There's No 'I' In TEAM
In September 2016 I set out on an epic adventure to ride my bike around Australia. Yes, a big task that many people advised me against and to be honest at many times throughout the lead up to it I did question not only my ability to do it but even if it was indeed possible. Turns out it was. I cycled 14,285kms in just 78 days and circumnavigated the country and continent of mainland Australia.
No achievement should ever be easy and this one certainly had its challenges. However, with some great planning, a great crew, a great coach and a bit of luck we got through the entire event without too many hiccups. More to follow on that a little later.
There were many steps involved in making this event come to life and the main ones were:
Accountability - We put our intentions out there early. I started posting things on social media regarding the event, when it would happen and how I would do it. This gave me a heap of people who were encouraging, following me or even in the worst case, I'm sure waiting for me to fail. It was awesome to know that all of the support and the doubters were there to watch the whole journey unfold.
Support - After completing Ultraman Australia earlier in May of 2016, I gained an in-depth understanding of what the word "crew" meant. Ultraman is a three day triathlon where there are no aid stations or course markings and your race is totally directed by your crew. They are an integral part of the success of the event and quiet simply without them the event wouldn't be possible. They are your eyes, ears, nutritionist, cleaner, driver and supporters for the 3 day event. I learnt through the event that the ride around Australia would be the same. I would be totally reliant on my partner April, to be my one and only crew. I often said on the ride that she could certainly drive around Australia without me but there was no way I could even complete a day without her. She was simply everything to me as an athlete and therefore all I needed to do was get on my bike and ride for between 6-16 hours per day. Simple right? Honestly, it was that simple.
My crew did everything and without checking in with them all before writing this, I could honestly say they enjoyed the experience. I always find when looking back at achievements I have had or shared with others that the hard times are forgotten down the track. Think about it, you don't ever look back on something and say, 'far out I remember how much we had to spend', 'I didn't get any sleep for 3 days' or 'the kids were assholes for 4 months'. You look back on the final part of the achievement itself, the finish line memories, the funny stories of the car breaking down or losing the keys, or the photos that came through and are now mounted on your desk or the wall. If Ultraman did nothing but one thing for me it gave me the biggest realisation that the team around you are an extension of you, they're there to help, guide and mentor you through to your greatest achievements.
Surrounding yourself with the right people is critical to the success of your goal. There can be a number of people that you need to help get you to where you plan to go. Examples include your partner, a coach, massage therapist, your boss, your staff, work colleagues, family, friends and so on, the list is endless. These people will all give a part of themselves to help you emotionally, physically, financially and in many other ways simply to see you succeed. Don't take any of them for granted, they want to share in your success so make that a priority also.
The message here is pretty clear I think. You need to surround yourself with a team of superstars, a group of people that understand your goal and what you are trying to achieve. Don't take them for granted and appreciate their sacrifice to your goal. Remember, the time will come when you need to help others towards their goals and you'll share in their success. Endurance sport is a very short and lonely road if you treat it as a one way street and believe you are entitled to 'free help'.
Always give back.