One of the key things about Sausage cross is that we are all members of the industry. As such I thought it might be a good opportunity to interview Sausage Cross members to allow readers an opportunity to see what makes some of the local industry click and gives others perspective on how the local scene matches up to the rest of the world.
Also it’s a chance to get to know the people to heckle…
First up on the list is Scott Van Maldegiam. Scott is our local Giant rep and a fixture in Sausage cross for sure.
Q: Scott, let me start this off a little differently than other interviews do. This is more local community and industry related so I feel like I should touch base with everyone first and talk about my first recollections of meeting each other.
Personally I distinctly remember meeting you while I was racing for Bicycle Heaven and I stopped by to ride on the Spin Doctors ride. I was riding my 2005 Giant TCR C2 and you immediately asked me what I thought and whether or not I liked it. I told you it was the best bike I had ever ridden. Later someone told me you were the rep for Giant.
Later in that ride I remember your bottle cage coming loose and telling you about it. I remember strange things. How about you? What are some of your first memories regarding meeting each other?
A: Your memory is better than mine. I don’t remember that encounter, but it sounds like what I would say. I remember when you formed the Psimet team and you were trying to poach all the Spin Dr. racers . Well, I will leave it at that considering the first rider you got to come over (double ). I am cracking up writing this. I remember our many conversations about the industry, your goals, etc. Sorry, nothing exciting here.
Q: How many years have you been in the industry? What companies have you worked for since coming over to the industry?
A: That depends how you define “the industry”. I was a cycling coach after racing for a few years. I learned more of what NOT to do in setting up a coaching business. For anyone reading, don’t charge too little because the client doesn’t have enough skin in the game and won’t do the workouts, and if it demotivates you to have clients that won’t do the workouts, fire your client.
I have been working for Giant for over 3 years now. This is the first company I worked for that I would call “the industry.”
Q: What do you like most about working for a large bicycle OEM like Giant?
A: It is great working for a big OEM because you always have something to sell to everyone. The nice thing about working for Giant specifically is that it feels like a small company. It is NOT the typical corporate world. There is no “that’s not my job” type attitude. Everyone is willing to pitch in to solve problems. I Bleed BLUE (that’s Giant Blue, not IBM).
Q: What’s the least glamorous part of your job?
A: Doing warranties, but it is also one of the most important parts of my job.
Q: What is, in your opinion, something that you don’t think many riders understand or see about the working side of the cycling industry that they might be interested in knowing?
A: Bike companies don’t make a lot and thus the employees don’t make a lot. I am not complaining as those of us in the industry didn’t get in the industry to get rich. We did it because we love the industry and we love our jobs. Also, why are we in the Sausage Cross competition? Because our busiest time of year is when we want to be out riding. This job is much more than 40 hours a week and involves working many weekends.
With that said, I get to talk about the bike business all day! I get up everyday excited about what I do.
Q: What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the industry right now? What would you like to see changed in order to help the industry grow?
A: I have to pick just 1? If I have to pick just one, I would say cycling infrastructure and the government. It is always a struggle to fund bike lanes and paths. It is proven that when there are dedicated bike lanes and paths that bikes are used more as a form of transportation. This lessens the wear and tear on roads and our reliance on cars. The investment has paid off everywhere that has created the infrastructure.
Q: Time to work – what do you want everyone to know about Giant and/or their offerings right now?
A: Giant is the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world. Giant is the only manufacturer that controls the process from raw material to finished product. We buy raw carbon thread, mix our own resin and make our own Aluminum blend. This control allows Giant to engineer and manufacture the best bikes in the world. This is also why other bike companies rely on Giant to manufacture their bikes.
One of the main goals for Giant has always been VALUE. In most cases, Giant provides more at the same price or the same at a lower price than the competition.
Also, for 2012, every road bike was redesigned. The major changes were lighter weight, stiffer front ends and more compliant.
Q: What do you think the future holds for Giant and customers of Giant?
A: Giant is currently growing at twice the industry rate, so right now, the future looks great for Giant. But, we will never rest. We will continue to engineer and build better products for our customers. Also, we will continue to focus at providing the best support for our dealers.
Q: Sometimes racers like us can be a lot like baseball fans in that we always feel like saying, “there’s always next season.” – What keeps you wanting to race week in and week out?
A: This one is easy. This year, it is my daughter. She has made this year fun and new. I tell her finish and have fun; and she does. She is always excited to go to the races.
Q: Why cyclocross? What do you think makes cyclocross so popular right now?
A: It’s inclusive. There is more comaradarie than road racing and it pulls mountain bikers and roadies together. Whether you are the best or the worst, everybody cheers for everyone.
Q: There was a lot of explosive growth of mountain biking in the 90′s that eventually led to a collapse. This seemed to foster the re-emergence of the road scene at the turn of this century – what lessons can racers and promoters learn from what happened to mountain biking?
A: I wasn’t involved in cycling back then, but from what I heard, there were a lot of entities that tried to profit from the boom and lost focus on what made it great. So, as long as we don’t take ourselves too seriously and keep an watch for those that have less than genuine interest in growing the sport, I think we will be fine and it will continue to grow.
Q: Favorite beverage?
A: Diet Pepsi… I know lame. Favorite beer? I am not that picky, but when given a choice, Fat Tire.
Q: Favorite hand-up? (To give or receive)
A: Dollar… who doesn’t like money?
Q: If you were to be made into a part on a bike – which would it be and why?
A: Wheels. In my younger days, I was a fast runner so people always said I had fast wheels.
Q: What’s your goal for Sausage Cross?
A: Goals for Sausage Cross? Meet new people and have fun with our own (sloth like) kind.
So there you have it. While you are out there this week stop by and say “Hey” to Scott. He’ll be hanging out at the Spin Doctor’s tent, giving his daughter some words of encouragement, or suffering around the course himself thinking only 1 thing, “I MUST BEAT ROB!”
I’ll try to post up all of the reports and scoring that we have been collecting. Sausage cross is alive and well….just REAL busy!