We’ve brought you lots of info from the lovely members of elite women’s cycling team Fusion RT. Today, we thought we ‘d talk to the team manager, Terry. We’ve got some insight into what it’s like running the team – and his top tips for those looking to break into racing.
How long have you been running women’s cycling teams?
Three years as Abergavenny RC Ladies Team and three years as Fusion RT. I plan to be involved until we are unable to find the funding and sponsorship!
How did you get into it?
I have always helped up and coming riders, usually juniors in Abergavenny RC. I had the opportunity to help a international rower who was changing to cycling. I knew nothing about the women’s road racing scene but picked up a lot with going to races with her over a two year period.
After that I had gained something of a reputation in South Wales for my knowledge of the women’s road race scene! Coaches got in touch with me for my opinion concerning riders they had…
Some of these riders joined Abergavenny RC and I took them to road races. Some were of a high quality and were then passed on to better sponsored teams.
I was then offered funding to start a team through Abergavenny RC. We then formed a ladies team with the object of hanging on to these good riders that had come my way.
Running a Women’s Cycling Team
What do you get out of managing a cycling team?
Road Cycle Racing has been a huge part of my life. When the opportunity came to give something back I decided to give it a go.
It has given me a great deal of satisfaction and purpose.
What’s the biggest struggle with running the team?
Funding, mainly. There never is enough and as there are now more quality races than ever we have to find the extra funding to meet the rider’s needs.
The Team Members
Is there a large pool of riders to choose from?
In theory yes, in practice no. There are more riders than ever racing but for a good team you need a mixture of established riders and new riders with ability. As the team gets better you want to recruit good riders but there are only so many to go round.
So you look for up and coming talent to bring the team on into the future.
What do you look for in a rider?
Mainly desire to do well and the mental toughness to achieve those aims. If you have that then you are 90% there.
A dose of reality – road riders are in one of the toughest sports out there and the success they crave will not happen overnight. They need mental toughness and hard work.
A stable environment with those around you whether parents or partner willing to support also helps.
How do you know if you’ve found someone special?
Good performance figures help but I rely on seeing a rider race and having some form of interview. A sense of purpose and confidence help a lot, see also above.
Some of the time it is just a sense. The desire to do well just comes through with the body language.
What advice would you give to someone looking to join a cycling team?
Join a club with a strong membership of women who wish to race. Get yourself a good coach and give it a try at regional level. The cream always rises to the top.
Then when you have few good results apply to the National Teams. Your results will bring you to the attention of better teams.
We’ll bring you more from Terry in a couple of weeks – if there’s anything you’d like us to ask him, let us know in the comments! 🙂