Saturday, May 30, 2009

Summer Lovin'

Hi all,

It has been a while since I last posted, and even longer since we last saw each other. (Easterns was such a long time ago) I am sure you are all wondering how the corporeal form of UVM cycling is holding up, now that he has graduated and seems to need to move on. The real world is daunting, no doubt about it. While I have been wallowing in the mellowdrama of graduation I realized that I wasn't the only one graduating or leaving the ECCC. I realized that all over the east coast, tens, thousand, maybe even millions of ECCC'er are leaving the warm embrace of the conference. With them will disapear the knowledge and the legends that they have created and witnessed. It will be a horrifying loss.

At the same time anxious 17 and 18 year olds all over the world are thinking about the college life. Somehow you all need to trick or coerce them into finding another way to make it through college. They need to become warrior poets, the type of people that the ecccccc likes having around. Care free, funny and bike racers.

This is a heck of a task. There aren't many people like that out in the world. And chances are if they are smart they already ellected to attend UVM. But don't dispare, you can transform normal people into bike racers. I know, I know. A lot of teams don't have this whole, 'recruiting' thing down to well. I blame it on two things. 1. some of you are self centered jackass elitest who think that anyone of a lower category or who doesn't race has no place around a bike. This is a pretty big obstacle to overcome. The first step is taking to realize that bike racing is about people racing, not just you. Once you have that covered it will be way easier to get your head out of your ass. 2. A lot of bike racers are very socially awkward. Don't worry this too can be overcome. You have probably spent your whole life trying to fit in and be cool. Here is a little tip. Pretend that everything you are doning is the greatest thing in the world. Think 'Candy Mountain' with flying horse, mermaids, lasers and a hip Euro techno beat.

Sweet. Since I fixed everything that is wrong with cyclist in the last 12 lines I am ready to make the sport of bike racing better. Especially Mountain Bike Racing.

How could Mountain bike racing be any better than it already is? I thought that we all had a really good time last year, slaying berms and slamming tallboys was a blast. Sure it was, but there weren't that many of us doing it. I think that UVM, NU and UNH accounted for almost 60% of all of the people racing at most of the races. That is a real dangerous situation for the conference, race directors and the season as a whole. I mean imagine what would happen to the ability of a race director to hold a race if even one of those teams elected not to come. It would be disasterous.

So it is really important to build a broader base of the racing comunity. Schools that are hanging out with 2-6 racers should really want to step it up. Not only will it be better for them (more potential for host housing, fuller vans=less gas money, a chance to compete with UVM (unlikely but you never know)) but it will make the conference a better place.

How does it happen. How do you go from talking to that cute girl in the basement of Sigma Alpha to getting her on a set of knobby rubbers and schralping some gnar? It isn't easy, but it is possible. Seduction is your best bet and I am not giving away my secrets. Anyhow, I digress. THe best way to get people to come out is to talk it up. You see somebody rolling a set of knobbies, ask them to ride with you. Then tell them how much better their life will be with INsert school name Cycling. Tell them that races are like a carnival of joy sprinkeled with awsome. Be relentless. Make them think they are missing the best thing in the world.

Once they give in, be supportive. Not in a weirld touchy feely way
But in a way that is reassuring that the racing will get easier and that the A riders really aren't that cool, or that fast.

The Summer is you chance. Find new kids help them get fast, then try to win something this fall.

Good Luck and God Speed

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Final Presidential Address

For those of you who were interested here is my last presidential email.  Like all things I write it is frought with misspelling and gramitical errors! Have, Fun; reading.

Hi all,

This is a collection of my notes on what I was going to say at the last meeting of the year.  Instead I had pasta and went pump parkin' - definitely a better choice for a UVM Cyclist.  Anyhow this will serve as my validictory address to the team.  Once you get this email, all the paperwork will be done so that the transition of power will have occured,  Lee will be your president, Mike your Treasurer and Daryl your sponsorship coordinator, and Ashley and Rose the Women's Co-captains.

My experience with the cycling team last year was phenomenal.  I had a great time and could not believe how awesome it was.  I was in awe at the time and effort that Slim put into the team, single handedly running both the logistics and finances of this enormous entity.  When it came time for us to try and secure a mountain bike race, we walked into a shit storm.  A bunch of other teams chewed us out and mark A slammed us over the table.  It was really ugly.  Right then I knew that UVM cycling needed more people to take care of the team.  Not enough people had been giving back to the team, putting their own time into making the team run the way it could.  Slim had done all this for them, but he was graduating.  New people had to step up and the team as a whole had to change its culture.  So I figured that I could be part of the change.

My goals for the team at the beginning were both short term and long term

Long term:
1.  Be the Best team in the country
     a.  excellent recruiting of new riders as well as top notch juniors
     b.  help develop the riders that we already have
     c.  Host races of the highest quality and caliber (easterns/nationals)
2.  winning individual and team national titles
    a.  Have super elite riders across disciplines (xc, dh, ds, cross, road and track)
    b. field large competitive women's teams. (Essential to team victories, as we learned from MIT)
3. Decrease the financial bar for participation in the sport (at UVM)
   a.  Sponsorship arrangements that eradicate or reduce the price of competition and equipment.
   b.  Be frugal and cut unnecessary costs (i.e staying at peoples houses) to leave as much of the budget to other things

Short Term:
1.  Get the team off of probation with USA cycling
2. Win as much as possible
3.  recruit and cultivate new riders
4.  increase the women's team so we can be invincible in competition
5.  Balance the Budget 
6. Provide a bigger budget for the next round
7.  Organizational and Logistical Excellence.  Everyone is where they need to be when they need to be there.  Everything goes smoothly.  No Clusterfucks

How it went and where we are:  These come in no particular order,  other than my flow of conciousness.

We got a lot more people.  During mountain season we flooded the trails. On every weekend we had more than 35 people.  On two weekends we had over 45.  For easterns we had four vans, the truck and two trailers.  We were an armada.  Tons of people got into racing and are now hooked on the sport thanks to UVM cycling.

The women's team had exponential and explosive growth.  At one mountain weekend I think we had 11 women racing.  Similar results were seen during road season.  I cannot stress how important it is to keep this trend alive.  If we ever hope to win a team national title we will need to have either women who can win every race or a lot of strong women.  We cannot win in the ECCC without having Women in all the categories and we certainly cannot win against teams with 4-6 women at nationals.  Encourage girls to come out and to get really into racing.  I am sure that you all know a few girls that could make this happen.  Even if they won't be the next Rose Long, they can still help us tremendously.  That is your homework, go out recruit girls.  Or if you are  a girl already on the team, train hard become the best.

Organization.  I think Alex, Vinnie and I were able to provide the team one of the best run years of UVM cycling.  For the most part everything went super smooth.  There were of course setbacks and mistakes, but we always got to the races and got there with time to warm up and the like.  While it wasn't the protour I hope it was pretty solid for collegiate.  Other than staying in Gay Philly and spending 8 tanks of gas at the Penn State MTB race I think we were solid.  Lots of people who were not officers also did a mountain of work to help life go wicked smooth.  I want to thanks a few of them explicit

Chris Hamlin
Dan Bensen
Lee Peters 
Derek Harnden
Jesse Chebot

All of those guys, plus others did a ton of work before and after every weekend to make it happen, without their help I never would have slept.

Finance.  I think that this was another area of moderate success.  While most of you won't really notice the difference Alex, Vinnie and I were able to make huge gains in the following year's budget for the team.  While it still isn't enough to make all our dreams come true, we were able to parlay a 50% increase in our budget.  I believe that this is the largest budget the team has ever had.  It should enable us to do more for the 'other' seasons of bike racing.  (track and cross)  For this year we scraped through, due to a lot of ingenuity and the generosity of people's families.  Many thanks to all of the families that hosted us, and those that brought us food on race weekends.

Winning.  We did a lot, but never enough.  A lot of you have so much more potential than you have realized yet.  If you train hard in the summer/winter and feel the glory you too can be one of the titans of UVM cycling.  Ride your bike, fall in love with it and show up ready to continue and increase our dominance over the ECCC next year. 

Having Race.  We will next year for mountain.  I expect it will be beyond awesome and can't wait to see it happen.  Joe was so impressed with us that they are letting us have easterns.  Lets not skrew this up.

Closing and Goodbye:    Running the team has been a lot of work.  It has meant countless hours of staring at spreadsheets and replying to asinine emails.  My own training and racing took a little bit of a hit, (you might have noticed that I got worse every weekend in mtn season).  I would stay up later than everyone  else at the end of race weekends, and start them earlier than anyone else.  Despite all that.  In a heart beat I would do it all again.  I has been a great honor and a privilege to be a part of the greatest cycling team of all time.  I hope that you will all take ownership of the team that I love so much, give it the care and attention that it deserves to prosper and make the sacrifices it need to bring home glory and trophies.

Good Day and God Bless,

Ian C. Sullivan

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Easterns and Competition

HI all,

I hope as many of you made it home with all of your skin intact as possible.  It was an awfully fun weekend as possible, and my last as an ECCC racer(probably, you never know, life is one big adventure)

The Easterns road race was totally epic and soul shattering.  I thought it was raining on the way up black mo (turns out it was just the tears from the pack).  That is just the sort of thing that make a road race awesome.......    tears, lots of them. 

I also want to send a huge shout out to MIT.  It has been a lot of fun to race against those guys and gals all season long.  I think it is totally great that coming into the last weekend any one of three teams could have one the overall.  That is the sort of excitement that makes people recruit and get high turnouts, even as finals loom and horrifically long drives stand in the way of team excellence.  Well fought and congratulations.  I have been working on an E triple C division scheme that would encourage more competition like this.  More on that in another blog.

Things that excited me this weekend:

-Watching Will Dugan win the Men's A crit on a bike he borrowed.  (pretty cool)

-Watching my little sister initiate the move that made the race in Women's B and finish it off with a second place.

-Men's A TTTTTTTT.  Real exciting, lots of well matched teams out on course.

-Joe Proposing to Caitlin.  (this made me forget how poorly all of my Men's A and B racers did on Saturday)

Good Night and God Bless,