Triathlon is an individual sport. There is no denying this fact. You are out there on your own on race day. How you do is a reflection of the work and preparation (both mental and physical) that YOU have put in. Why then are there so many triathlon clubs and teams out there and why are more popping up all of the time? This past weekend I saw this question answered once again. The Parksville Ride is one of the annual Human Powered Racing events that reveals the power of training as a team.
Sometimes it takes a helping hand or a gentle nudge (both physically and/or emotionally) to help you realize that you are capable of more than you thought you might be. Have you ever been out there on a long ride and decided that you have had enough? That you are too tired, too cold (insert excuse here), and turned around and gone home or called for a ride? Try doing this when you are out there with 20 other people who are, to varying degrees, feeling the exact same way. Sometimes the power of a team is enough to keep you on that bike or out on that run when you might have lost the motivation to go on by yourself.
After a great ride up to Parksville on Saturday we were hit with one of those storms on Sunday where the skies opened up. We were pelted with hail, driving rain and a serious drop in temperatures. Luckily we were surrounded not only by our team mates on bikes, but also by team mates in vehicles who were out there giving up their time to support us, make sure we had what we needed, and most importantly, make sure we all got home safe. So while each of us may have been getting ready for an individual effort on race day, it was the efforts of many around us that got us through this weekend. I always remembered the efforts of my team mates on race day when I WAS alone. I knew that they were with me in spirit and if they could suffer with me they would.
In the end, the bonds that you develop when you suffer together are hard to describe and they are hard to break. They say that misery loves company. Sometimes training can be a long lonely miserable road. A triathlon team will allow you to share that misery and at the end of the day, as I learned when my career ended, it is the process and the tough days with team mates that you will remember a lot more than the races themselves.