Home Articles Women's Prestige Race Series About
Rasmussen College Summit: Moving up the ladder

    Panel Discussion, ďMoving up the Ladder,Ē moderated by Jim Miller.

    Panelists include:
    • Paula Bohte, Flanders Cycling Team
    • Alix Kerl, Midwest Womenís Cycling Made Real/Verve Racing Team
    • Paul Forsythe, Team Kenda Tire
    • Nicola Crammer, PROMAN Womenís Cycling Team

    Q: If you are a rider who has never raced, how do you find out about a club and begin racing?

    Alix: Attend clinics promoted outside cycling world, gym club rides, work place, learn from experienced women cyclists and mentors.

    Q: As a local rider who wants to race regionally, how do you go about getting picked up? What do you look for in a rider?

    Nicky: I look for a few things:
    • Talent on the bike
    • Somebody who wants to be involved in developing a team. Who is active, has latitude
    • and flexibility.
    • Is a team player
    • has a fun personality and gets along with team members
    • Goal isnít to win individually, but exerts team effort

    Q: What are the benefits to racing as a team versus racing with an individual?

    Paul: The benefits are much greater racing with a team. They can provide you with many things that you canít attain on your own.
    • Teams can provide materials such as helmets, wheels, bikes
    • Teams provide development and strategy
    • There tends to be a slower learning curve when you train by yourself
    • Teams take exterior anxieties away that come with racing so athletes can focus on the race

    Q: How does a rider find the right team?

    Nicky: If you are looking for a team, talk to people, race hard, be professional and be a team player; help out other riders.

    Paul: Communicate, visit websites, send your resume out. Riders usually can find teams, itís finding a team that is a good fit with your goals and personality that can be more difficult.

    Q: What can a rider expect when coming to a team?

    Nicky: Teams should be very realistic about what they can offer a new team member. Some of the things you can expect:
    • Great sponsors
    • They encourage balance
    • Mechanics, travel expenses, sponsorships and possible salary
    • Not many teams can offer a lot to women at this point, but whatís most important is that you find a team who is willing to do everything they can to meet your goals
    • Mentorship
    • Opportunity to race in Europe on a development team and gain outside experience

    Paul: A rider can expect to be offered opportunity. Also, a team should have a list of races they intend to participate in and follow-through on that promise, doing everything they can to make it happen.

    Alix: We travel regionally and focus on teamwork. Also, we work to develop the entry tier of cycling and help younger riders.

    Q: Whatís your motivation for doing a good job? How do you start a team?

    Nicky: My passion is why I do it. I am a competitive athlete. My personal goals have changed and I am very dedicated to those goals.

    Paul: This is a hobby of mine. I coach and race in my free time. I do it to see the smiles at the finish line. The women I have had the opportunity to work with are so dedicated.

    Some additional benefits a team can get from being apart of a team include host housing and a team car.

    Alix: Relationship with Midwest Cycling Made Real
    • Series, racing with 10-12 people
    • Outgoing group riders

    Paula: I like being out in the field at larger races
    You can start a team by working with the MN Cycling Federation

    Q: How can programs help or hinder development with local associations?

    Paul: Having a coach of any type will encourage a faster learning curve. Even internet programs can help you organize a schedule.

    The question a rider needs to ask is how many people the coach is responsible for? In my opinion, a coach canít be responsible for more than 8-12 people and do it well.

    Also, finding a coach is a lot like finding a team. You need to find a coach that is a good fit for you.

    Nicky: Itís important to remember that good race selection or results doesnít always mean the best coach. Also, there are different types of coaching out there. Some need more technical coaching while others need nutritional coaching.

    Q: How many hours should you spend training?

    Itís important to take a look at your own schedule and be realistic. More time isnít always better if you are working yourself to exhaustion.

    Part of training that a team or group can offer is team building and endurance training.


    Copyright Women's Task Force, 2004-2006. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED