04 February 2010

There is no shirt for the fastest sprinter

I must say I am very impressed by the series of videos about the 2009 season of the Cervelo Test Team as sponsored on bartape.net and/or as video podcast on itunes. Dominic and James have pointed this out.

I include below some screenshots from the videos I have made on my PC with Quick Screen Capture, a very handy tool which works exactly as "print screen" should work: It takes a precise "photo" of your PC screen in the moment you press the button, so you can for example also take pictures out of movies which you cannot with print screen. Or from Allsports.

Aesthetically, Cervelo has come a long way from their first bike shown above to the bikes they make today. I am in no position to judge, but looking at the way they design their bikes, their clothes and also now their videos, I believe that aesthetics play a big part in their brand image - and it's a different kind of aesthetics as compared to other makers and teams. Not as loud and "sportive", focusing more on melancholy, suffering, pain. The only other cycling-related maker than comes to my mind with a similar image is Rapha.

What I like about the videos in particular is, what is missing: They are almost bare of any direct promotion for Cervelo products (actually the first ones are, but this becomes less and less until the final Tour de France videos). And in addition they are also almost bare of any information about the results of the race the team entered. It is just about cycling and riders speaking about cycling. And combined with the Koyaanisqatsi like soundtrack, again bare of any traces of Euro-techno-beats, it appeals very much to the romantic rider in me. I would love to have seen "Road to Roubaix" in a similar matter.

Another thing that I learned from the videos is that a cycling team consists of riders, mangers and support staff of many nationalities, Italians, Spanisch, Germans, Australians, Swiss, Norwegians .... and they communicate in English. Naturally perhaps most of them don't enjoyed (?) higher education and at least my classmates who were brilliant in the gym were not equally gifted in learning foreign languages.

Now, in international business topics as "intercultural management" and "crosscultural communication" are big topics and often cited as major factors for success or failure of international business ventures. Now hearing some of them speaking English, I wonder how can they communicate effectively during the races: Some of the Germans speak with accents of German offices in US WW2 movies while the Australians/NZlanders are hard to understand even for me.

As someone who, sitting in a restaurant with his teammates, wasn't even able to bring across the difference between "fencing" and "fanzine" to his English mother tongue teammates, I wonder how they manage to decide strategy on the (poor quality) team radio during a race when every second counts.

All in all it is a very motivating video, I find some traces of my own addiction to cycling included in the footage and after watching it I had the urge to ride out on my bike immediately.

Which I did.

1 comment:

David Litt said...

Michael -- I could not agree more with you, Dominic and James -- a great series of videos about guys "living the dream."

Sastre and Hushovd come off exceedingly well, as does Cervelo as a company. And Haussler looks like he could be a real star over the next 5-10 years -- not just because he is came into his own as an excellent racer in 2009 (especially on cold rainy days) but because he is a natural in front of the camera, unlike, say, Sastre or Hushovd.

Let's get some teams to Transalp in 2011 so we can all get just a bit closer to the dream for a week, even if we don't live it!