I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Ventum as my bike sponsor!
Like many of you, I followed the launch of Ventum last year with great interest, intrigued by their bold mission statement to build the world’s fastest triathlon bike. Ventum literally broke the mold by ditching the tired double triangle frame in favour of a radical downtube-less design. My interest grew with the release of Ventum’s wind tunnel data, showing a significant aerodynamic advantage over its closest competitor. The Ventum One not only lays claim to being the world’s fastest triathlon bike—others have made that empty assertion—but backs it up with testing conducted in a refreshingly transparent and methodical manner. Where other companies have been secretive and even downright deceptive with testing and presenting data, Ventum has been open, clear and receptive to public feedback.
I’ll draw confidence from knowing that none of my competitors have a technological edge on me. I also appreciate the parallels between Ventum and my triathlon career; we’re both newcomers, working hard to make our way to the top.
In keeping with the theme of my blog, I wanted to share more than your average pro sponsor announcement. Here’s a look back down the long road to landing my dream bike sponsor.
Cody, why don’t you have a bike sponsor? You should find one.
I first recall hearing this question several years ago as I began to find some success on the local Ontario triathlon circuit. Initially, I didn’t have a good answer. I could score a bike for being half decent at exercise? Cool!
Before long, I was offered a “pro deal” on a popular triathlon bike through a local shop. I was way too excited… at first. As I pored over the geometry, specs and aerodynamic data, I realized that the bike in question would be a compromise in many respects. I decided that I was simply unwilling to compromise on such a critical piece of equipment, even if it meant turning down a heavily discounted bike. I politely declined and bought a used bike that came closer to my high standards. This offer wouldn’t be the first casualty of my pedal-powered perfectionism.
During my debut professional season in 2014, two more opportunities fell into my lap. One was with an industry leading brand, but managed through a local distributor. The other would deal directly with the company, though they were a lower tier brand. Contemplating and eventually declining both offers helped me affirm exactly what I desired in my ideal bike sponsor. I wanted to build a long term relationship with a company on the leading edge of bike technology, and nothing less would do.
I soon realized that the exceptionally short list of companies that met my criteria wouldn’t even give me the time of day. With this lofty goal, I set about building my resume, meanwhile riding an obviously outdated bike that not only suited my tight budget, but also advertised my availability.
My lack of a bike sponsor became more conspicuous as a I found myself on 70.3 podiums. And that question continued to dog me. A few enterprising Twitter followers even began tweeting at the major players, telling them to get me a bike! At many races, I was probably the only pro in the top half of the field without some sort of bike deal. Part of me felt a little smug wheeling my second hand rig into the pro transition area amid all the gleaming sponsored carbon. But I also couldn’t stand the thought that I was giving up any technological edge to my competitors.
Last fall, coming off my best season, I started getting warmer on the bike sponsor front. Two more opportunities materialized with highly regarded companies. Both were compelling, but they still felt like settling short of the very best. Although I had no right to be so choosy, one company in particular had caught my eye…
My dialogue with Ventum was short and sweet. After years of searching, this was the leading edge innovator that I would be proud to represent, recommend and grow with. It was well worth the wait.