11 September 2011

The Challenge of the Ages

A high noon showdown between the old and the young
I envision the ultimate charity event. A competition between the best American pro riders - old versus  young. In two teams, racing for their chosen charity. In a vote of confidence, fans would donate to their chosen team. An additional sponsor donation would cover costs and go to the winning team's selected charity. 
The ideas is this:
Teams: 2 teams of 4-5 riders 

Team Old: George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Chris Horner, Christian Van de Velde, David Zabriskie. 
Old Geezers
Team Young: Matthew Busche, Tejay Van Garderen, Taylor Phinney, Ben King, Danny Summerhill.
Young Bucks
Charity event: Each team would pick the charity of their choice. Think Ryder Cup, by age, for charity. 
Ride (not race): A 60-mile road ride (double 30-mile loop ride), and a 15-20 mile individual time trial ride. 

Winner: Combine the times of the top 3 riders in each event for the best overall team. 

Award: Event sponsors would cover team costs. All fan donations would go to each team's chosen charity.  

Donations: Fans would become Team Sponsors for the day by donating any amount to the team's charity.

Coverage: Live online video of the race by CyclingDirt.com, with pre and post race video interviews by Bicycling.com, and photography and news by VeloNews.
This is the moment in time when an event like this could actually take place. Jim Ochowicz, Jonathan Vaughters and Johan Bruyneel might need to get involved, but why not celebrate these amazing American riders while we can. And for a good cause, however unknown that cause might be at this point. With the riders choosing their charities, the result could only be good. 
We as fans vote (a kinder way of saying bet) for the team by donating to their cause. Maybe we vote for both teams! I joked with my brother, "maybe they could ride for the Colombian teams." A reference to the low budget teams in the peloton. In some regards the low-budget teams inspired this idea.
I am convinced that if the fans and community had known that the Colombian teams needed additional support while competing at the recent USA Pro Challenge, cycling fans across this nation would have donated bikes, equipment, tents, food, vehicles, masseurs, mechanics, rooms and meals. The fans could have been team sponsors.
This realization, should lead us to believe (although this was my brother's idea) there is an untapped resource here. Fans could experience being Team Sponsors for a day. Donations (votes, bets) by fans, would be placed on the team, rider, directeur sportif, mechanic, masseur, team car, or podium girl (each team also gets to select their podium girl). We as fans, could play Flavio Becca for the day, by deciding how to spend our sponsor budget (donations). This takes the virtual team concept into the real world - for a charity. What fun it could be and what a competition.

A fun way to promote the sport to an even greater number of fans. The riders, in addition to supporting their own individual event rides (as is customary), would come together for this one team format charity event. Not a race, but a charity event (the UCI can donate if they want). Jonathan Vaughters could be free to ride in a Pope mobile with roof racks and a loud speaker race radio if he wanted. 
If the event appears to border on being a race, then each team can pick 3 guest teammates of their choice. It wouldn't matter if the riders came together in the east, west, or middle coast, or in Spain, because we would be linked online voting and cheering for this one event across the nation and from Europe. Think of the possibilities.