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Privateer Life: Business Planning
Project TAG in 2024? Race updates, and I'm tired.
Project TAG in 2024?
Thats the short answer. I love what I’m doing, and going into 2024 I want to continue racing this multi-discipline privateer programme.
The long answer is, it depends. Racing a privateer calendar means that you churn through money, you only have to look at the €4500 I spent on my three weeks in Northern America. The model I’m doing depends on bringing sponsors in. Without sponsors I don’t race. Simples.
I’m going to talk about some of my goals from the business side here. Given that there’s still two months of the season to go, it’s early to start thinking about 2024 racing goals. But, it’s not too early to start thinking about the business side of things. The last thing I want to do is get caught in January like last year!
Sign Contracts - Sooner, Rather than Later
The sooner I can get contracts signed and sealed, the happier I will be. Trust me, you don’t want to be in the situation of it being January with just a plan in your mind, no money, no equipment and limited contacts. I think having to sort everything out in a matter of weeks was one of the most stressful months of my life.
Two year contracts
When going into contract negotiations for 2024 and beyond, I’m going to aim to sign two year deals, if possible. I’ve been on one-year contracts my whole time in cycling. I get why, but it does mean that you never have job security. It gets to July each year and you start stressing about your job.
In my opinion, a two-year contract is better for both sides!
Not until the end of year will I be sure of how much I made this season from Project TAG. As things stand, I imagine it’ll be just under €5,000. It has been an expensive season as it has been set-up season. From buying bike bags to building a TT bike, my budget has been eaten into this year.
I guesstimate that running a full calendar (including at least one N.American block) sits at €15-20,000, again I’ll have a full cost at the end of the year. A big goal of Project TAG going forward is for me to make a salary, which leads on to…
I enjoy the work that I do both on and off the bike in the cycling world, but it can sometimes become all consuming. Taking the step out and working with people outside of cycling forces you out of the bubble and gives you a different perspective. I’ve really enjoyed working with Jon and Nick at Pullwood this year, I hope to continue that relationship and take other steps into the non-cycling world too.
Stop having ideas, and start doing. The hardest part is to start, or whatever cliche you want to throw out. I’m having a media conundrum, as I recently wrote about on this Substack. I need to stick to one and go all in. Still working on that.
Racing Life Update
This year has been the most hectic of my life, and I’ve been riding the wave pretty damned well. I think it’s starting to show. Allow me to explain.
I’m currently on a plane to Prague to race a World Gravel Series in Poland. This will probably go out post race, so we will see what happens, but at the minute I don’t feel ready to race. I feel tired, and I think the year is starting to catch up with me.
At the start of the year, I told my coach, Alex, that I want to be flying in the May-June period. That was our goal at the start of the year, and it worked. That period was the strongest I’ve ever felt while racing. Ever since getting back from Northern America, I’ve felt flat. Now, I don’t feel flat like you normally do coming into the latter half of the season, when you feel a bit off but can still do crazy power numbers. I just feel tired.
Post race Joe here on the flight home. I was empty in the race. The kind of empty that if you were at home training, you wouldn’t even bother doing an easy coffee ride, but lie on the couch all day. It was one of my worst days on the bike ever. I couldn’t push at all. Zero gas. I need to lie on a beach for a few days.
Things aren’t slowing down either, here’s a breakdown of my last week or so through to the end of the season.
Last Wednesday I flew to the UK for a sponsor day with Pullwood Consulting, then I raced the Lancaster GP and flew to Girona on Monday. Tuesday brought a full day of work, with 4,000 words worth of articles to be written around the Tour de France TT and tech. Today is Thursday, and I woke up at 03:45 to get a cab to Barcelona. I fly to Poland today, race on Saturday and then fly back to Barcelona on Sunday. Monday is running around to pack for six weeks on the road. Tuesday morning I get another 4am cab back to Barcelona airport, and fly to Marseille for a four day GCN shoot, then Friday it’s a flight to the UK. That weekend brings a family wedding in the Midlands, then it’s back up to Grimsby for a day, down to Silverstone windtunnel with Velotec on Tuesday for skinsuit development. I’ll be in Grimsby for a week before heading to Scotland to work and watch the World Champs. From Scotland I fly straight to Denmark as I’ll be racing a WGS in Sweden. Then it’s back to the UK and things start to calm down with just a few TTs and Kings Cup. Whether I race Gravel Euros and Worlds remains to be seen.
Now, the last thing I’m asking for is sympathy. But, putting that down on paper does start to explain things. To think, I referred to this second half of the year as my “quieter” time of the year.
While trying to figure out why I feel shit, I looked to my last few seasons for any trends. Then it hit me, this is the first year since juniors that I’ve had a full interrupted race season.
My first year “pro” I was still in full time education doing my A-Levels so the team protected me. 2020 brought COVID, 2021 was still COVID, so we didn’t start the season until May, and then I fractured my knee in my first race of the year. Then, in 2022 I had six weeks off racing thanks to a back injury.
I think I might have over raced myself this year. I can’t even blame my sports director anymore. I’m my own sports director!! I’ve probably overworked myself too. I’ve said yes to pretty much any opportunity that has landed in my inbox. Whether being attracted by the price of a freelance project, the opportunity it could lead to, the media it could develop or simply because I think I’ll enjoy it.
It’s worth noting that some of this comes down to necessity. I can’t afford to say no to a lot of those opportunities, they pay the bills!
While you’re here…
I’ve added both paid subscription and a ‘Buy Me A Coffee’ link to this post. As the year progresses, I’m planning on building this blog and putting out articles which I’ve always wanted to write but for whatever reason, haven’t wanted to pitch.
Any money that I make from either my Substack, or BMaC link will go straight back into supporting my 2023 racing project. I am planning on keeping all content on here free to view though.
Project TAG, proudly partnering (both for my athletic and influencing ability) with…
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