Former Team Exergy riders Conor and Kevin Mullervy, identical twin brothers who live in Boulder, Colorado, are turning to the internet to find support for the 2013 season after the UCI Continental team abruptly pulled the plug last week.
The Mullervy brothers have started a "RallyMe" fundraising campaign in hopes of collecting $15,000 to pay travel and living expenses while they chase the pro dream on an amateur team next season. Run by a company in Salt Lake City, Utah, the relatively new RallyMe site provides an online fundraising platform for athletes, teams and organizations hoping to harness the power of the internet and social media to fund their goals. It's a modern twist to a very old tale.
"Someone mentioned it to us, and I thought it was a great idea," Kevin Mullervy told Cyclingnews on Monday. "We've been talking with some amateur teams, but no one wants to pay us any money, and we don't want to just hang up the bikes. We are training up to 30 to 40 hours a week, so it's hard to get even a part-time job if we want to be successful next year and catch on with another pro team."
Like many of their former teammates, the 24-year-old brothers found out that their 2013 career plans had gone up in smoke either online or from friends after Exergy Development Group CEO James Carkulis released a late-night statement on November 27 announcing the bad news. Conor Mullervy vented his frustration through his Twitter account, @cmullervy, writing, "Well I just found out via @Cyclingnewsfeed that I don't have a job for next season. ... #unreal #pissed."
"We kind of knew something was coming," Kevin Mullervy said Monday. "The management said keep tight, and then we found out that night. Management got in contact right after the news was released and said the story wasn't supposed to be released for two days after that, so they could contact us. The story went out early, I guess."
The brothers had ridden for Escalera Racing's Team Exergy since it was an amateur squad in 2010. They signed their first pro contracts with the UCI Continental outfit in June of 2011 after graduating from Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado, and they raced for the Boise-based squad throughout that season and the next. The brothers planned to continue on that path until just last week, and, like 11 of their former teammates, are scrambling for opportunities now. That's where the $15,000 goal on RallyMe comes in.
"It would go quite a long way," Kevin Mullervy said of the brothers' goal. "Last year with Exergy we weren't making much, so we're not trying to raise too much, but just enough to get by and continue racing. We'd be paying for rent and food and travel. We might just be going with a domestic elite team, so they would have their own sponsors and be pretty well supported, just not financially."
The brothers, who have ridden as domestiques for Team Exergy and focused on a lot of criteriums, hope to compete in more stage races next season and also the "big money" criteriums on their way to making it back to the professional ranks. But before they do that, they're pleading their case to the internet masses.
"We do not want to give up our dreams, after tasting some small success," the brothers wrote on their RallyMe page. "If anything, we are more driven to keep our dreams a reality. ...(W)e want to have a successful year to get back on a team later in the year or for the 2014 season. So with your generosity, we will be able to keep training and chasing our dreams to become professional cyclists once again."