YT Mob Log: Entry #1.18
Words by Martin Whiteley // Photos by Isac Paddock
Column Sponsored by Fox Shox
Alright guys, it’s almost that time of year again! World Cup racing is right around the corner and we’re kicking off our second season with exclusive YT Mob Log Presented by FOX. It seemed fitting in this first installment that we ask team owner and legend, Martin Whiteley about his off-season work to prep one of the world’s best teams for 2018 racing. We also asked about some UCI rule changes, race qualifiers and what race he likes best. Read on to learn a bit more of the behind the scenes detail that goes into making your favorite riders go fast.
Ah, the famous “off-season.” Yes it’s true, for the most part, we’re not racing between October and February, but for team owners and team management, this is actually our “on” season. This is when we’re laying plans for the execution of our next season. A smooth and efficient team relies on a massive amount of logistical work. While most of our hotels are booked well over a year in advance, we still need to fine-tune things as we work out our day-by-day plan for Season 2018. Things like, what day everyone arrives on site, what day everyone leaves, syncing up with flights, airport shuttles, rental car drop offs and so on.
I have a myriad of files and check lists I use throughout the off-season for logistic planning. The control panel for my planning is an excel file that shows where each and every team member is on any given day. I can see their flight days, their driving days, their rest days, race weeks and so on. From that, our famous ‘blue sheets’ are created. The blue sheet is essentially what some people call a running sheet – showing the activity plan for every hour of race week. We print them on blue paper so they stand out in our pits and in hotel rooms since we’ve never had blue as a team color on any of our race teams.
Blue sheets get done in December, double-checked by my road manager Paul and evolve until print day since small changes always happen along the way. These two things form the skeleton upon which other checklists are created. These include delivery sheets for all sponsor product and bike build sheets. We create one sheet for every bike to be built, showing all the individual components for each athlete. We have three bike build locations for 2018 so we need those sheets for each bike build manager. There’s also an event booking logistics file, which includes hotels, vehicles, team space bookings and rider entries.
For all this to work, the whole project needs staff, athletes, and partners to pay for it. Contracts need to be renewed with most staff and athletes during our off-season, and most sponsors either need to be renewed, and or new sponsors need to have their contracts created. Payment schedules need to be calculated to ensure income is arriving before expenses need to be paid. Sounds simple, but if you get this wrong you’re screwed. We pride ourselves on never having paid an athlete late, and reputation gets around if you’re a sloppy payer of staff and/or athletes. The excuse of waiting for a sponsor to pay means you didn’t schedule your payments correctly. Build a financial buffer and you won’t ever have that excuse.