The Race Director of The Pioneer and Motatapu, Danielle Sherman has entered the Whaka100 pairs event as a team called Golce and Debbana with Glenn Roberts. With a busy schedule leading into The Pioneer, you might wonder how she fits in time to train for the Whaka100. We caught up with Danielle to find out how she does it all.
You have a busy schedule leading into The Pioneer in 10 weeks, why have you entered the Whaka100?
Yeah, it’s about to get full on! I’ve managed events for a long time and have learnt that the busier and more stressed I am, the more I need to switch off and escape into the hills. Whether training or out for fun, there is nothing like physical pain in the wilderness to make you forget about the hundreds of emails in your inbox. I think it’s also important to walk the walk as a Race Director. It’s humbling and inspiring to see what people go through to make it to the finish. Gaining this first hand insight helps me improve the experience for riders on The Pioneer and Motatapu.
Why have you entered the event in the 100km pairs category?
I’m new to racing bikes, only have a couple events under my belt, so I wanted the support and guidance from my team mate. As much as it pains me to say, Glenn is a much better rider than I am so I’ll be looking to him to give me a heads up/direction on any of the techy sections, a nudge up the hills (if needed) and act as bike mechanic if all really turns to custard. I’m pretty confident that I can hold my own but the pairs aspect means I have that extra moral and physical support out on the course. Pairs racing is also at the centre of the Epic Series and gaining momentum around the world. It’s popular for a reason, rides with mates are always more fun.
The Whaka100 is regarded as one of the toughest single day mountain bike events in the Southern Hemisphere. Tell us how you are preparing for the race?
Thank you daylight savings! It’s been a bit tough to want to get out in the cold and dark to do long rides until now (or maybe I’m a bit soft?). As I said before, pretty new to this so I’m just trying to put in the KMs, decent climbs and improve my technical skills. For the next month I’m going to try and increase my hours in the saddle and hope that’s enough to keep me sharp and focused for the final couple hours grinding through the Whaka100.
What do you know about the trails in Rotorua?
While I haven’t spent much time riding the trails around Rotorua, what I have done blew me away. I spent a good 4 hours snaking around the Whaka forest and getting myself lost and it was MINT. Not only are the trails some of the best in the country but the MTB community is legendary. Everyone seems to embrace mountain biking (even those that don’t own a bike!) and the momentum that’s creating for the sport in NZ is a pretty cool thing to see.
What are your expectations of the event?
The event has a great reputation so I’m expecting a slick operation. Since I’m in the industry, I'll be looking to learn from Tim and the Crew. On a personal level I’m trying to tell myself to ‘just have fun’ but I’m too damn competitive for that. It’s going to be all nerves and all-go until the finish line!