WE HAVE THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE WITH SILVERBACK AMBASSADOR, Greg Miller.
Temarah: Being the Lead Motorbike at the UCI World Cup & ABSA Cape Epic, how did that all come about?
Greg: I had done some work for the Absa Cape Epic in 2014 and 2015. I managed their trade tech zone. When a spot opened up for another lead motorbike for 2016, I had just completed the 2015 Amageza Rallye. They obviously realized that I would be better suited to being on a bike. I was lucky enough to be offered the spot.
Temarah: What does it all entail being the Lead Motorbike at these two big events?
Greg: The Lead Bikes roles are different on the World Cup and The Absa Cape Epic. At the World Cup we had 2 lead bikes alternating leading the races. The bike that wasn’t leading out the race would do a track sweep, about 2 minutes before the start of each race. This is to make sure the track was clear and that all the marshals were ready.
The lead bike on the race would be between 30 sec to 1 minute ahead of the leader. The purpose of indicating to the media camera’s that the leaders were approaching. As well as getting the marshal to make sure the track was clear. Also, have a number board on the front of the bike indicating to the spectators how many laps are left.
On the Absa Cape Epic, we have 3 lead bikes. We would run ahead of the leaders and various time intervals. Usually, we are marshaling traffic at the start of the stages, as the race usually starts on district roads. Then we are making sure that all the route markers are clear and there is nothing obstructing the route. We carrying marking tape with us just in case we need to clarify any markings. The route guys do such a great job that our days are usually pretty easy.
Temarah: How many times have you been a Lead Motorbike?
Greg: This is my 3rd year as a Lead Motorbike at the Absa Cape Epic and my 5th year working on the event.
Temarah: How does one prepare for an event like this?
Greg: I’m not nearly as well prepped as I would like to be. Even though we are on motorbikes, you still need to have a decent level of fitness. Riding off-road bikes on tight mountain bike trails and be pretty physically demanding. For the past few months, I have been super busy working in Photographic production and have had minimal time to train. In the offseason, I try to keep myself in shape Running, Mountain Biking and Surfing.
Temarah: What are the essential tools/resources that you will need?
Greg: We carry route tape with us. We have a saw, in case we need to cut fallen branches and wire cutters in case we need to open fences or closed gates.
Temarah: How does it feel to be taking the Lead?
Greg: We have the best seat in the house. We get to watch the world’s best marathon racers battle it out at the front of the race and we get to ride some pretty awesome trails, that would usually be out of bounds for off-road bikes.
BEING A SILVERBACK AMBASSADOR
Temarah: How long have you been riding on a Silverback?
Greg: I’ve been a Silverback Ambassador since 2014. I had taken an overextend sabbatical from Mountain Biking after I retired from racing professionally in 1997. The guys at Silverback were instrumental in getting me back on a Mountain Bike.
Temarah: What does being a Silverback Ambassador mean to you?
Greg: The Silverback guys got me back into Mountain Bikes and it was incredible to get back on a bike after so many years and to see how far the technology had progressed. What I really like is that even though the bike is marketed as a Germany brand there is something really South African and local about it, the engineers and designers that I have worked and ridden with have such a passion for the sport and the brand and it really finds it way into the finished product.
Temarah: Have you entered any of these races before or plan too?
Greg: I think I have missed the window to try any of these big marathon stage races, plus I have been spoiled getting to ride them on a motorbike… it much easier that way hahaha, I did do the U – Stage race a couple of years, most mostly as a social event with my friends… These days I just love riding my Mountain Bike to hang out with my mates, pull some wheelies and still play like a kid.
Find out how our teams did at the 2019 ABSA Cape Epic: Stage 1 Results
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