Crunching through the snow in search of a Christmas tree, making turkey soup, wrapping presents purchased at Black Friday sales – these are the things that my Instagram feed tells me are normal activities the Sunday morning after Thanksgiving. What am I doing? Eating left over stuffing next to a gigantic howling heater, writing out talking points and thinking of our multi-month story arc for the 2017 professional cycling season. Dear Instagram: I guess I’m not normal, surprise surprise.

In its own way crafting speech notes and talking points is about as exciting as it gets for a measly PR guy like me. There is, of course, the fact that it helps push a bigger story forward each time your people stay on point; and you know – that’s important. However, there is also the sheer pride and excitement that occurs when you’re in a room full of stakeholders, your guy hits your talking point and the room erupts. Pride, but not in a zealous way.

2017 looms large for me, with just weeks away we have a huge editorial calendar to craft, a season of stories to sketch out, and our annual presentation to team sponsors right around the corner. With a shake-up on the communications side, I am now on the front line of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team’s PR and marketing. And in January we are going to come out of the gates bucking hard. We aren’t simply telling fans what happened like we have in years past, we plan on giving them a story and characters to follow throughout the season. First, however, we need to work on talking points and speech notes.

‘For 2017 we have prepared harder than any other year. We have not only brought together an amazing squad of athletes, but with the addition of a high-performance director we are focusing squarely on big season-long goals. Tour of California, The Women’s Giro, Philly Classic – we won’t just show up, we will be there showing the Pro-Tour teams what a hungry, prepared, American team on the move can do.’

2017 – I’m coming for ya.