ERICA SELECTED AS TEAM MANAGER FOR 2018 COMMONWEALTH GAMES MTB TEAM, GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA

In a year-long tender process, Erica was selected as MTB Team Manager to assist Alan Hatherly, Mariske Strauss and Cherie Redecker, in their bid to podium at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.  An honour, indeed.  It was also quite special being part of the sport of cycling, once again, at this level!  Brought back great memories.

Elrick Kulsen, was our code manager (Cycling) and each discipline had their own dedicated and event specific manager.  Annerine Wenhold (multiple track world champion, in sprint events), was track team manager.  Bosseau Boshoff, was the road team manager.  Together, we were on hand to assist one another should the need arise.

Legend MTB mechanic, JP Jacobs, Alan’s good friend and right-hand man, was our exclusive mechanic, but had to be loaned to the road team, when required.

 

On the first day of track competition, Annerine had her hands full and requested that “all hands on deck” be applied, as she had 2 team pursuit teams doing their qualifying races.  Each team pursuit team consists of 4 riders – thus 4 managers were required to look after 2 riders each.  Scheduling is critical for these events – arrival, warm-up, rituals etc. had to planned down to the minute.  Bearing in mind that if there was a “course hold” we’d have to be on top of things to keep athletes informed.

Bikes have to be scrutinised for elements such as on-boad motors, minimum weight and specific measurements have to be adhered to (height of handlebars, extension of time trial bars, distance of tip of saddle to BB etc.)  All this had to factored in to the time frame planning.

Equipment for track riders:  each athlete has their own set of rollers, own road bike and own race machine . . . . so many hands made light work!

I had the opportunity to go out training once or twice with the MTB riders – got to ride around the surrounding roads, as well as the race course.  It wasn’t a particularly difficult track, although the actual terrain made it super technical in that if your tyre pressure was not 100 %, there was a 95 % chance you could puncture.  Many short, sharp and super-steep uphills, and MANY corners – all this favoured a highly skilled rider.  A good example of this:  if your corning ability was not on par, you could easily lose up to 10-15 sec/lap, if not more.

In a highly controversial race between to the 2 Kiwi riders, Anton Cooper and Sam Gaze, the highlight of the racing was Alan Hatherly’s bronze medal.

It is the task of a team manager, to ensure all T’s are crossed, it I’s dotted as well as to enable each of the riders to have EXACTLY what they need in order to perform – from room space, to meals, to time schedules, to training terrain and accessibility, to those small “special things”.

It was also great having a team with more women, than men 😉

Quite ironic:  the amount of effort that the event organisers went to for just the women’s race – there were only 15 starter on the line . . . . an impeccably organised mtb event.  Such was the organising, that when the SA medical team questioned the race medics – they had 1 medic per athlete for the event. . . . . wow!!!!  Our SA medical team was amazing – we had our own doctor AND physio – on-site with us on race day.  Gideon Sam, even came to watch Alan’s race – it was a great opportunity to show-case MTB to SASCOC!

Big thanks to CSA for the appointment!