The Family. The Team.

The Redlands Bicycle Classic.  There is always a good show in Redlands, California.  The fields are stacked.  The weather is warm.  The racing is hot. Phew.  Now I am on a plane to Brussels to race for the USA National team for 3 weeks.  7 race done in the last 10 days.  Next stage race in 2 days.

As our team raced through Redlands, learning and growing as a team, we are more excited about the rest of the year.   We are a family.  We are cohesive.  We are a true team.

What makes a successful team?

Laughter.  Laughter would fill the house as we cooked team dinners together, enjoying the creations of our teammates.  It turns out excellent meals can be served when combining an expertise chef with a developmental “assistant” with a knack for organization.  Bike racing is serious business, but there is a life beyond it as well.  There is a balance to find.

Pain.  You have to be willing to completely die for your teammates.  As morbid as it sounds, you have to be willing to sacrifice.  To hurt.  To suffer.  All in the name of team.  You forget about yourself, and you  think about your team.

Trust.  Will your teammate win?  You believe she will.  You believe your team’s strength as a whole.  You believe that they will perform to expectations.  You believe in yourself, and each other.  If you don’t trust, you won’t be able to endure enough pain.  Make sense?

Chemistry.  You have to like each other!  Accept the flaws, the idiosyncrasies, the quirks, and just love them for who you are.  OCD? No problem.  Just try to keep the room clean.  Gluten-free? Adapt to making more rice and sweet potatoes.  Snore? Get earplugs!  It is about making the team work.  Combining different personalities and life experiences, and making a great team.

Respect.  That goes with trust, but you need to respect yourself.  Respect your sponsors, your equipment and your team.  We are very fortunate to be where we are at.  I am consistently star struck by my team.  What a strong group of women.  I respect each one of them.

Honesty.  Tell them how you feel.  If you have the legs, or if you lost them on the way to the race.  If you are sick.  If you have a secret goal that you are too sensitive to share.  If you are nervous.  The more you communicate, the more opportunity there is for success.  Don’t make excuses.

With two stage races completed, I know more about the women of PB&CO. TWENTY12 than ever before.  We know weaknesses and we know strengths.  We have a common goal, and we are ready to work together, to support each other and to deliver some amazing things in not only 2012, but 2011.  We are growing.  We are learning, and we are a team.

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