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THE DEN MOTHER
Sue Marcus loves cycling. The proud owner of bikes for road, mountain, city and touring ("I just keep accumulating them," she says) is also a former soigneur for Saturn Cycling and the U.S. national team; today her massage clients include numerous cyclists as well as the Chicago Bears football team. Last August, Marcus, 47, shared the love. During their annual training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois, the Bears' coaches typically travel around campus on golf carts. But last season, at the request of Bears head coach Lovie Smith, Marcus solicited 20 donated bikes for them to ride instead. At camp's close, each coach signed his bike and presented it to an underprivileged child. Marcus spoke to BICYCLING shortly after the Bears' 7-9 opening-day loss to the Washington Redskins.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO CYCLING?
More than 20 years ago I was a runner, but I injured my feet, so I bought a bicycle, a 10-speed girls' bike. I took it on a two-day, 200-mile ride, the Tour of the Mississippi River Valley, wearing running shoes and shorts, flat pedals and no helmet. I thought people who wore spandex were weird. I could barely walk afterward, but I just loved it - the socializing, the outdoors.
OBVIOUSLY, IT STUCK.
I never went back to running. I started frequenting all the bike shops in my area - I was a groupie. Then when I was living in Davenport, Iowa, working for a utility company and going to massage school, I met Jeff Bradley, who rode for 7-Eleven. He said, "Hey, do you know that cycling teams use massage therapists on the road?" I ended up working for Saturn and USA Cycling, before joining the Bears.
DO YOU RIDE AT TRAINING CAMP TOO?
Definitely. This yar I brought two bikes --
my Fisher for riding around campus, and my
Trek 2300 road bike. I rode it
through the cornfields.
I stil do the ride in Mississippi, just to see if I can; I've ridden it 18 times. I also do RAGBRAI each year with a group of friends. Our support vehicle is a 1969 school bus named Elvira.
HOW DID THE BEARS' GIVEWAWAY GET STARTED
Lovie Smith is a cyclist and a huge supporter of the Tour de Cure ride - his mother and brother have diabetes. Two years ago, he brought a Wal-Mart bike to ride at training camp, then gave it to a neddy child. Last year, he decided there would be no more golf carts at camp, and he asked me if I could get bikes donated for the coaching staff. I contacted Steve DePron at Bike & Hike in Rock Island, Illinois, who sold me my first bike. I hadn't talked to him in more than 10 years, but I just sort of called out of the blue. He does a lot for charity and was happy to give us 20 Giant Boulder mountain bikes.
THINK THE STAFF MISSED THE GOLF CARTS?
When it hit 100 degrees outside, my sister e-mailed me: "I bet your name is mud right now." But I'd hear coaches talking at lunch about how they enjoyed the bikes. Some even admitted to riding before work in the mornings, on the trail along the river. It was cool to go by a conference room during the day and see a bunch of bikes lined up outside, all the same.
HOW IS WORKKING WITH FOOTBALL PLAYERS DIFFERENT THAN WORKING WITH CYCLISTS?
With the football players, I'm doing only massage. But when you're a soigneur, you live with the people you work with, and you take care of everything - carrying luggage, making food, filling water botles. During my first Bears training camp, I saw the trainers loading ice bags, so I started helping. But they told me I didn't need to do that anymore!
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE ABLE TO BRING CYCLING INTO YOUR JOB ONCE MORE?
I've met so many great people through biking, and I love watching people pick up the sport. Another neat thing: I have my own massage business, and my office is surrounded by a bicycle-coaching facility. Robbie Ventura, who rode for Saturn, called for a massage one day when he was working for U.S. Postal. He looked at the space around mine, and started Vision Quest, a coaching service. It's booming - he's basically taken over the warehouse.
For an appointment or answers to your questions, call (847) 922-2670 or
email Suzanne@MarcusHypnosis.com. I look forward to helping you reach new heights.
© 2010-2017 Sue Marcus - All Rights Reserved
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