Scholars Inn Bakehouse/Team Tortuga Cycling

Tomorrow (Wednesday, November 17) is the launch party for the new Scholars Inn Bakehouse/Team Tortuga Cycling Program.  In 2011 the club will be sponsored by several businesses in the community.  The Scholars Inn Bakehouse will be the title sponsor.  They’ll also be hosting this exciting event that will bring together several dozen cyclists, business owners and media in the area.

Oliver Winery has remained a significant contributor to the program as well as newcomer Bloomington Hospital (soon to be IU Health Bloomington Hospital).  Additional new sponsors include the Bicycle Garage, Church and Community, EZ Dine, Iron Pit Gym, Pure Physique and Simmons Performance Systems.  In 2011, the team will also develop a mentoring program with the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington, working closely with their young cycling program.      

All of this comes as businesses are tightening their belts and the economy continues to struggle along.  So why does a company choose to financially support a cycling program?  What’s the economic metric that is used to determine return on investment? I’ll give you a hint.  The answer is you.   

When a business owner supports a cycling program they’re after more than a logo on a jersey or a link on a web page.  They know that supporting and aligning with a performance oriented program helps to define who they are as individuals and as businesses.  The connections may not always apparent but what you do every day as a cyclist is important.    The values that allow you to be a peak performer are the same as what is required at the highest level of business.

Dedication.  Commitment.  Performance.
A key to high performance racing comes from the work ethic that you bring to the road.  All cyclists are cut from the same cloth.  Why some excel more than others is up for debate, but few are able to sustain success without a team around them.  Your individual dedication and commitment to the sport, your team and our sponsors are minimum requirements for entry.  These qualities are in high demand, revered by all and form the unique basis for this sport.   When finely tuned and combined with a team driven to perform, the results can be astonishing.

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts
Individually we can accomplish a great deal on the bike.  To be sure, we must continue to work hard as individuals to reach and maintain a high level of excellence on the bike; endless hours on an indoor trainer, tracking and analyzing power data and heart rate, reviewing race results, understanding the competition, establishing race strategies and contingency plans.   The real successes, though, come as the team gels over a season and works seamlessly together toward sustaining high performance outcomes every time they put a wheel on a starting line.   Our sponsors recognize this and hope to mimic this in their businesses.

Return On Investment
Financially, a cycling program can have a significant impact on business. Just as sponsors want to align with high performance, so do their customers. The excitement that you’ll generate over the year can translate into real results at the cash register and through the door.  All of your actions, on and off the bike can affect this sensitive balance.  It’s not just how you perform, it’s how you are perceived and how the team is perceived by the public that matters. 

Communicating our success will be paramount in this relationship as will our creative outreach to our sponsors’ customer and the community.  Is winning important?  Absolutely.  Every race we enter will be judged on this result.  But, how you handle victory and defeat tell more about a rider and a team than anything else that you do.  People have an affinity for winners, but will abandon arrogance. 

I would say that all of this begins tomorrow at the launch party, but it really began the moment you first got on the bike and decided to go faster than the person next to you.