This was sent to Mr. Vangeli from a friend of his:
Since it's not clear if or when there might be a meeting and if I would be able to make it at that time, I thought I would pass along some of the thoughts I have had over the last couple of years and how they relate to my experiences with collegiate cycling. Now, collegiate cycling is likely to have changed quite a lot since my days (I raced with John Stenner, if that name rings any bells, and was at CU even before Tyler Hamilton), but maybe it hasn't, so I thought I'd toss these out there.
What I remember from being on a collegiate cycling team is this: we were all in college and we were all bike racers. We had fun, we put on a race, we went to other races and we had meetings. It was a good time, but it never really seemed to be all that it could be. What I've realized of late is that we were missing an important piece of the pie: Non-cyclists. I mean, it is a cycling team so it makes sense that we were all cyclists. But when you look at a 'real' cycling team (e.g. a Pro Tour team) they have all sorts of other people: directors, finance people, logistics specialists, mechanics, etc. And what better place to get these folks involved in cycling than in a college atmosphere.
My thought is that by getting these non-racers involved two things could be accomplished: First, racers could focus on the task at hand: racing. The need to be their own driver, planner, mechanic, etc. could be reduced or eliminated allowing them the time to just train and race. Second, for the non-cycling folks there is an opportunity for some 'resume building'. If someone working on an Organizational Management degree could become involved to plan out transportation, lodging, meals, etc. for the team that could be a good feather in their cap when looking for a job in the 'real' world. If someone working on a marketing or advertising degree could put together a sponsorship proposal and present it to local businesses to drum up some support for the team they could put that on their resume. Someone working on an art or graphic design degree could work up some new team kits every so often (as well as work with the advertising/sponsorship folks) to get some resume fodder for themselves. Someone working in web design/computer science could put together a great web home for the team and get a very tangible item for their resume. All of these folks - and maybe some more - could work together to put together SMU's annual race, getting the permits and sponsorship and promoting the event to the public. There are probably a number of different areas at a school like SMU that could contribute something to the program, and yet have really nothing to do with actually getting on a bike.
To me, a setup like this would seem to be win-win, with everyone getting something out of the deal. It might take a while to build up to a system like this, but I think it could be done. Something like this has the addiitonal benefit of familiarizing an entirely new group of folks with the world of cycling. These people might well go on to then either stay in cycling or become patrons of cycling at whatever company they end up because they would recognize the potential benefit of exposure in the sport.
This all might be pie in the sky, but then again it may just work. As I mentioned, perhaps you and other clubs are already doing something along these lines. I just know we weren't anywhere close to thinking this way when I was doing the college cycling thing. Think about the football team and how successful they would be if it was only the players trying to do everything. By having coaches, trainers, medical, logistics, marketing, etc., etc, they players only have to concentrate on playing (although I suppose they should concentrate on their studies, too, right?) which then helps to make them better players. And I think that by pulling people into the program that could gain some resume material it would really provide a benefit to these folks as well as the team.
Well, that's the Reader's Digest version of what's going on in my head regarding collegiate cycling. If you've got any questions or comments about all of this gibberish I'd be happy to ponder some thoughts a bit more.
Take care and maybe we'll see you out on the road one of these days.