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Speeding Up
Oct 28, 2009
This is an adventure of the Fat Cyclist, a cycling blogger named Elden Nelson. This story is a couple of months old, so it may not be new to you, but I thought I would post it in case some might have missed it. I have noticed the presence of talented writers on this forum, so I thought you guys might be interested in reading how a bit of creative writing on a blog can turn into an amazing journey.

The following is an excerpt from the blog. Video links that tell the whole story are attached after the "Cover Letter."

An Open Cover Letter to Johan Bruyneel

12.3.2009 | 9:48 am

As a middle-aged man, I cannot help but wonder whether I have made good choices in my life. Am I doing all I can with my life? Have I chosen the correct path? Or is there something more I could — and should — be doing?

These are the kinds of questions that keep a man up late at night. Pondering. Wondering.

It was during just such a session of personal introspection that I decided: I need a career change. And the career I have chosen is: Professional Cyclist.

As a man of action, I immediately set to work, updating my resume and finding out the top-tier teams I would most like to join.

After considerable research, I decided that I want to join Team Radio Shack. It’s a new team, so I feel I could really put my stamp on it; make it my own. Plus, I really like walkie talkies and pens that are also lasers.

I am highly confident that I will soon be a Professional Cyclist. So confident, in fact, that I am going to take you on my journey toward professional cyclist-dom even as it happens.

It all begins with sending my resume and cover letter to the manager of the team, As shown below.

Dear Mr. Bruyneel,

Please find attached my resume and press clip portfolio. I think they’ll go a long way toward showing you that I am an experienced and capable professional with both focus and drive.

I’d like to take a moment of your time to briefly summarize why I am applying for the position of Professional Cyclist at Team Radio Shack.

First of all, I am a team player. In my current job — Product Manager at an IT research and analysis firm — I have been in the position of both managing and participating in large teams, initiating large initiatives and driving them to completion. I feel this would be a valuable skill as a professional cyclist. While I cannot guarantee that I would be first across the finish line in every race, I can promise you that I would be able to work with other team members to ensure that they knew their own responsibilities as well as my own status at any given point in time.

Next, I have excellent communication skills. I am highly proficient at every Microsoft Office product, with particular emphasis in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and have given literally hundreds of presentations in the course of my career. If, at some point during a training ride or race, you or anyone else came up with an idea that needed to be presented before the team, I am your guy.

I am a fast learner. While it is true that at this point I have never won a professional-level bicycle race (to be candid, I have never won a sport-class local race, either), I learn quickly by observing others in the workplace. I have no doubt that after watching how other professional cyclists win races, I would be able to emulate their behavior and win races as well.

I take my job seriously. As I begin to accumulate “palmares” (you’ll note that I am already beginning to learn terms specific to the cycling world!), I would always acknowledge those who made it possible, including you. Further, I would never showboat across the finish line, throwing my hands in the air as if the victory belonged to me alone. Frankly I find that behavior unnecessarily self-focused and not conducive to a productive environment in the workplace.

I am willing to travel, within reason. I completely understand that this job requires some travel, and you have my assurance that this will not be a problem for me, as long as I am able to keep my “away” days to a maximum of three days per month, with the understanding that I need to be home with my kids on the weekends.

I am experienced. I have noticed that — with one notable exception — most of your riders are in their late twenties and early thirties. I believe that I can help fill the “experience gap” you have almost certainly observed in your team. As a 43-year-old man, I have twenty years in the professional world and can act as a mentoring figure to other team members who are still just getting started with their careers.

I have contacts in the industry. I don’t want to brag, but I have exchanged email with people at a number of bike-related companies, including Gary Fisher, Ibis, and Masi. I also have an in with the guys at Pro Bar, and might be able to help you get a discount. In these uncertain economic times, I think this could really help. And I am personally acquainted with a couple of really excellent jersey designers; I think I could get them to bump you up in their design queue.

I interview well, and have a sizable vocabulary, plus I am an excellent speller. I don’t want to seem boastful, but I was an alternate for my junior high school in the annual county spelling bee thirty years ago.

I am an Eagle Scout. I think that speaks for itself.

I’m a big fan of Radio Shack. I am a bit of an electronics DIY guy, and a few years ago, one of my sons and I actually built a robot from scratch, following instructions in a book and using parts primarily found at Radio Shack. How many of your (other) team members can say that?

Finally — and I think this is an important point — I really enjoy riding bikes. I think that will really shine through when cameras inevitable hone in on me.

I look forward to hearing back from you and to joining your team. Thank you for your time.

Kind Regards,

The Fat Cyclist

I am, as you might expect, very excited to receive his reply. I will keep you updated as events warrant.

Johan Bruyneel actually posted a response and comments on his blog about this cover letter, if you're interested in reading.

Fat Cyclist Goes to Camp - Part 1
Fat Cyclist Goes to Camp - Part 2
Fat Cyclist Goes to Camp - Part 3
Fat Cyclist Goes to Camp - Part 4

Here is the route that they took. Not extremely steep, but it looks like a long climb.


Speeding Up
Nov 11, 2007
What a great story ! Always nice when some unpredicable good news happens -
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