Friday, December 16

You can't fire me...

I was going to write a post about bike cycle type sponsorships anyhoo, but given the recent kerfuffle with Specialized drastically reducing their ambassador program, why not throw my two cents into the pile?  Do people still use pennies?  Should that amount be adjusted for inflation or are people's opinions declining at an equal pace?

I think all the support I've ever received in terms of bike cycle sporting started with the birth of the blerhg back in January of 2006.  I've seen some come, I've seen some go, and fortunately, some still remain (thank and bless emoji).  It's included everything from an annual stipend to moderate financial help to bike frames and parts either free (nothing is ever really "free" BTW) to discounts on stuff and also things.  I expect nothing and appreciate everything.

I've had arrangements end abruptly when things just weren't working for them or mebbe me.  Others faded away gradually but not gracefully like my hairline.  As easily and casually as our relationship started, it just wasn't there anymore.

I've been a Gore Wear ambassador for more years than I can remember.  Sometimes wonderful things just showed up.  Other times, I bought items at a discount I specifically wanted for work or play, and then there were times that a random piece of gear would show up that I wouldn't know what to do with.  It was a pleasant arrangement.

But then a couple months ago, I got a notice that I would need to reapply to get back in.


I never applied to begin with, so I figured this had something to do with the fact that the "industry" is about to be going through some things.  Belts are going to be tightened, and ROI scrutinized more heavily in the near future.  I don't mind at least jumping through the hoops if need be to stay in the good graces of a supporter who has awesome products that I basically rely on a day to day basis.  Maxxis has an annual hoop jumping contest that I've grown accustomed to in order to keep their support, so just more of that then.

I'm not gonna go down 49 flights, leave the building, and cross the street to line up for a free scoop of Ben & Jerry's at The Square.  Is the action worth the juice?  Don't tell me the action is the juice, @heatfan69

Filling in the blanks on the application... "media affiliation?"

I guess the dream is over.  Blerhgs are all but ded or at least on life support, but I'd already filled out most of the form, so here goes nothing.  Wait a week or two...

I get a follow-up email requesting my race resume.

Time to lower the life boats because this ship is sinking fast.

Weeks go by, no response... and then The Pie texts me to let me know that I got a random box from a fulfillment center or something.  I get random boxes.  Not as many as I used to, but I still do.

Get home, open it up, and...

This might sound stupid, but I needed this jacket.  Kinda.  You see, I only wear my Shakedry jackets when they are absolutely necessary.  I've got my looser fitting Shakedry (meant for running/hiking) with a hood for days like last Thursday when my commute to work was rainy and cold enough that I needed three layers under the jacket.  I've got some for what I'd call "action cycling," days up in the mountains where a real rain jacket might be needed but also has to be very packable.  I don't just wear these things around because I don't wanna wear them out, even more so now that Gore will be phasing out the technology by 2025.  I've also got some packable Windstopper coats that are great, but the cycling fit makes it hard to layer up... and I wear a lot of flannel.  Sorry not sorry I stopped listening to new music when grunge died.

So for as many years as I can remember, and despite being a Gore ambassador, my jacket of "choice" for chilly days when it's not quite cold enough for my Infinium insulated jacket but I want my civilian layers to be a t-shirt and a flannel for a 59° ride home is a very non-breathable jacket that I'm pretty sure was left abandoned in a drop bag after a race.  It was "free." If I got a little warm, my sweat just condensed and moistened the interior of the jacket in the most disgusting of manners.  This new Torrent jacket is breathable, roomy enough for my shoulder season layers, stretchy, and waterproof so I can wear it on drizzly, non-Shakedry worthy commutes.

Because when supplies are limited, things have to be considered.

Me contemplating the weather radar before heading out the door:

And kinda back to the my two cents part of the original conversation...

I member when Cannondale dropped Tinker, and he posted a tirade online, and then Tinker Nation (mostly middle aged white men, I'm guessing... we make the most righteous indignations) was up in arms.  Then his tirade kinda got disappeared, the dust settled, he got hooked up with Floyd's and it's all happy happy joy joy.

If you didn't see the writing on the wall for the "industry," you might be standing too far away from the wall... or staring at your feet.  The trades have been predicting what's currently happening, for what?  Six months at least?  The lower down on the totem pole you are, the more likely you're going to be affected by the flood.  When it's time to tighten the belts and the guy with the green visor starts crunching the numbers, heads are gonna roll.

"Two minus one equals... gadzooks.  FIRE TINKER!"

Obvs, the timing was terrible for the Specialized ambassadors, being that the biz runs this strange schedule where all this usually gets sorted out in the fall.  

But then I member that I work in one of the biggest banking cities in the US, and I member 2008 when people were being walked out of the buildings with their bankers box of personal belongings.  I'm sure the timing wasn't necessarily that great for them either.  Just like then, I'm sure had they been laid off a few months earlier with time to shop their talents around, it wouldn't have mattered because everywhere else was facing the same unfortunate economic downturn and cut backs.

I'm not heartless.  I don't wanna see anyone lose their gig... well, mebbe arms dealers, porch pirates and mimes.  That said, if I'm looking at the Big S and expecting them to ask Peter Sagan if he'd be willing to drop the sommelier from his entourage for 2023 or Cav to hawk his Richard Mille watch to continue the support of the ambassador program, I wouldn't get my hopes up.  

Blah, blah, blah.

I could rattle on, but I doubt more than half of you made it through the commercial part of our program today.

That said, I hold no hard feelings for those that lost that loving feeling for being a Dick Supporter.  I enjoyed every opportunity they afforded me, and nothing good lasts forever, although In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida lasts seventeen minutes and that feels pretty close.


TIM said...

"Blerhgs are all but ded or at least on life support,"

And yet, some of us check this one every day.

Unknown said...

Wow, Friday blerhg post. Pleasant surprise! I know you’ve said the blog is dying/dead. When it’s available it’s still the highlight of my morning coffee routine!

Guitar Ted said...

I bought one of those sleeveless rags you sold back in the day. Does that count as past support that just faded away?

"Blerhgs are ded"? Huh...... I think that must be a tinfoil hat conspiracy theory. Imma follow the science! Thomas Dolby told me too.

FixieDave said...

Great post, and great perspective

wrepsher said...

For what(?) it’s worth, I have purchased items from several Dick Supporters based upon your Seal of Semi-Approval(tm).
Dick support matters - We’re all irrelevant, but you and your blergh a little less than the rest of us.

S Sprague said...

What Tim said! I for one check this blerhg everyday even though I can check your FB to know when you post. You and Guitar Ted are THE blerhg's to check! Keep it rollin'!