As the season rolls along, I’ve been thinking about what exactly makes a team. To state the obvious: triathlon is an individual sport. When I first started thinking about completing my first tri I had no intention of joining a team. It can be risky and vulnerable to put yourself in a new situation with people you don’t really know, and I wasn’t entirely sure what I would get out of it. But as a new teammate last year, I felt immediately welcomed and at home here, and I’ve been thinking a lot about why. Beyond our snazzy green uniforms and shared obsession for Teddie’s pb, I think our team is united by the following:
Celebrating your accomplishments. Whether it’s nailing a tough workout, participating in a new race distance, making the podium, or taking an especially artistic selfie, this team shows each other so much love and support! While our non-athlete friends and family certainly support us (read: tolerate us) and cheer us on, there’s nothing quite like a fellow triathlete’s genuine enthusiasm for their teammate’s accomplishment!
Supporting you through setbacks. We’ve all been there - missed out on a time goal, DNFed, cursed with an injury. I’ve witnessed many a candid conversation about the frustrating side of the sport. It’s great to have the opportunity to air these frustrations to sympathetic ears who can offer understanding, support, advice, and perhaps serve as a voice of reason when we get a little carried away.
People to work out with. Okay, this is obvious - we train together. However, while most of us are pretty self-motivated, don’t underestimate the power of a training buddy (or 10!) It seems that just about every group workout I attend includes someone doing just a *little bit more* just a *little bit faster* thanks to the encouragement of teammates! Personally, I have been especially grateful for the many opportunities to work on my biking in low-pressure, no-drop rides or in our easy-to-follow weekly Marauding and Training Tri Mystic loops. I’ve also met a lot of new (and veteran) teammates this way.
An experienced knowledge base.
Our email and facebook group are abuzz with questions and answers - gear, technique, PTs, routes, races, training plans - you name it, we collectively have several dollars worth of two cents about it. With the ridiculous amount of information and choices out there on the interwebs, this is an incredible resource to have. Plus, there’s no judgement for asking when you don’t know something, which is great for us newbies. Beyond the Q&A, several events put on by the team really put this principle into practice. In my relatively short time on the team we have had swim technique clinics, a bike pace line demo, a bike maintenance clinic, a transition clinic, a run technique workshop, not to mention weekly teammate-led workouts where I have learned about track sets, open water swim techniques, and so much more. I really appreciate the culture of teaching, learning, improving, and embracing all experience levels.
Like all athletes, we are competitive. We sometimes wake up at insanely early times to do insane things with our bodies. From the average person’s viewpoint, this might make us seem a little unwell. But we still wanna have fun! We go on cider-donut rides, hang out at socials, indulge in Jack’s Abby after our training, plan our bike routes around ice cream stops (oh wait, is that just me?), and let’s not forget our annual “anti-training weekend!” It’s nice to be surrounded by others who appreciate this balance and to feel included in both the training and the fun.
To new and returning teammates this season, I am glad to be a part of this with you! Now, sentimental blog post aside - let’s race!