Sunday, 11 September 2011

niche marketing

just dusted this one off from from the ipod archives!

It's become something of a trend that I write blogs on planes. Normally this is for lack of anything better todo but that's not the case today, because today boys and girls I got on the plane and turned left. It's a pretty small chunk of people who get to do that, ever, so thank you omnipod.

It also got me reflecting on the niches which some of us occupy in this sport. I mean some riders show an extraordinary capacity to do it all, and to be sure even the biggest sprinter can probably climb faster than you. but still for a sport which itself occupies a small area of the world of sports.

Racing in Belgium has made it abundantly clear to me that months of mountaineering in thirty plus degree weather and eighty plus degree humidity in Spain make you good at climbing mountains in the heat and don't serve as preparation for riding on the cobbles in the rain. Breaking your ribs also doesn't help!

Our sport takes in a huge variety of climates, disciplines and specialities. Not just in the racing sphere either. You can rise sportives, time trials, social rides, on road, off road. Sprint races, climbing races, long or short, hot or cold, day or night.

Different race are approached in different ways as well. The Americans tend to flow trough the corners, French nocturnes are much the same whilst the Belgians will slam on the anchors and then sprint out like they're running from a bull. This makes the back of a kermesse a savage place to be. In Belgium the first and second laps are the fastest, after 30 minutes half the race has been pulled and The break has rolled. By contrast the anglophones tend to roll into things with a more civil start.

Obviously this gives us the classic cliche that there's something for everyone. But it also means that the further you go down your little branch of the river the harder it is to paddle back out. You have to change your weight, your bike set up, your diet and nutrition (and in my case glucose control). Spain seems to be a pretty deep channel, just watch the vuelta when it ventures north of the Pyrenees. There seems to be a unique species of skinny and somewhat sketchy climber which I can fit into very nicely. A little Bit like this business class bed.

So now finding myself in belgium, battered and bruised. Changing my saddle has helped a lot but changing my legs will take a bit longer. Even the doctor told me that at70kg and 190cm I'm not built for the Benelux. But with some hard work and a couple of weeks behind the derny and racing the kermesses I can at least turn some cash.

So find your niche by all means but realize that the further down the branch you swing the harder it is to get back to another branch but to get to the top of. The tree, that's what you have to do.

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