* Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a five-part series focusing on the Class of 2012 of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.
A one-kilometer specialist, the 43-year-old cyclone of spokes will be one of four sport giants inducted into the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame on Saturday, Nov. 3.
In a career that saw Hartwell earn two Olympic medals (both in 1K time trials) and win world and national sprint honors many times over, the quick biker has always remained true to his first love — speed.
“Erin demonstrated a single-minded focus that is required for an athlete at the highest level of the sport — the Olympics and world championships,” says Hall of Fame Executive Director Joe Herget. “His intense focus on a single event and his quest to constantly test himself against the best cyclists in the world, are the reasons he’s being inducted into the Hall of Fame.”
Chosen for Hall membership in the Modern Road and Track category, Hartwell joins Off-Road competitor Susan DeMattei, Contributor to the Sport Tom Ritchey and Veteran Road and Track member Rob Parsons as the guests of honor at the shrine’s ceremonies next month at UC Davis’ Freeborn Hall.
“My induction into the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame is a life achievement for me,” says Hartwell, who juggles a life between his coaching and training business in Pennsylvania and his wife and home in Port of Spain, Trinidad. “It’s peer recognition of a hard-earned career … and validation to the blood, sweat and tears that went into my 15 years of service at the international level.
“Outside of the Olympic medals, I consider (induction) the most important award I’ve been privileged to accept.”
In 1992, racing at the Velodrome d’Horta in Barcelona, Spain, Hartwell shocked a glittering field by navigating the required distance in 1:04.75 — good for the bronze medal.
Four years later in Atlanta, at the Stone Mountain Velodrome, Hartwell stormed home second.
Four times, Hartwell has stood on the podium in world championship elite-race sprints and — with Tommy Mulkey, Derek Bouchard-Hall and Mariano Friedick — won the 2000 national championship crown in the team pursuit.
That same year, Hartwell won three U.S. stage titles and the Joe Martin Race in Arkansas.
Maybe his best year — certainly his quickest — was his last season on the track. He retired from racing in 2000.
“I own an athlete coaching-and-management business called Athletics Cubed,” Hartwell told The Enterprise. “We provide coaching services for elite athletes. It’s a great gig and allows me to stay involved in the sport that’s given me a lot of return on my life investment.
“I still love cycling, albeit I am somewhat disillusioned and disappointed in the recent scandals and affairs that have tainted the sport.”
The former coach for the Trinidad and Tobago cycling squad, Harwell is married to a Trinidadian woman: “Hence, the Caribbean connection.” He says moving back and forth between the states and Trinidad is “fortunately (made possible) in this age of hyper-connectivity. I am able to manage my clients remotely for periods of time when in the Caribbean.
“Have cell and internet, will travel,” he says with a chuckle.
Hartwell has two sons who live between Norway and the United States; he hopes someday they’ll join him in the West Indies.
Hartwell’s business — which is based in Trexlertown, Pa. — brokers sponsors and riders and serves as a training umbrella for established and emerging riders, like Matt Spinks and Jimmy Watkins.
Has Hartwell been to the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame?
“I have not,” he admits. “Although I think that’s about to change.”
Notes: Trexlertown, in the Lehigh Valley, sports a world-class velodrome and was one of the almost 20 communities that were competing for the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame when the Hall, formerly based in New Jersey, was looking for a new home three years ago. … A handful of tickets remain for the Nov. 3 induction ceremonies. Visit www.usbhof.org for seats, or to read about the free events orbiting the ceremony.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or 530-747-8047.