team·work noun /ˈtēmˌwərk/ 1. The combined action of a group of people, esp. when effective and efficient.
This describes what I have felt for the last three years. I had been on several sports teams in the past, but I have never been on a team of over 40 guys, that show up to races and take care of each other. Everyone gets along on rides, everyone looks out for each other. I enjoy spending time off the bike with several of the folks from the team. For me, racing for Bicycle Heaven is not about getting a discount at the shop, or riding for a sponsor. For me it’s about going to a race, and knowing anyone wearing the BH kit will have my best interest at heart, and me for them. Last year I won the Illinois cup in the 30+ 4/5 field, but only because several of you held me accountable. Pete, Andy, Eric, and Justin talking my confidence up at early season races and early season rides, Scott Bowden making sure I stayed out of trouble and coaching me up at every race we did together, several times giving up his own results to lead me out. Hal showing up at Morton just to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid early in that race, so I had a shot a winning. Jim, John, Matt all cheering for me a grays lake. Patrick pulling me aside to talk about training and what I was working on during the season, reminding me to take weeks off, Ara and Rob talking to me about tactics, Andy Kerr and Rich reminding me where I should be on group rides, and to stick it out. As most of you have seen, If you’re at a race in a BH kit, I will yell at you.
This is accountability at its finest. Not someone telling you that you have to do well or the team will be disappointed, but, by helping each other out, instilling a sense of ownership for your own results. Knowing that how you perform is an intricate part of the team as a whole. You may not and will not do well at every race or ride, but remember the BH will still be there screaming at you from the sideline to do your best. The group ride on Tuesday night is a fine example. They won’t wait for you (accountability) but when you’re in trouble, several of the team will encourage you to hold on, as they slide by. I have often been picked up by Matt or Ben or John C. as we ride in together talking about what went wrong and how we can work together to get home, what we can do better next week. That ride is hard, so don’t ever get discouraged by being dropped. Just remember where that was, and make it further the next week.
Last year I showed up to a 30+ race at Wood Dale. As we rolled up to the start area, there were several teammates there. In a matter of 2 minutes everyone had roles, and nobody complained about what they needed to do. Everyone had a team focus, and as a result we had a jersey hanging in the shop. It was awesome to be a part of.
The long exhausted point I am trying to make is, you get out of a team what you put into it. With the growth of the shop, and in turn the team, we all need to remember to take time to look out for each other, give advice and support where we can, introduce ourselves to those we don’t know, and focus on keeping this thing fun for all involved. Especially now, while we are all on our trainers. We are currently working to get better at communication, and we always look for constructive feedback. If you have an issue with the team, reach out and let me know, and I will work diligently at creating a solution. Thanks for your time, and remember to have fun training this winter.
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