Debunking Sports Marketing

Wow, your job is so cool!  You get to travel the world... 

Honestly - I cannot tell you how often I hear this when I explain what I do: I work in global sports marketing. What the heck is that? It is essentially the wrangling of professional athletes - making sure they have on the proper product. We make sure that the athlete is promoted properly, and the company is as well.

Yes - I travel the world. Yes - I hang out with some of the top notch athletes. BUT, it really isn't as glorious as that: there are the trans-ocean flights in economy, there are the sleepless nights, and multiple 100+ pound bags.

A few weeks ago - one of my friends (whom used to do the same line of work as I currently do) and I started cracking up - because, there are so many things that people don't understand about this job. SO I am going to do my best at debunking the world of sports marketing (or at least my experiences so far).

Before I started this role - I always dreamt of being in sports marketing. I wanted to hang with athletes, and do all the cool things that the SM managers (in my mind they were the untouchables) got to do...but...a year and a half later I have learned a thing or two...ha!

Debunk #1: You get to travel the world! 

Yes! You are correct. Thus far in 2016, I have gone to: Australia, Africa, France, Italy a few times, a couple places in Belgium, I will be in Brasil soon, probably back in a few more tropical countries and the land of pasta before we hit the new year.

Glorious? Sure.

However, what you forget is - you may be going to all these wonderful countries and racking up the miles for what you like to imagine you'll use for personal travel...but...you are flying in the back of the bus. By the time you arrive your back is killing you from contorting yourself into a pretzel like position to try to sleep comfortably- you probably smell like a mix of morning breath and recycled cabin air.

As one of my co-workers says: no matter your status, they still treat you like crap.

Sure, I may have diamond-platinum-sparkle status on two-different airlines. At the end of the day, what does that do? It let's me get on the plane before everyone else - and have a different phone number to call for troubleshooting a missed or cancelled flight.

You do however, become an airport aficionado which is cool and your yearly book reading list becomes 10-fold longer.

You are eating airplane food. There is unfortunately no avoiding it. As much as I have tried to plan, and properly pack, etc. You'll be diving into one of those oblong aluminum shaped dishes filled with over cooked-over sauced pasta, and a wilted salad. Stay away from the meat. 

Now, don't get me wrong - I do get to travel the world. I have been able to see some amazing places. I mean, when am I ever going to see Monet's Garden again?! Or be in physical attendance for the day Cavendish took his first yellow jerseys at Le Tour de France...

...and when you aren't flying? Chances are you are spending a lot of time driving - and keeping your fingers crossed that Siri doesn't lead you astray in directions.

Debunk #2:  You get to go to the best parties! 

Nope. I actually don't think that I have ever been to a party since I have taken the job. Of course, I am sure that I missed out (by being in high school) on all those amazing X-Games, bike race and other odd promotional parties that used to happen. No crazy drunken nights of rubbing elbows with elite athletes. No insane gift bags and paparazzi.

My party consists of a bottle of wine from the local market that lasts me the entire trip. And, bed around 8pm, split with a brief stint of yoga at 3am to try to put me back to sleep. Thanks jet lag. 

Debunk #3:  You get to eat amazing gourmet meals in Europe! 

Well, if you aren't bogged down from jet lag, and feel like going out alone to decipher the foreign language...sure. Chances are you will have a great meal for next to nothing.

I force myself to walk around and explore the local town upon my arrival to avoid any and all jet lag. NO NAPS! One time, I was in the small Tuscany city of Lucca - I quickly found out that not grabbing euros at the airport was a horrid idea - as credit cards seemed to be a thing of the future. You don't speak Italian? You better hope your "pointing at food game" is strong and you have a few extra euros in your coin purse from that last time you were in Europe.

Debunk #4:  You get to hang out with professional athletes all the time! 

Yes - I do. It is pretty neat to be able to chum it up with some of the best athletes in the world. But, most of the time that you are around the athletes you are there working, and so are they.

Athletes, or in my case riders, have blinders on and are extremely focused on what their job is.
Just like us, their sport is their job. Their livelihood - in the world of cycling, their life can change in the blink of an eye. They need to be successful and victorious for pay - just as much as we have to do outstanding noticable work to make sure we are not chopped. 

This job consists of a lot more than just hanging out with athletes and seeding product. Believe it or not, this is a desk job. It requires a lot of strategical planning, budget balancing, staring at a computer, coming up with the perfect copy to go with a perfect product/athlete image.

When it is tour season, you are spending countless hours traveling from hotel to hotel. You are staying up organizing product until wee-hours of the morning. It's raining? Well, put on that coat because you are going out to fix all the riders lenses before the start.

Debunk #5:  You have so much product! 

You're right! I sure do. I also have a lot of people that want to be friends with me because of this. If I want to share, I will share (and, I love seeing people smile when they slip on a new pair of shades).

How does the product get across the world? Well, you ship it or you carry it. If you ship it you're at risk of it getting stuck in customs - if you carry it, you're at risk getting caught in customs. I always recommend carrying an international invoice with you! 

Did I mention, these bags of product can sometimes be the same size that I am and weigh just as much? Close your eyes - and imagine my little frame toting a personal bag, a bike bag and roughly 1 - 2 body bag roller bags for work. Ta-da - that is the life of sports marketing - at least you don't have to go to the gym to get ripped! 

Debunk #6:  You must ride all the time! 

Actually no. Chances are you are hired for this job because you show an extreme passion for the sport that you now support. I used to average over 300 miles a-week on my bikes - I was fast a lightening. Then, I started traveling - which means I am are not riding - which means you're get slow (and potentially fat). Don't get me wrong - I was able to ride in Australia, which was a kick in the pants and spent a month in Africa racing/working. But, at the end of the day you are not averaging you 300 miles a week anymore - unless you are a superhuman? 

When I arrive home from a trip, I like to think that I am going to go and ride my brains out - until I remember how shitty jet lag can be and that your new favorite sport is sleeping. I am no jet-lag ninja - although, that would be pretty cool!

Debunk #7:  You must get so much free stuff!

Maybe it is just me, but, I still pay for a boat load of the product that I use for my own cycling and skiing endeavors.

Debunk #8:  I bet your fluent in multiple languages? How many do you speak? 

I speak one. English - trust me I wish I spoke more.


What I do is pretty unique. Yes, I have traveled the world. Yes, I hang out with pretty nifty people. I honestly wouldn't trade my experiences for anything - being in sports marketing has helped me grow as a person - it has helped me become much more brave, and stick up for what I believe it. This job has taught me how to succumb to awkward situations, and how to spend countless days alone. This job has allowed me to have friends across the world - and capture my inner adventurer. It has taught me that work is not all glitz and glam. It has taught me that no matter what I always need to pack at least four pairs of shoes, ha! ;) 


Look Ma' Im Zwifting

So I am sure you are involved in the bike community the slightest bit you have heard about Zwift

If you haven't Zwift is essentially an interactive bike riding video game. Remember Nintendo Wii - circa 2006 ( I was in college)  - people claimed it could keep you healthy + actively in-shape...yeah, okay! Well, Zwift is like a Wii but totally badass and truly active.

The program is run through a few ANT+ pieces, a download, a computer and you on your training pedaling your ass off. Zwift supplies you with an interactive video platform, so you can actually see those around you riding too (in avatar form), gives you status from the day AND can sync to your StravaHmmmm, guess who has been QOM of the day for her last two rides? THIS GIRL!

I have only been Zwift-ing for several sessions now - but - so far it has made a huge difference with winter riding. I will admit I do miss watching my wild animal documentaries and food network shows - however, this program gives you the feeling of REALLY riding your bike.

I may or may not have gotten a little too into the ride yesterday while going for the acclaimed Libby Hill and started to feel my training tip when I tried to power through a corner. Ha! 

Interested in trying Zwift? It is super easy, as long as you have a trainer, and ANT+ Dongle (speed + cadence sensor too) - you can download the program to your computer and ride for free for 14 days or x-amount of kms.

**major plus if you are a premium strava user, because you get TWO-MONTHS free!

Now - go Zwiftly!


Gee, thanks for the reminder.

I am going to go with the old saying: if I had a dollar for every time....

Since committing to racing Cape Epic back in August of 2015 not a day seems to go by where someone doesn't decide that they have to remind me that I am going to participate in one of the hardest mountain bike marathon races in the world - actually, it is so hard that it is one of the 5 races in the globe that has been categorized as a UCI hors cat├ęgories - basically that means HARD - like really f**king hard. I like hard - well, I hate the thought of it, but, when the time comes and the bullhorn goes off - I am ready.

First, thanks for constantly reminding me of what I (yes, me) personally committed to - like seriously do you think it slipped my mind from the time I went to be last night + this morning? No.

Just so that you get a true gist of the comments I hear - and we will start off with my favorite:

- Are you going to take your bike? ..........
- Do you even know how to mountain bike - you're a roadie right? Good one, is this a joke? If you are still wondering what the answer to that is: my background is in mountain biking. 

- Your luggage is going to be SO expensive, flying with a bike is really expensive. Again.......

- Are you in shape?  Well, I am more in shape than a couch potato I know that much. 

-Which lenses are you going to use? Really haven't put an ounce of thought into this year. Hopefully I remember to pack glasses - since that is a common piece of equipment I forget - almost every trip.

- Do you think you'll finish? Are you kidding me, what kind of question is that?! 
Are you going on a Safari - just to put a general answer out there, for the 500 times I hear this a day. Gosh, I would love to do this - but don't have any plans so far. 

- I've done a stage race. That's great, I hope you learned a lot about yourself when you did it and you felt very rewarded at the end. 

- You are going to be in so much pain. Like so uncomfortable, I can't even imagine. First, thank you for the reminder - but, have you done this race before? No, then why are you telling me? 

- Those pedals suck. Be ready for them to break. Funny you say that, because I have NEVER had a pair of these pedals break on me...so let's just hope that luck continues. 

- You are going to be SO exhausted after the flight down there. Oh, I am? That's funny - because you and I travel so much together you know how my body handles international travel. 

- There are a lot of poison snakes down there. Again, thanks for the reminder, the photos + the YouTube videos of black mambas. 

- You aren't going to want to look at a bike for a month after the race. Welp, sucks for me because literally a week an a half after I land in the state I have a 200 mile team camp ride to go on. 

- What are you going to do for food, you shouldn't use gel. Are you a nutritionist now? 

- And of course, just one more time: Do you know how sore you're going to be? No, but, I can imagine. And, how would you know?

Ha, okay really you have to admit the questions have to make you laugh a little bit.

Looking forward to sharing other fun experiences with you along the way!



The Thrills of Packing

After almost a year of traveling the world, thanks to my job - you'd think I would have this packing thing down...wrong. Actually, today just thinking about all the little gadgets that need to make it into my bag for Cape Epic I basically had a panic attack. It is better to be over prepared, rather than under prepared - right?

Something that folks are constantly reminding me is that we will be in pain - geez thanks, like I forgot. So, when you are being haunted by the constant thought of aches - what else would you do except for make sure that holistically,  you are ready to herbally treat EV-REY-THING. Thanks to our good friend Mia in Chicago we are going to Africa in style with all the Chinese medicines one could dream of (and I am planning on bringing a carry-on worth of ibuprofen, which I understand is not an herbal remedy)!

For those of you interested in what type of mobile medicine cabinet we will be toting around the greater Cape Town area, this post will be your fav! If you are a fellow athlete going, just come knock on our tent door + we will get your sorted.

Arnicare: You guessed it! This stuff is made from Arnica - you don't want to get this sh*t in your eyes. Arnica is said to relieve muscle soreness + aches - it reduces swelling and can take that lovely purplebrown color out of bruises, I have a feeling I will be swimming in this stuff the morning of day-eight.

Narayan Gel: Personally, I am just a fan of how this stuff smells. Narayan gel is also a sore muscle cure. Unlike Arnicare, this topical is made from essential oils. They say it is also acts as a stress relief - like the hippie dippie version of Xanax! 

Ching Wan Hung: is one of the gifts Mia sent to us. Supposedly it smells like sesame oil + can help alleviates small blisters, and burns. These are the unfortunate things that we could encounter on our feet + palms after miles and miles of gyrating on rocks + dirt.

Pain Relieving Patches: I remember being a wee-one in Vermont and my parents using Tiger Balm. Growing up around the balm + loving the pungent smell, it has turned into something that I seldom travel without. Because we are going to be required to move around after the race finish daily (food, blog, massage, meetings, mechanic fixes, etc) I wanted to make sure that if I needed something to say affixed it would...the answer? Patches! Due to my bum wrist I am sure I will be using these a lot.

Mad Alchemy Chamois Cream: This might be the MOST important thing that we are carrying to South Africa. If you are a cyclist you know the importance of chamois cream, and how miserable your day can end up if you forget it. Mad Alchemy is a small body care product company out of Colorado - they believe is making everything pure + natural. Phew!

The Honest Company, Healing Balm: Early on I was given a tip of mixing diaper cream + chamois cream together and using on your golden parts. Thanks to the addition of babies to Adam's family I had a great idea of mixing the two together and then putting in reusable baby food pouches. Healing Balm is an assistance for dry or chaffed skin...let's be real riding a bike isn't all sparkles + unicorns. 

Bao He Wan: This is another amazing Mia gift. This is a remedy for upset stomachs - I will admit that one of my biggest concerns about this endeavor is gut rot (another glorious potential plague of this race). A lot of individuals are said not to finish due to digestive issues from the the amount of sugars + salt loss that your body goes through.

Suan Zao: Sleeping normally isn't an issue for me, just ask Adam. However, put me in a tent that could potentially be surrounded by a family of black mamba, hyenas and other safari animals - I could see nerves keeping me awake - Suan Zao is a Chinese herbal sleep remedy.

Salt Sticks: This is a product that has was invented by an athlete. Salt loss for endurance athletes can be a huge issue - Salt sticks are a quick fix to minimizing cramps, and all the other horrible junk that can come from low electrolyte levels. In the past before big 120+ mile races I chug grape flavored pedialyte like it is going out of style - however, that isn't going to be an option while we are in Africa.

This is just a handful of the stuff we are carrying over with us - as I get deeper into packing I hope to share more info with you!

Sending Love,