Colin Horton never owned a bike as a kid, now he owns three and has won regional and national medals riding one.
Three years ago Julian Ineson tapped Colin on the shoulder telling him he was involved in a new cycling event in the ILT Velodrome and thought it would be great for Konica Minolta, a printing business he manages, to get involved.
“I was thinking it was a swim/run type event and I thought we could do that, so I said yes,” he said.
“However, it was not until we actually got into it that we discovered it was a cycling event and none of us (the Konica Minolta team) had cycled in our lives.”
But cycle they did, and three years on Colin has lost over 12 kilos, rides most days between one and two hours, won his first New Zealand Masters title this year and even went across the Tasman to race in the Australian Masters National Championships; fair to say he’s hooked on the sport now.
He says he never forgot the first time they lined up on the track for their first practice race.
“We lined up for our first race during training with Arthur Watson Savage. When we finished, we couldn’t see them in the first straight and we thought that was outstanding, however little did we realise that they were almost lapping us from behind.”
The Corporate Pursuit involves teams of four riders in an Italian-style pursuit, with one rider dropping off after each lap. The team with the fastest time over the four laps is the winner and Horton says it is a fantastic team building exercise for staff.
“This is the best thing Konica Minolta has ever done as a work group, because it bonds us together and all we ever talk about now is cycling. My wife, Jill, is into cycling now and will be taking part in the Tekapo Race in a month’s time – she now has a mountain bike and track bike, Dennis is doing quite a bit and Charlie, our Regional Manager, comes down from Christchurch every year to compete in the Corporate Pursuit.”
“What I think is great about this cycling is that it puts people outside of their comfort zone – they are travelling upwards of 50km an hour only an inch away from the person in front. You have to totally rely on the person in front of you – they are a work colleague and they become mates.”
“It is not about the best rider in your team, but the worst. Julian said to us when we first started and has repeated several times since then, that the best team will win, not the best riders.”
“I believe the Konica Minolta team is a great looking team because from the very beginning, Julian impressed upon us not to worry about being quick, but to learn to sit right behind each other and a lot of the teams cannot do this, because it is difficult and scary to do. So far the Konica Team has never had an accident.”
“The thing I discovered about cycling is that it is an individual sport being done as a team – so even racing at the weekend, you have to team up with someone and work together towards an end goal, rather than doing on your own. It’s not about who wins – it’s about you and your mate which I think is fantastic.”
For more on the Harrex Group Corporate Pursuit click here.