Friday, April 21, 2006

Show Me The Money

I've come to the difficult decision that I desperately need a cycling sponsor. Someone to "pay the bills" so to speak as I rocket up from the obscurity of the Midwest amateur categories to a brilliant surprise win in the 2009 Tour de France.

Let's put it more simply: I'm broke.

Not totally broke, mind you. My job pays decently considering the market I live in, and my significant other recently graduated from college and is now fully employed. So I'm not broke, but definitely not financially sound enough to be spending money on the most expensive hobby known to man.

Let's analyze my sorry state of affairs:

In no particular order, I desperately need the following:

1. A new set of race wheels. I have two sets of Bontrager Race Lites which, though very excellent and sturdy wheels for the price, are far too heavy and not aerodynamic enough for racing. They make excellent training wheels. What I need are fast, light racing wheels something along the lines of these or these. These would be ideal, but I'll try to stay grounded in reality. Speaking of reality, there's no way I can afford a $1400-1500 wheelset, so Race Lite it is, for now.

2. A new saddle. Apparently, my ass is a truly dangerous weapon by the looks of the pitiful saddle still clinging to life at the end of my seat tube. I have pretty much demolished the Selle San Marco I've been riding for the past year and a half. While the Fizik Arione I've had my eyes on is really pretty affordable, it would be even more so if somebody other than myself paid for it.

3. New shoes. I'm currently wearing a lesser model of Sidi cycling shoes than the real object of my desire: The Ergo 1 Carbon Mesh. Be still my beating heart (and my throbbing feat).

4. New gloves. To be honest, most gloves are probably the cheapest bits of cycling apparel available on the market. There's a good reason why, too: most gloves are weak, flimsy and fall apart after one full season of racing (and crashing). What are not weak, however, are the Criterium Gloves from my cyberspace love interest, Rapha. Though I don't eat meat, I do wear leather if I can justify the importance of the piece of clothing made out of it. In bike racing, good gloves are pretty important.

And finally:

5. A new bike. I currently ride what is probably the best all-round bike ever made that is affordable, stiff and relatively light all at the same time. That's right, the all-carbon Trek 5200. For the money, it's a superb ride. But let's say that I have slightly higher aspirations than relying forever upon the working-man's carbon race bike. Let's say those aspirations look something like this. Maybe my love of Cervelo is based almost entirely on the desperate man-crush I've developed for Ivan Basso over the past couple of years. (Purely heterosexual, of course.) But whatever the reason, scoring a new Cervelo (with Dura-Ace, please) would make my heart go all a-flutter, for sure. Unfortunately, dropping the $5000+ on a new Soloist Carbon is not exactly in the cards at this point, and until I can find a shop here in town willing to finance something like this (5 years, no money down), I'm pretty much S.O.L.

In general, I'm extremely independent and reluctant to accept charity, even from family and very close friends. However, I can probably make an exception for cycling, being the prohibitively expensive waste of time that it is. Anyone interested in taking me on as their personal money-spender should look for me at local races in the coming weeks, and be sure to bring your checkbook. Just look at it as an investment in the future of the sport. Thanks.