Sunday, 14 October 2007

Team Player

It would be great if they let you change the posting screen to the old blue screen with white letters so I could fully realize the whole Doogie Howser-ness of doing this. I feel like Vinny is going to climb in through my bedroom window any minute.

A lot of the cycle of a year in the life of a cycling team is totally new to me, but we are now to the point where I am close to closing the circle. I became involved with the team through a mostly random joining of the team's ride in January last year. We had our first official off season "D&D Ride" of the year this morning, so there are now officially some things that I don't still see through virgin eyes.

Much though it sounds like it, this is not a bunch of awkward 8th graders talking about wizards and rolling unusual dice around. Similar, but not the same. We roll unusual looking bikes around. And we dress funnier. But there is all of the same code-sounding speak, unintelligible to the greater world. This week's chatter was focused on maintaining a "conversational pace." The ride usually suffers the slings and arrows of all group rides - it's too fast for this time of year - and a lot of people are concerned that team members are forgoing an important group activity because it's counterproductive to the team member's goals.

The team ride is actually pretty important if you ask me. First off, it gets new blood involved. Once you are in the team, it's real easy to find a group that you'll hang with and train with most of the time, but for newcomers it gives a sense of form to a fairly formless group. Second, with the team as large as it is, it gives people a chance to get to know one another. You spend most of the season in the same exact places as a lot of your team mates, 3 or 4 hours away from when they are there. The other benefit is that it is an opportunity for the group to essentially decide and reinforce how we want to act. It's like getting back to fundamentals - how to behave in a group, what your responsibilities are, etc. Dog training for people.

It is also a good chance to be made a fool of by the Swede, who also kicks asses when he is on a fixed gear.

For the micro part, the 4 squad appears to be making strides towards what several of us had envisioned when we decided that the helm needed tending. Regular groups are going out for rides, we communicatw with and know each other better and we seem to be more involved. It will all fall apart soon enough, but for now it's time to enjoy an effective start.

Good stuff.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Hey, that sounds like fun. We do the Coppi Muffin Ride every Friday AM, in and out of season, for just those reasons - NooBs, recovery, team bonding, building a common culture, and the Sunday ride serves similar purposes though the pace gets a lot harder. It's easier to work for/with teammates when you really feel like teammmates, and I can't tell you how much I've learned from doing club rides with people who are *much* better riders than I amm.