I don’t make any effort to disguise the fact that I am the President of PSIMET/Zilla Racing. I train, I race, and, yes, I get sponsorship deals. The difference between my team and many others is that I have hand chosen the sponsors. These are brands that I trust, have long-standing relationships with, and have integrity.
When a rider pulls up to me at a stoplight and asks what Aerocat is or where PSIMETs are made, I feel free to expound at length about the brands, the products, the quality, and my experiences. I am not trying to sell them, in fact, if you don’t ask…I won’t chew on your ear.
The most important aspect is that I trust these brands. I ride an Aerocat R350 and a handful of different PSIMET wheels throughout the race season. I train on them incessantly and I do not baby them. I hit potholes, I hold lines over manhole covers, and I bomb descents with double switchbacks and decreasing radii. I have also never broken a spoke, had a wheel trued, or had any feeling that I have reached my frame’s or wheels’ limits.
Fast forward to yesterday when I hit the freezing cold streets of Denver with the cyclocross bike to dodge leftover snow banks and pools of water. My cross bike is not made by Aerocat and my wheels, sigh, are not PSIMETs. In fact, while I absolutely love that cross bike for its ability to get my training in despite the road conditions, is has become wholly unreliable do to the wheelset.
With 20 miles to go yesterday the rear started to wallow beneath me—slow leak. I spun on, nursing a bit of air in every 5 miles, when finally it gave up the ghost. With my co2 empty, the temp sub-freezing, and the misses unreachable at the store, there was little left to do than pull an Olano for the last 6 miles.
I wouldn’t advocate doing that…ever. I wouldn’t have done it on the PSIMETs, but this rear wheel is a consistent bastard and he got what he deserved.
In as much time as I have owned the CX bike (six months; keep in mind that I ride it maybe once a week) I have had as many rear tubes blow as I have ever had in the past five years. The wheels jump out of true if you so much as whisper callous things to them. In short, they have become untrustworthy.
I have trued them, bought new tires, deburred the inside of the rims, replaced rim tape, and then repeated the process; alas, they are a crappy excuse for a wheelset that do an injustice to the bike itself.
What if I had chosen that wheel manufacturer as a sponsor…just because they gave me a sweetheart deal? How would I feel with their name plastered all over my kit? What would I say when teammates, more so strangers, asked me about the brand? To spit on the brand would be spitting on myself for securing that deal.
Thankfully, I ride for a team that I am proud of. We ride PSIMETs. Ask me about them.