Friday, April 17, 2015

Salt to Saint Series Part I- Starting a Cycling Team/Club

Have you ever started a cycling team or club before? If you have... then you know all to well the amount of work that goes into being a Team Captain; And if you're like me, it sometimes feels like the work goes unnoticed.

This is the first time that I have started a cycling team. I am the captain of a team called "Coast Busters". We are going to ride a relay called "Salt to Saint" in September. It is a 423 mile relay that starts in Salt Lake City and ends in St. George. I have always kind of been a natural leader. I'm good at planning and keeping events organized. I guess that is where my OCD does me some good.. This is also where my OCD does me wrong as well... Go Figure..

 My team consists of some very talented riders and few of them are pure athletes. I would even go so far as to call them Machines. However.. They are also some of the most unresponsive people that I have ever had the privilege of working with, which as you could imagine makes planning very difficult. Lets take a look at some of the things that you will need to account for.

  • Picking your team
  • Picking a team name
  • Deciding if you want a sponsor
  • Deciding if you want custom jerseys made
  • Finding out what your teams strengths and weakness are. Since this is a 24hr straight race, seeing who is a night owl and who is the early riser will be of benefit.
  • Calculating your teams average speed
  • Assigning Race Legs
  • Making sure your team understands the rules of the race
  • Collecting Registration Fee's (every Captains favorite im sure)
  • Setting up team meetings to discuss support and vehicle options
  • Coming up with training plans for inexperienced riders or have expectations for seasoned riders
I'm sure that I am leaving things off that list, as the list seems to never end.. (LOL).. We will start off with that and add to it if needed in the future. That is pretty much the order that I did it in as well. Lets talk about each one in a little more detail, so those of you that are crazy enough to lead a team will have an idea on what I did.

So the first thing that I did was recruit my team. I was lucky and found a lot of my team at work as we learned that we all shared an interest of riding. I was looking for 8 riders and sent out an email to each of them in January (9 months before the race) to see if they were interested. After they had all stated that they were, I could now start working on the other aspects, such as team name, sponsors etc.. I sent a pretty detailed message stating what fee's were going to be incurred to make sure that my team was on board as a lot of races are $100 just for the entry alone.

In this email I asked for pretty much everything that I needed. I told them all the facts, included the course atlas, race bible and then asked them some questions, such as their strengths and weaknesses (Are they are climber, endurance rider, sprinter etc.) as well as what time of day they preferred, if they wanted to be sponsored, custom jerseys, rent an RV or Van, Team Name ideas, personal email addresses since I only had their work ones... Well this backfired on me quite a bit. What I received back was "Im in!", "Here is my email address", and "Im so excited". NONE of the questions that I had asked were answered by ANYONE... So I was back to square one.. Planning a race with little to go on. I could easily plan the race if it were just my wife and I. But I wanted to make sure that everyone would enjoy this race equally and have input.

That is when I came up with a genius idea.. Learn from make mistakes and do this first. If you have gmail.. you can create something called a "Google Form". What this does is makes a survey for you. I just typed in my questions and came up with multiple choice answers for them to choose from and made the questions that I really needed answered mandatory questions. You can then email everyone that form. The results of this was so much better. Here are the questions that I used.

  • What should our team name be?
  • What do we want to do for jerseys?
  • Should we try for sponsors?
  • What is your skill level
  • Preferred Riding Times?
  • Are you going to be able to have your money turned in by April 30th?
  • What is your average speed on a 20 mile ride with rolling hills?
  • Any Concerns?
You could of course cater it to whatever you needed to have answered. It puts the responses in a spreadsheet for your reference.

Now that that is out of the way, its time to get everyone registered. Most races make the Captain pay up front, and then the Captain has to collect the fee's from the team. So expect that if you are the captain. Im lucky and have a credit card limit that allowed me to front the money. Now all I have to worry about is collecting. (I sent out an email saying I would be breaking ribs since I need their legs ;) )

Now that I had most of my answers in, it was time to calculate the data and pick and share the results. This allowed me to move to my next step which was designing a team jersey.

Stay tuned for the rest of my Salt to Saint Series. It will be a long series detailing how to set up your team, training and eventually, the race itself.

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Are you a cyclist? Follow me on STRAVA to see where ive been riding. :)


1 comment:

  1. It takes a lot of work to put together any sort of team, these are really good tips!