When most people see my pictures on social media, the first thing that comes to mind is the hard work and time serious cyclists like myself invest into our passion for riding and racing our bike. What most people don’t see or realize is the hours of support our families and friends put into helping us succeed. Without this support, it would make racing at our level impossible. I mean, who shows up to a bike race that is 4 hours long in the 100-degree heat and says, “Hey I’ll stand in a lonely feed zone and wait for you to come by once or twice.” It’s not just hours of standing around either, they are constantly thinking of how to help their racer become better.
Racing for us is a family event we look forward to every week. And the more family that is present, the more fun racing is. We all work toward a goal of me performing at my best and succeeding for our team and sponsors. Having a family that is so involved in my sport helps keep me grounded and motivated to always give it my all no matter the situation. How can you not push your limits when you have family who spends their free time studying nutrition facts and coming up with new ways for you to stretch.
It may not be a family behind every cyclist, but you can bet that there is someone. I’m sure every great cyclist can name someone who invested time into helping make them great. I have a fantastic coach in Bruce Hendler of Athleticamps, and he has helped me over and above what a normal coach would do. However, without my family making sacrifices I would never achieve or reach the level Bruce thinks I’m capable of.
Cycling is a hard sport, but it is so rewarding at every level. For some, taking a personal record on a Strava segment is like conquering Mt. Kilimanjaro in their own mind, and that’s what makes this sport so amazing. No matter who you are or what level you are at, there are moments of accomplishment and it’s our families and friends who help us realize that. Every night when I return home from a ride, my wife and family members ask about it. No matter how boring the story is, they follow every word and commend me for my silly Strava achievements. These words of encouragement or appreciation of the work we put in motivate us to push harder and further on our next ride, race or event.
Cycling, as we all know, takes a lot of hard work and dedication. But, it can also require sacrifice from our families, friends, and loved ones. So, never forget to show appreciation to those in your life who invest hours of hard work into your passion. The feed zone wife, mom, and dad are the unsung heroes of the local road racing world. Without them, who would be there to help us endure and enjoy our sport? I am exceedingly thankful for my support team, and here’s a thank you to all the feed zone and family support systems in local cycling!