After endless requests from Pro teams and Pro riders throughout last year requesting sponsorship from Wiggle (in return for a logo on their jersey) I decided in a moment of madness, that maybe we should offer full sponsorship to people we don’t know, who love their sport with the kind of passion that borders obsessive and that maybe with just a little more support from us it would help them match their aggressive ambitions.
The idea was born, we’d provide everything required to a Roadie, MTB’er, Triathlete, Runner and a under 18 athlete, in return they’d become ambassadors for us and write about their season along the way on the Wiggle blog. Genius idea (well so I thought) , so late last year we launched the competition to win sponsorship for each one of the above categories.
However I wasn’t quite prepared for the 2000+ applications that rolled into the inbox over the month, nevertheless I made sure that I read every single application, which took a little longer than expected (still, gave me something to do over Christmas).
Once the shortlist was drawn up and interviews were completed we selected the five winners, Ben (Road), Lee (MTB), Carolyn (Triathlon), Brinsley (Run) and Africa (Under 18). Each one fitted the profile that we had created (we felt that the right attitude was more important than results).
In January we met each winner, sorted them out with endless amounts of kit, provided bike fits and lots of shiny expensive bikes. The highlight for me was sitting down with each athlete and planning their season and discuss their ambitions and potential results for the coming season. Now as I sit here tucking into a large breakfast (which I’m sure is the one of the main reasons I’m not a top athlete) I can reflect on what each of them wanted to achieve and how they’ve actually done in relation to that.
Ben was going to race Road and MTB, wins were discussed but we were unsure what events would be ridden so early in the season. So far Ben has picked up various wins on the Road and this weekend won the Welsh Circuit Championships. Not only that, Ben is now appearing in dhb adverts in the UK and Australian Bike magazines and is still finding time to continue doing a great job coaching the future GB champions.
Lee was targeting the MTB XC events and a podium at the National Championships was his dream for the 2009 season. So after his win at the Wiggle Enduro 6, coupled with countless wins along the way, we were so pleased to hear from him saying he won the Welsh nationals and then topped that off with a place on the podium at the National’s beaten by 2008 Olympians Liam Killen and Oli Beckingsale. Lee is currently ranked the UK’s Number 1 in the Male Elite Category Rankings ahead of both Liam and Oli. Unbelievable season eh!
Carolyn was making the transition from the crazy world of Ironman events to the shorter Olympic and Sprint distance Triathlons, which it seems she has done with ease, winning various races big races already this season. I have been pushing Carolyn all season for a decent result at the London Triathlon (the biggest event of the season) and was so pleased to hear from her on Sunday saying that she had won her category by a whooping six minutes – a great achievement!
Africa and Brinsley have been enjoying themselves this season with good results in many races.
Last but certainly not least, the Wiggle Pro riders, Stu, Matt and Emma Kate, all three have achieved what we set out for at the start of the season!
Stu was going to have to race the three big UK events for me, Blenheim, Windsor and London, taking wins at Blenheim and Windsor, plus a 3rd in this weekend’s London triathlon ensured his overall win in the UK Super Series, another great year for Stu!
Matt had one race and one result on his mind all season, Mountain Mayhem, the win at the men’s Solo 24 hour was the only thing he could think about, sure enough, after crazy amounts of hard work, he got the win, everyone at Wiggle was thrilled for him and so was his wife to be, whom Matt proposed to when crossing the finishing line.
Emma – Kate wanted top 5 at the Antwerp 70.3 (half Ironman) and was over the moon with the result when she called in this morning to announce she had got fifth in a really tough field, which was great news given her recent form of puncturing!
All in all, the riders are happy with their individual results and I’m one happy chap, the competition was a success and the winners have turned out to be great ambassadors for Wiggle.
Now I’ve a dilemma what to do for the 2010 season………
Paul @ wiggle.