Wow, what a ride! 10 years ago I wanted to create something more than just another coaching group. I wanted to create a unique space not only to teach people how to ride, but how to live and ride well. I originally thought I would only be teaching racers, because they are the ones pushing the limits of cycling. However it was in those looking to improve their riding I saw the most progress, the most excitement to achieve.
It has been that commitment to encourage love of riding at all skill levels, and the community which has grown out of it that has made Cycle University what it is today. Because of all the help, encouragement, and support you have given us over the years we are in a position to truly improve cycling and get more people riding, racing and loving the sport as much as we do. You guys really rock!
When we started, I had no idea it would get this big and no clue it would be so hard. The lessons I learned training as a racer have served me well as I faced the challenge and rewards of growing a company. When I read the 11 traits of a champion from the Hot Tubes team out of Boston, I realized that the reason we succeeded is because we applied these same traits to running Cycle U. Here they are (with Toby’s permission):
11 Traits of a Champion
1) Calmness: Champions demonstrate a stoic calmness that allows them to focus on the task at hand. No prima donna outbursts or ridiculous demands on friends or trainers; Just calm commitment.
2) Self-Assured: Champions, the really great ones, never really boast. They have a quiet assuredness that transcends talk, and they seldom distract themselves with such foolishness.
3) Aggressiveness: Champions are very aggressive. Strong moves are indicative of the outstanding athlete. Whether made by design or by instinct, moves are not made frivolously, only at times when they greatly increase chances of success.
4) Tenacity: Certainly one of the primary traits that all champions show is tenacity. They just keep on coming whether in training, a race, or another part of their lives. Adversity is only a step in the process rather than an impassable hurdle.
5) Not afraid to fail: To a degree, we are all afraid to fail. A champion seeks to overcome this and is willing to risk it in spite of the possibility of catastrophe.
6) Patience: Champions realize that patience is an integral part of success. Patience is not just a trait, it is a tool that champions use to a definite advantage.
7) Self Direction: A champion is not self-coached or self centered, but knows where he or she is going and will use the best means available to achieve that end.
8) Consistency: Champions demonstrate a great deal of consistency, both in temperament and performance.
9) Inward Focus: Really great champions seem unconcerned about whom they are competing against. The riders in a particular event only provide a standard by which they will apply and measure themselves. A champion competes against their own abilities and limitations. The champion does not look outward, blaming others for a loss, but rather inward to areas that can be improved for the future.
10) Willingness to suffer: Champions do not wish to suffer any more than you or I, but accept the pain of athletic suffering as part of their endeavor. They force more out of their bodies than other riders do, especially when the going gets tough. Much of this sport, at all levels, is decided by a mental commitment that allows the body to react accordingly.
An eleventh attribute that is harder to define but is equally important is the realization that racing is not a hobby, but a lifestyle and its lessons are applicable in all aspects of life. Ultimately, a bicycle race is just a bicycle race, lives are not saved, the homeless are not housed. Champions recognize this and understand the lessons of racing and training are really only valid when applied to our lives as a whole.
This is the attitude that brought Cycle University to success and something that I hope we have been able to share with all the riders who have joined us in our journey. Thanks for all your support and I look forward to seeing what we all can accomplish the next 10 years and beyond!