Getting on the podium at a bike race isn't easy. Especially at mountain bike races where pros and amateurs race side by side in the elite categories. One significant help is getting on a good team. There are a plethora of benefits to being on a good team, but I'll highlight just a few here.
1. Experience. Racing well requires thousands of hours worth of experience. If you're on a team with guys and girls who have been racing for a while, getting their input on equipment choices, race courses, and tactics is invaluable.
2. Sponsors. Racing can be an expensive endeavor. Going head to head with pros who are paid to ride their bike requires every advantage you can acquire. Sponsors provide support to help level the playing field.
3. Teammates. Often times in a race, you need to "work" with the other racers to achieve good results. Think of it like soccer; if you want to score a goal, often times you'll get a teammate to make an "assist", to pass you the ball right in front of the goal. The same is true in cycling. If you're riding in a group of 3 during a race, and two in the group are teammates, they can play tactical games so that one of them can beat you.
This season I am very excited to be racing on a team that provides famously in each of those categories, Rare Disease Cycling
(formerly Team CF). It is a team focused mainly on off-road endurance races and is loaded with some of the fastest and most experienced endurance racers in the country, with some of the best sponsors in the sport (headlined by Specialized
) and supported by local shop Twenty20
. At the majority of races I attend this year, I will be racing with at least 4 other Rare Disease Cycling racers making for fantastic team dynamics to boot.
Additionally, racing can be very inwardly focused. And while having fun racing bikes and winning races is great, its a fantastic privilege to be apart of a team like Rare Disease Cycling that exists to raise funds and awareness for something bigger than itself; namely, rare orphan diseases.
Needless to say, I am very excited to be on board with Rare Disease Cycling this year, and look forward to racing with them and being at the big May 3 fund raising effort
in Philly! Bring on the season.