noun: comradeship, fellowship, companionship, friendship
- Mutual trust and friendship among people who spend a lot of time together
Maybe it could also be defined as one of the hardest things to get find or inject into a team environment.
Money can’t buy it and you can’t force it. With encouragement and time it can happen but it’s never guaranteed. Its unique attributes mean that it just has to grow on its own.
Sport is full of camaraderie, a team’s success, or failure, is defined by it.
Comradeship can make amazing things happen and any team manager of any sport would certainly know its importance, and would be prepared to do a lot to instil it within their teams. If only it were that easy…
It’s Monday and I’ve just finished my first day back at work. It’s quite the contrast to last week, my aching legs and weary body have been a reminder of what I’ve been doing. The Tour of Wellington finished up with the always challenging street criterium yesterday. I was on the sideline shouting encouragement, and a lot of advice, to my (team) mates.
A sport so simple in principle (ride faster than everyone else) can be a brutal and amazingly hard to be successful in. Decisions made in split seconds will define you, or leave a bitter taste for weeks, months or years. I could have… I should have… next time I will.
“I just should have come round earlier” was going through my mind. The Wallaceville circuit the day before had been my last stage of the tour (and the last stage for General Classification).
I’d had a pretty good tour sitting around midfield, although I felt like I had a bit more in me and had hoped to make up some time on those in front of me on the last road stage. Waking on Saturday morning my legs still felt the same as they had when I went to bed 9 hours earlier, sore. It was reassuring that they freed up after 20 minutes of riding and I thought that I was up for a good day on a course that should suit me.
Unfortunately towards the end of the first lap, coming out of a left hander, the rider in front of me let a wheel go. Calmly I waited for him to accelerate back onto the back of the peloton, the acceleration came and I thought all was well in the world again. However moments later as I looked around him I realised that I had made a fatal mistake. I should have rolled over him coming out of the corner. Without even noticing the gap had grown, hugely. I gave it full gas to try to get across. My legs winding up felt pretty good, but they faded a bit earlier than I thought they might, another rider rolled over me to try to do the same, then another… the gap wasn’t closing… A big surge on the flat then into the climb and I was struggling. By the time we hit the gradient of the climb the pace of the peloton had lifted again and hopes of us rejoining were looking bleak. That was the last I saw of the bunch, they were quickly hidden from view by the race convoy of cars, station wagons, vans and ambulances as they streamed past the fading racers.
I pushed on, and tried as hard as I could to get back but to no avail. In front of me the bunch slowly splinted as the laps counted down, behind me riders retired from the race, spent from three very heavy days of racing. It was hard not to do the same, but the desire to get onto the bell lap drove me on. However with three laps to go, I started to fade, exhausted my body had little energy left to give. I was passed by the front of the race on my 7th lap of 8. So close, but still miles from where I needed to be.
It was hard finishing, despite being lapped I did finish the distance. To say I didn’t want to be there anymore is probably one of the biggest understatements I could ever make.
Comradeship. Being passed by your (team) mates and knowing that you couldn’t be there to help them left me feeling gutted. Not being able to be in the mix in front of our absolutely amazing supporters that were scattered all over the circuit, and online, providing support and encouragement was devastating. That time on my own on allowed me a little bit of head space, when I wasn’t concentrating on breathing or pedalling, to realise how strong the bond of the team, and its supporters, has grown over the past months.
We have had an amazing time since the team was kicked into life with a roar at the Rice Mountain Classic. Sitting back and reflecting on what we have done, and achieved, brings about an immense feeling of pride. The environment at every race we’ve attended has been absolutely fantastic and we can’t express how much we have relished the ongoing support we’ve received from everyone to date. It’s all contributed to what defines the team, our team.
I believe you can often get more from having a bad day than a good day. I’ve been happy with my form and am already looking forward to some more events to try my hand with. I can’t wait to roll out again with my mates, in training, at races and all the fun times that we have in between. I’m sure there are still more successes to be had before the summers out.
Comradeship is very difficult to instil in a team. Ask me how to do it and I’ll be able to offer some suggestions. Ask me how we did and I’ll tell you that it was always just there. Ask me what it looks like and I’ll point you to a ton of photos that we have on line , and in particular two photos of the team at the tour de vineyards (one, two), it’s a feeling that just can’t be described.
It costs nothing to get that feeling, which is hard to believe because it’s absolutely priceless.