Among other things, this year’s USA Pro Cycling (USAPC) Challenge in Breckenridge was special in hosting the first annual Women’s USAPC Challenge. I was able to spend some time with Lisa Hunt, manager of the Amy D. Foundation women’s cycling team. I went into my time with Lisa without expectations, as I had no clue what means to manage a team of six professional female cyclists from all over the country.
The Amy D. Foundation team was one of 12 female teams racing in the Women’s USAPC Challenge. It is also one of the few “composite teams,” meaning they pull members from far and wide to make their ideal Amy D powerhouse team. When I arrived at the house where Amy D. team members were staying in Breckenridge, the women had just flown into Colorado and met their teammates within the past 24 hours. There were three Colorado members on the team, including Mara Abbott, a Boulder, Colo., resident and one of the teams more well-known athletes. (Abbott ended up taking third place overall in the women’s inaugural event.)
So what does it take to hold a team of six world-class athletes together? Attention to detail — not only from a physical and mental standpoint, but housing, logistics, nutrition and a million other moving parts that all need to blend seamlessly.
Here’s are just some of the things a team manager must do before, during and after each race:
• Gather information for athletes to pre-ride the course for the time trail
• Scheduling massages for all six cyclist
• Work with the bike technician to make final adjustments before race day
• Ensuring proper nutrition of the Amy D athletes
• Attend a two-hour press conference with selected riders
• Attend registration with UCI (International Cycling Union) racing officials for athletes
• Attend the pre-race meeting to get final directions from the race director
• Arrive at team preparation area the morning of the race for warm up and gear check
• Communicate via radio contact with bike techs and support drivers while athletes are on course
• See each rider across start and finish line
• Aid in proper cool down and post-race nutrition
• Ensure proper care is taken with all race equipment
• Attend awards and all post-race media interactions
• Ensure proper rest for the next race stage
And that’s just the race-related stuff. Between housing, transportation to and from race events, and countless other details, it’s a wonder that team managers get any sleep!
I was also privileged to work alongside the Women’s USAPC Challenge race coordinator Laura Charameda, who gave me a “big picture” perspective of coordinating 12 teams at once. These two women (and many others) put their blood, sweat and tears into making the inaugural USAPC Challenge a success, and are committed to raising women’s cycling to the same level of prestige and awareness as men’s cycling.
You go girls!