Friday, November 30, 2012

Let Me Be Exceedingly Clear

Unless you've had your head under a rock this week, you'll know by now that the sponsor of our team, Exergy Development Group, has chosen to end their financial support of the Team Exergy for 2013. This news was not unexpected, but the finality of the announcement came as a surprise. I'd been carefully guarding a faint glimmer of hope that everything would be OK (Read: sticking my head in the sand, hoping the situation would just go away. It's called denial folks, and it's not a river in Egypt.). When I read the news that the team was without a sponsor, and that I was without a job -- I was crushed.

The internet has gone totally bonkers over this news. Reactions have ranged from the dismissive and pessimistic  to the vitriolic and asinine  Personally, I've had trouble refraining from being more vocal over social media. This is something that affected me deeply and profoundly. A large hunk of who I am, and how I think about myself is tied up in my job as a cyclist --  and the prospect of suddenly not being a racer any more is painful. I'd grown rather fond of what my next year was shaping up to be. Getting the rug pulled out from under me like this feels a bit like getting dumped by a girlfriend. It stings. I've said things over Facebook and Twitter that I probably shouldn't have -- comments that, while they've all been centered around me and my personal situation, aren't really the message I want to broadcast. 

So what do I want to broadcast? It's simply this: I am SO grateful for the chance to race my bike these last two years -- and most of that gratitude is directed towards James Carkulis and the Exergy Development Group. Anyone who knows me from my Hagens Berman days remembers how close I was to not becoming a pro racer. At the end of 2010 I'd been "chasing the dream" for five years. I was satisfied with my career as an amateur, but (provided I didn't get a shot at the next level of racing) was ready to move on to other things. I'd reached the conclusion that I was good enough to be a pro, but that much more goes into getting a pro contract than simply having the legs to do the job. Luck, timing, and connections were all part of the equation, and I didn't feel like I failed as a racer just because those other factors weren't on my side. Then, in October, I was offered a spot on Exergy. I felt like I'd won the lottery! It was only because of the management team of Escalera racing, and the insane generosity of our sponsor that I was offered the chance to keep racing. Like I told Cyclingnews, I feel like I was able to hit the snooze button, fall back asleep, and continue dreaming this ridiculously fabulous dream where I get paid to race bicycles

You can say many things about James Carkulis, and Exergy Development Group. Yes, he has outstanding bills. Yes, he had to make the difficult decision to withdraw sponsorship of my team. But to imply that he harmed us or betrayed us is just stupid. He enabled us, and the sport of cycling, to a fantastic degree. 

James, it's been a wild ride. 
Nothing lasts forever, but this was gooooood while it lasted. 
Thank you so much. 

13 comments:

The BADD Bicyclist said...

Very nicely written!

Unknown said...

Sam very nice you are a great man

Jamie Stangeland said...

I come to the internet for scathing vitriol and searing anger. I am somewhat taken back by the level headedness of this post.

Sam Johnson said...

KROGG HAVE VERY LEVEL HEAD. CAVEMAN TRAIT. LEVEL FOREHEAD.

nikos said...

Sam, very eloquently said and a wonderful message. Thanks for sharing.

mobygrape said...

Well written. I'm sure you have a lot of feelings about this. You've shown a lot of strength in getting it down in a coherent manner here.

Best of luck and best wishes in the next chapter.
marc

Nancy Wargo said...

You are a class act Sam. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to meet you and cheer for you. You are a fan favorite in our family.

Notimer said...

Thanks for sharing your insight and wisdom Sam. Respect

Mary Topping said...

You, San, can see the forest for the trees. Thank you for spreading some kindness; there has been a lot of negative out there lately. Wherever you land, the soil you land on is lucky, and blessed.

Mary Topping said...

OOps, obviously I meant to write "Sam," but isn't "san" a term of honor?? I hope so :).

Unknown said...

Very well written, but letter like that will not help you advance your goal of getting on Jerry Springer, it will only make people want to be sponsors for bike racers. And from what I can tell, Springer looks like a lot less work.

Ian Crane said...

Thanks for sharing the past several years of THIS journey with us. Hope to be able to follow along with your next one!

Sara said...

Nicely written! Best of luck to you in the next phase of your cycling life.