Team. If there's one thing that stands out from my experience on Race The World so far, it's the team. I can't remember the last time I felt so much support, love and had so much fun with a group of people who were strangers just a few days ago.
We time trialled hundreds of miles through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and now Louisiana over seven stages and eight days (one rest day and a massive party in Austin).
Today we won our second stage, a 130 mile team time trial in 6 hours 15 minutes. Averaging 23.5mph for much of it. We had our first flat tire, viscous headwinds, Jerry got knocked off his bike by a crazy dog that ran straight at our riders, we got taken off route by the garmins, down a dirt track and into a barb wire fence! A lot happened to create stress points but we all looked out for each other, offering reassurance and working together to stick to our plan and execute it.
When we’re out on the road, our sphere of consciousness is focused on executing the plan we have put into place and delivering the best performance we can. Our overriding strategy is “leave it all on the road.” We want to nail it and create that sense of satisfaction at the end of the day that we couldn’t have done anything more.
When we’re back in the bus, we laugh so hard, the belly aching laugh that is so genuine and good for happy living.
It’s the juxtaposition between the seriousness of this race, the demands of battling the elements on the road and the sheer effort of delivering the performance we want, coupled with the fun, lighthearted atmosphere in the bus that keep our spirits high and have defined who Team Deman are and why we are here.
We’re here for the personal challenge, to push ourselves and see what we’re capable of. To experience the transformation from being eight individuals to becoming a close knit team. To cycle our bikes across one of the greatest countries in the world. To camp each night in the wilderness under the stars. Ultimately, the team is here because they love cycling, wanted an adventure and to have fun.
Team Deman consists of Jerry, Tim and Deb (celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary), Helmut, Ray, Lee, Rach and me as captain. We have support night and day from our team manager Brian and mechanic Tim. Last night when I was helping Helmut find his tent in camp, I gave him a hug and said goodnight. He said “I’ve never had so many wonderful hugs, they are worth the price of the trip alone.”
When I rode out of LA leading a team of people I barely knew, there were holes in my heart that I fought to hide. As captain, I knew I would pile the pressure on myself; to be positive, to put energy into the team when they are suffering, to be strong on and off the bike.
Being on the road and being with these people, has filled those holes in my heart with support, love and the most wonderful memories. Very happy memories.
Putting pressure on myself is something that will never change as that is inbuilt in who I am and how I want to live my life to achieve my dreams.
What is changing, is learning to show my vulnerability in situations when I am feeling less than strong.
I was expecting to have to be strong throughout Race The World; physically, mentally, emotionally. What I wasn’t expecting was to be surrounded by people who unknowingly create a space for me show my true self when I’m not riding high, and to lift my spirits.
In eight beautiful, challenging and diverse days, Race The World has changed my life and it’s down to two things; cycling and people.
To me this feels like the best job in the world!
Today’s blog is inspired by one of my favourite quotes:
“When I’m on a bicycle the world is breaking someone else’s heart”
Huge thanks to everyone supporting this race
Race The World – for making this happen
PlanetK2 – for sharing expertise on human performance
ProBikeKit - for providing me with shoes, cleats and pedals for this race. Get 10% off your first order using this link and 10% code FIRST10UK
Bikmo – for insuring me to take my bike on adventures around the world
Wilier – for the awesome cyclo-cross bikes