What Running an NRS Team is All About, and Some Key How-tos
BY LACHIE AMBROSE
It’s been a while since I’ve put pen to paper (or some keyboard appropriate equivalent) and knocked out a blog for the team, which is probably a good thing as it means the boys have been doing their share. This one, though, has been in the back of my head for the last 18 months, so I figured it’s probably time to put it down. I’m three years into this project, which started as an idea and has become an all-consuming part of my life. So, I figured I’d give a few quick pointers to anyone who’s thinking about starting an NRS team.
It’s all about driving:
You probably think the job should be about riding bikes, but in reality, the main thing I do as a manager is driving – and I’m not talking about in the convoy for 4 hours a day. It also includes transfers, driving long miles cross country to and from races, and yes, crawling along behind a bike race (which, I can promise you, is not all excitement and adrenalin). My best effort in the last 3 years? Melbourne to Warrnambool, which encompassed the following: drive from Adelaide to Melbourne, Melbourne to Warrnambool (behind a bike race, at 40km/h), Warrnambool to Melbourne, Melbourne to Warrnambool, and then Warrnambool to Adelaide. All in the period of 54 hours (which works out to be around 26 hours behind the wheel). This is probably less painful though than driving to Canberra (a cheeky 15 hours) after work only to pick the boys up at the airport the following morning. You get the picture. Sleep is for the week.
Next up its cleaning:
I seem to spend much more time cleaning things than actually at bike races. Washing bikes, cars, trailers etc are all rather painful tasks. Then you add to the mix dishes, towels, kit, and my personal least favourite item: drink bottles. Seven riders, multiple bottles a day (sometimes 6+) means a heap of bottles to be cleaned. Every day of every tour.
So, if that hasn’t scared you off; then here are my quick-fire tips to make it work:
Be prepared to sleep on couches and air mattresses:
Now 8 months into the year I’ve only managed to sleep on one trundle bed. The rest of the time my bed is either inflatable or bodged from the longest couch available, sometimes it’s convenient to be short. (I did get extravagant and now have an electric pump for my air-mattress though…)
Get familiar with Urban Dictionary:
I’m only a handful of years older than the median age of VDR (which is around 20) – but even with that small age difference I’m continually looking to Urban Dictionary to work out what exactly is going on. This year’s top words: “Esketit”, “Yeet”, “Gucci”, “Rig”, “Ceebs”, “Boujee” (sp… i have no idea..)
Learn to like (love) Pasta:
Yep, the team will go through around 4kgs a day – so you better learn to love it!
Be prepared to spend all your income on “Good investments”:
This includes about half a dozen go-pros, more tools than some bike-shops, and a variety of goods out of China with team branding all over it. These will come in useful when you “finally get the online web shop happening”.
People don’t really get bike racing:
Be ok with the world thinking that you and “your friends” just ride your bike around: – the concept of cycle-touring seems more acceptable to the world than the concept of bike racing.
When the general populous learns that you run a team which races bikes – don’t be disappointed when they lose interest when they realise that those bikes don’t contain engines.
If you hold their interest past this point – be prepared to be asked if you are racing the Tour Down Under. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Even with our entire team budget successfully gambled on the roulette wheel a start would not be attainable.
You should also be prepared to explain to people that it doesn’t actually pay the bills (or any if I’m honest) to run a cycling team.
Accept that the concept of “enough phone data” is a myth:
Especially when you have riders with university lectures they really need to watch (which then turns into a week of Facebook and Youtube when they “forget” to disconnect to your personal hotspot).
You’ll consider selling your (not-so) sports hatch to purchase a vehicle more commonly associated with large families:
As it’ll be more convenient for about 5 days of the year when you could really do with an extra seat.
So why should you start a cycling team?
In a nutshell, it’s pretty rewarding: kind of like having 11 children without the nappy phase (but unfortunately not out of the tantrum phase).
And sometimes it’s fun.
Till next time.