A week ago I became a U.S. Nation Champion! AWESOME, GREAT, FANTASTIC, but like so many people asked me this week, "what does it mean?"
To put it pretty simply, it means I am a U.S. National Champion. It is a great title and one that I am very proud to have, but there are no immediate benefits (cash, cars, or houses) that come with it. As an athlete it means I am allowed to put stars and stripes on on all of my jerseys showing that I have the title. Also, for the next year I am allowed to wear a National Champion jersey anytime I race the Team Sprint. Pretty cool!
The biggest thing that becoming National Champ does is solidifies my abilities within my discipline and provides lots of opportunity for sponsorship. Since I am not funded by USA Cycling I must rely on sponsors to help support me as I train 30-40 hours a week. Obviously with that kind of training schedule it is very unrealistic to hold a "normal" job so it makes paying bills and putting food in my stomach a difficult task. All of the sponsors I have as of now are product sponsors. Meaning they supply me with what they make (CNP Nutrition, Muscletracs, Zarzana Chiropractic) making it so I am not paying out of my own money for the product or service and in return I represent them in all aspects of my life. This is great because not only do I get to pick and choose who I represent as an athlete, but also I choose my sponsors knowing that I am getting the very best nutrition, clothing, equipment, and whatever else I need. Putting in the time and training hard is a big part of it, but it's the little things that all of my sponsors provide that bring it all together and make the big difference.
As I continue to improve as an athlete and Team Nater (YOU) grows I hope to be able to attract a few larger sponsors with the ability to truly allow me to train full time without the worry and energy of how to make ends meet. Being able to have the financial side of things taken care of is the link from being good to great!
So as of now I am in contact with five possible new sponsors! I cant say there names just yet as things are not completely finalized, but stay tuned as the Team Nater family grows :)
If you would like to be apart of my journey towards the 2016 Olympics you can donate and purchase products at teamnater.com