting together the sponsorship puzzle I’ve aligned myself with not only brands and products I WANT to use, but ones I am excited to use. Behind the logos and product pages are good people. People who care as deeply as I do about promoting cycling, healthy lifestyles.Our BRO athlete stories are brought to you by: BROAthleteBannerAdThe Hub and Pisgah Tavern, Crozet Running, Bold Rock Cidery, and Blue Ridge Cyclery.More from our BRO Athlete Team:last_img read more

Dodgers rally back after rough start, sweep series in Colorado

first_img“We talk about it all the time – no matter how far you’re down, keep playing because it’s easy to climb back into games. Same thing on the other side. No matter how many runs you’re up, you have to keep trying to add on because weird stuff happens in this park.”Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood had his start pushed back two days to give him more recovery time from a left adductor muscle that has hampered him recently. He said it was not a factor Sunday but he was wild from the start and made it through just two innings.“I just didn’t have much going,” Wood said. “I just wasn’t very good from the start.”Nine of the 15 Rockies batters Wood faced reached base including four of the first five. He gave up four singles, a two-run home run to Ian Desmond, walked the opposing pitcher, hit Trevor Story with a pitch with the bases loaded then followed that up with a bases-loaded walk of Desmond.“He just didn’t have it today. Just didn’t have command,” Roberts said. “He labored the first two innings. It was one of those things where you have to make a decision at that point whether you want to keep trying to bet on him when he was clearly off today and was already stressed the first two innings. So at that point in time we went to the bullpen.“They were the star of the series.”They have also been some of the hardest-working men in show biz. With Kenta Maeda’s injury-shortened start earlier in the week and a full nine innings of bullpen service on Friday, Dodgers relievers have pitched 38-1/3 innings over the past seven days – compared to 24-2/3 innings by starting pitchers.Roberts asked them to cover seven innings Sunday and they did it by allowing just one unearned run on three hits, walking none while striking out 10.“For us as hitters, we did our job of sticking with the plan and some things turned out for us,” Dodgers second baseman Logan Forsythe said. “But the bullpen coming in and shutting them down like that – all the credit goes to them.”The six-man relief relay gave the Dodgers time to enjoy the pleasures of hitting at Coors Field.Max Muncy woke up Saturday morning feeling light-headed. That was quickly joined by the shakes and vomiting.By Sunday, he was back to normal and making the Rockies starter Chad Bettis feel queasy. Muncy sparked the comeback with a solo home run in the second inning and a three-run homer in the third after battling Bettis for 11 pitches including five foul balls after he had two strikes on him.“That was a big moment for us. Kind of got us back in the game there,” said Muncy who is tied for the team lead in home runs (Matt Kemp,  nine).“You’re never out of the game here. … You can put up a lot of runs just like that. But early in the game, it kind of got us right back in the game so it was a big moment.”See — Muncy knew of Coors Field’s rules even though he had never played here before this weekend.The Dodgers took the lead with a three-run sixth that featured a double by Yasiel Puig, an RBI single by Forsythe and a two-run throwing error by Story – all after there were two outs. But the Dodgers made two errors in the seventh — one by reliever Brock Stewart and one by Forsythe on a simple ground ball that would have ended the inning – leading to the tying run.Two innings later, Forsythe started the winning rally with a leadoff double in the ninth off Wade Davis. Chris Taylor drew a one-out walk and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch.The go-ahead run scored when Turner dribbled a grounder back to the mound. Two more scored when Yasmani Grandal followed with a home run off Davis. DENVER – Coors Field is the only stadium in Major League Baseball that should come with its own warning label.CAUTION: No lead is safe. May be hazardous to your bullpen.The Dodgers spent the weekend reminding the home team of the hazards inherent in playing baseball a mile high. Sunday afternoon, they spotted the Colorado Rockies a five-run head start in the first two innings, came back twice including a three-run ninth inning that gave them a 10-7 win and competed their first series sweep at Coors Field since September  2010. PreviousLos Angeles Dodgers’ Yasmani Grandal circles the bases after hitting a two-run home run off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Wade Davis in the ninth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Logan Forsythe,left, applies a late tag as Colorado Rockies’ Trevor Story slides safely into second base with a double as second base umpire Gerry Davis, back right, looks on in the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Muncy, right, smiles as he heads back to the dugout with Matt Kemp after hitting a three-run home run off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Chad Bettis in the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsLos Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp, right, congratulates Max Muncy on his three-run home run off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Chad Bettis in the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Muncy follows the flight of his three-run home run off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Chad Bettis in the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Muncy follows through with his swing after connecting for a three-run home run off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Chad Bettis in the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Max Muncy, center, is congratulated as he returns to the dugout after hitting a solo hoe run off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Chad Bettis in the second inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Colorado Rockies first baseman Ian Desmond circles the bases after hitting a two-run home run off Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Autograph seekers hold out items to sign as Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner heads to the dugout in the first inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood reacts after giving up a two-run home run to Colorado Rockies’ Ian Desmond in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers left fielder Joc Pederson catches a fly ball off the bat of Colorado Rockies’ Noel Cuevas in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Colorado Rockies’ Ian Desmond follows the flight of his two-run home run off Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Matt Kemp, right, heads back to the dugout after conferring with home plate umpire Mark Carlson following Kemp’s strike out against Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Chad Bettis in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood delivers to Colorado Rockies’ DJ LeMahieu in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor follows the flight of his single off Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Chad Bettis in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Chad Bettis delivers to Los Angeles Dodgers’ Chris Taylor in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, front left, congratulates relief pitcher Yimi Garcia, front right, who leaves the mound after retiring Colorado Rockies’ Noel Cuevas in the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, back left, confers with catcher Yasmani Grandal. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Logan Forsythe, left, is congratulated by Enrique Hernandez after they scored on a ground ball hit by pinch-hitter Breyvic Valera off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Scott Oberg in the sixth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. Rockies shortstop Trevor Story was charged with a throwing error on the play. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Max Muncy, back left, misses a pickoff throw from relief pitcher Brock Stewart, front, as Colorado Rockies’ Nolan Arenado remains on first base in the seventh inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. Arenado did advance to third base and scored on a ground ball hit by Ian Desmond that was mishandled by Dodgers second baseman Logan Forsythe. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig reacts after striking out against Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Jake McGee in the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasmani Grandal follows through with his swing after connecting for a two-run home run off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Wade Davis in the ninth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasmani Grandal circles the bases after hitting a two-run home run off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Wade Davis in the ninth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen delivers to Colorado Rockies’ Nolan Arenado in the ninth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers on-deck hitter Austin Barnes, right, congratulates Yasmani Grandal who returns to the dugout after hitting a two-run home run off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Wade Davis in the ninth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, right, congratulates catcher Yasmani Grandal after the Dodgers retired Colorado Rockies’ Nolan Arenado for the final out in the ninth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasmani Grandal, center, is congratulated by teammates as he returns to the dugout after hitting a two-run home run off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Wade Davis in the ninth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen, left, hugs catcher Yasmani Grandal after retiring Colorado Rockies’ Nolan Arenado for the final out in the ninth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers’ Yasmani Grandal circles the bases after hitting a two-run home run off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Wade Davis in the ninth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Logan Forsythe,left, applies a late tag as Colorado Rockies’ Trevor Story slides safely into second base with a double as second base umpire Gerry Davis, back right, looks on in the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)NextShow Caption1 of 27Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Logan Forsythe,left, applies a late tag as Colorado Rockies’ Trevor Story slides safely into second base with a double as second base umpire Gerry Davis, back right, looks on in the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)Expand Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.“Survival of the fittest,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Friday of playing at Coors Field.The Dodgers did more than survive the weekend. They scored 33 runs in the three-game sweep, 19 of them in 10-1/3 innings pitched by Rockies relievers.“They’ve kind of had their trials,” Roberts said diplomatically of his friend Bud Black’s bullpen.From the sixth inning on in the three games, the Dodgers outscored the Rockies 21-3. Sunday’s five-run deficit was the largest the Dodgers have overcome to win a game this season.“Guys did a good job all series of staying in the zone, making their guys work, making them throw a lot of pitches and taking advantage of mistakes,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said after the Dodgers’ 13th win in their past 17 games. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more