This week I feel lucky. I’ve had three things happen from which I derive inspiration.
The first was when Alex Patridge (Beijing silver medallist & gunning for a place in one of the GB boats) came to speak to a group of potential Deloitte RABers at Balfour Beatty. He spoke of being on the hardest training camp of his life in South Africa where dear old Jurgen (coach) made them mountain bike at altitude and then do ergos until they literally dropped. What did you learn we asked?
That even when you are praying for Jurgen to tap your shoulder and say stop (seldom happens) …you can get through the session one stroke at a time and in doing so you emerge with more mental strength. You don’t think elites suffer our weaknesses but they do, and just like us they have to find a way to push through. Remember this, as you’ll be seeing Alex on the start line in Land’s End, riding alongside his father on this special journey.
Then off to meet a company called Bike Works. Wow. This is a social enterprise bringing long term unemployed people back in to work through restoring, re-building and selling discarded bikes. They take on trainees who haven’t worked for a while and pedal out graduates three months later who can contemplate proper jobs. We’re looking at how we can incorporate them into some of our events which feels like we’re adding another little sense of purpose to the stuff we do.
The last little ditty is about a man called Gary Mulgrew who signed up for the 2010 ride with his buddy Kenny Lyons. Tragically Kenny died of the cancer they were trying to defeat by having a challenge to look forward to, but his mates rolled on and Gary gave an amazing speech to the riders about sticking at it and the meaning of Gambatte – you’ll see this little phrase occasionally on the road (usually at the bottom of hills). It’s a Japanese word – think of it as a massive COME ON in your lowest moment. We created the Lyons shirt in memory of Gary’s dear friend which we award to riders who show true grit on Deloitte RAB. Gary will be back on the 2012 ride for a few days but if you want to hear his amazing life story pick up a copy of Gang of One.
I know I talk about training a lot but the bottom line is Deloitte RAB is possible for all comers with a six month training programme and a bit of spirit, so if you do have any friends that are teetering give them a little push – come on it’s Olympic year.