February 17, 2007
Welcome to our first diary*
In the US, cycling is a weird sport where you can get really good really fast and then have nobody know or care, so you hit a point really early on where you stop developing. There aren't enough spots in the few elite development teams that exist for all the riders who could benefit from them, so you end up a big fish in a small pond with no clear path to follow. The concept for the TIME Factory Development Team comes pretty much from my own experience in the sport. I want to have a team that does know about new good fast guys, does care about them and can provide for them a way to achieve better things in the sport.
Know what the job is, show up ready for work, and get the job done
This is what our team is about. This is what the solid pro bike riders know and this is what most of these young kids coming up these days have no clue about. Our team exists to educate guys on their trade. You can't be a professional carpenter if you don't know how to join wood and you can't be a pro biker if you don't know how to race bikes - that means more than pedaling hard. If you want to be a pro, you are talking about being a tradesman and you had better know your trade if you think that you are going to make a living at it.
There is this false idea out there that all a good rider has to do is start a bunch of big races with top guys and he will learn to race by osmosis. Do you think that the established guys are going to hip some fast kid to the scene so he can take their money?
Our job in this team is to produce riders who know the score. When it comes contract time it's not likely that a team will pay some youngster to learn to race for two years before he is truly useful. The teams in the US are too small to afford to do it, but they do realize the value and are all too happy to have teams like ours who can provide them with riders who are young and who can come in and contribute right away.
So, to this end we have our team set up where we can have regular contact with all the riders and they can live and train together in Winston-Salem, NC. We have a team house where all the riders will live, which will also serve as our office and service course.
Season focus and goals
The team will focus on giving the riders opportunities to grow and to challenge themselves, but always with the idea that they should be learning to win. This means that we won't be going to every big race we can, but we will be going to everything within reason.
With a team full of talented riders who just want to get out there and race its tough to tell them its not the best thing for them to go do all the biggest races they can get themselves to. The most important thing is to have some control and to avoid a situation where the guys aren't ever learning to win because they are spending 4 months out of the year hanging onto the wheel and are travel weary.
I would rather have the team racing more often at a middle level than not often enough at a high level. You can train all you want, but you can't forget to practice. Racing is where you build experience, and that's what makes you into a useful rider. Its not easy for us to find appropriate racing that's not too far away. The races are either very local affairs and not challenging enough, or they are National Calendar races where the level is a bit too tall to expect us to factor in as much as I would like in the first year.
We are lucky to have barely enough races right under the NRC level or right in the low end of the NRC where we can get some good events under us and have victories be attainable. Planning the schedule is all about finding the sweet spot where we can have some good wins, build some confidence, and get to make some steps up to being in the game by the end of the summer in some of the top events. Early on we are looking to have an excellent Tour of Virginia and a few exploits in the mid-Atlantic during the Memorial Day holiday. Other events that we will look for will be Amateur and U23 nationals, the Tour of Ohio, Tour of Mt Holly, and Hanes Park Classic.
An open team
The TIME Factory Development Team is everyone's team. Between this diary and our website I want people to get to know us and get to see how a team works. I want every rider or fan who sees us at events to feel free to come by and chat. In fact, we are planning for it with extra chairs and a 10x20 tent. After spending my entire adult life in the sport it always bothered me that things were so exclusive and so now is my chance to start something where we will be inclusive in a way that people haven't seen.
Obviously we want to kick the crap out of everybody, but that doesn't mean that we can't still be friends. So anytime you see us at any event come by and say hello and feel free to congratulate the guys on a good ride, or even to heckle them because for the most part we can appreciate a jerky sense of humor.
*Future diaries will not be this boring.
Visit our website: www.factorydevelopmentteam.com