Sunday, January 9, 2011

WORLDS BOUND! The TRUTH of my journey!

I am ecstatic to say that I will once again be representing the USA for Cyclocross World Championships in 2011 in St. Wendel, Germany. This will be my third opportunity to represent the USA. After a very disappointing end to my 2009 season and pulling the plug on going to Worlds, I was determined to go to Germany in 2011. It is good to be back on form, able to breathe and be motivated to put in the extra effort and train until the end of January while everyone else is enjoying the snow.
The TRUTH I would like to share with everyone is that like most of you who race cyclocross, be it locally, nationally, internationally, I do it because I love it. I think there is a perception that I actually get paid to do this. Wrong. I am a sponsored athlete in the very minimum sense of the word. Don't get me wrong. I have GREAT sponsors. And amazing folks helping out. For the 2010 cx season, I rode for the Hudz-Subaru team, a team based in Colorado. With that, I was contracted to have a travel budget, support at most major races, and gear to race for the season (bikes, a helmet and 2 skinsuits.) That is it. The travel budget does not cover my entire season of racing. It covers a nice chunk, but it falls short. Especially with extending my season into January. It does not cover the $1000 fee that USA cycling charges its athletes to participate in the world Championships either. And I am very frugal when I travel. I don't receipt any of my food, I stay in host housing, I share expenses whenever I can. I am just grateful to be racing on great gear and having support at domestic races for the first time ever.
In fact, the previous 3 years I have done this, I have foot the bill entirely on my own, including 2 trips to worlds. The one exception being my first year racing in Europe and going to worlds in 2007-2008, while racing for River City Bicycles, Dave Guettler gave me a generous cash donation. The following two years, racing for Monavie Cannondale, I was only supported through mountain bike season. The first year I didn't even get cash. Both years I was given some frames to race cyclocross. The rest was my expense. Parts for my bikes, wheels, tires, travel, etc. And no support at the races.
Why am I telling you this? Well, I have heard comments from people, some while racing, "well, she gets paid to do this." Au contraire. Every hour I train I don't get paid. I consider it my job, but I do it for free. I do it because I am passionate about cycling, about racing, and am driven to succeed. I have been fortunate to be able to take a leave from the 'real world' and not work (thanks to the support from my amazing husband), so yes, I do have the flexibility to train like a pro. But, when people ask me what I do for a living, how do I answer? Yes, I am a 'professional' cyclist, but I don't make a living. I don't even cover my expenses. And I consider myself lucky.

I am lucky because I live in Oregon. I am lucky because OBRA rocks. I am lucky because when I started racing cyclocross, I had super fast people to chase around and make myself fast. I am lucky because when I ask for help, people step up. I hate asking, but this year I have asked. Due to the generosity of one of my favorite local breweries, we are going to have a party!!! And this party is going to help cover my expenses to participate in 2011 CX World Championships.

On TUESDAY, JANUARY 18TH @ 6 p.m. until close, HOPWORKS URBAN BREWERY (HUB) will donate $1 for every pint drank in my honor. You can just come for beer in the bar. You can bring the family and dine in the dining room. You can come for a nightcap. 6 p.m. until close, drink as much beer as you can, because you will be doing your part in sending me to worlds!

NO RSVP necessary. Just make sure to mention "Sue Butler" or "CX World Championships". And there will be a raffle. Prizes are being finalized and will be publicized soon, but it is going to be good. REAL GOOD! Because my sponsors and my supporters rock!

Please join us. Make sure to come say 'hi'. I'll be in the bar. Probably selling tickets for the best raffle of the season.


Sonja said...

Paid or unpaid, we are proud of you for chasing your dreams!

Mike H said...

$1000 to USA Cycling? Wow! Shouldn't they be paying you?
Go get 'em Sue! Good luck.
Next Up - The Wallowas.

Matt Haughey said...

I'm out of town next week. If you have a paypal account, drop your email here and I'll send a few bucks your way.

Julie Dixon said...

Woot! Woot! Wish I could be at the party! But since I can't be there, I'll just take a chance on the raffle. Congratulations! Proves that hard work and perseverence wins every time. So very proud of you. Race hard!