Sunday, 3 March 2013

Life is sweeter with friends to run and bike with!

Collaboration and Community are two words that pop up a lot. Two reasons why I love sport.

Community “a group of people living in the same place or having certain attitudes or interests in common.
Collaboration “the action of working with someone to produce something
While driving between West Yorkshire schools, I was listening to a radio discussion around The Sunday Assembly, a non-religious gathering set up by comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans in North London, an opportunity for anybody searching for a sense of community, to meet, sing, hear speakers and generally create a community around shared experience. Many callers were praising the Sunday assembly as providing non-religious people with a community.
“People don’t have a sense of community?” I thought out loud! How bizarre
I then realised how fortunate I have been to have had sport at the centre of my life, it acts as the glue in creating close knit communities.
I could chat away for hours retelling stories and antics from the various clubs and training groups I have been involved in, but well I now realise what a tough job being a writer is, I mean where do you start! So instead I will use a selection of pictures from the last few weeks to summarise how important community and collaboration is for me personally in enjoying sport and achieving my best. Something I am sure people can relate to in all different context’s not just sport.
17th Feb- Otley Reliability ride, 100k from Otely looping out to Kettlewell and back. Around 300 riders took to their bikes to enjoy the day. Creating a great atmosphere and community feel. Picture below shows how we dominated the roads! (and this was just the front section!). Read more here ( 

Café stops have been plentiful recently and very well received! Especially on cold Sunday mornings. A few pictures from Alba Rosa Cycle club rides in recent weeks. Team bonding happens over a brew and scrambled eggs. You can check out Alba Rosa here.
Conversation in Aug 2011…    
London Friend “So Suz, your moving to Leeds, who do you know?”                                                              Me “ummm… no one”                                                                                                                                   London friend “ So let me get this right, your moving to Leeds and you don’t know anyone?”                                                                                                                                                    Me “Yeah I guess that’s right…but it will be fine, I will meet people”                                                                                           
Why was I confident I would be OK? Well that’s the beauty of sport, it brings like minded people together. Over the last few years I have moved around a fair bit, Loughborough, Mary Land (USA), London and Leeds. Each time joining a sports club has provided me with a community that acts as a second family. The other weekend was Leeds and Bradford Triathlon Club’s annual awards night and what a great night that really highlighted this. It was also a real honour to be voted Female Triathlete of the year, so thank you for all those who voted. Also this weekend, LBT got voted top club in the country at the 220 Triathlon Awards. Lets hear a big Whoop!

World No 16 Pro Triathlete David McNamee presenting me with Female Triathlete of the year. David and Non were a great comedy duo! Thanks guys.
A story of recent collaboration . Richard has become Alba Rosa Cycle Clubs bike repair man with the help of his son Sam and wife Alison. I took my bike round to the Gates House aka bike workshop for a “service” in time for next weekend’s Dambuster Duathlon race. Well looks like the winter miles have given the bike a bit more of a beating than I realised, thanks to the Gates family bike service, new parts have been ordered are being collected and fitted all in an effort to get my bike race ready! THANK YOU!
Winter miles in Baltic conditions have caused a bit of wear and tear on the old bike!
Well done to everyone who braved the cold and mud at the English National Cross Country Championships last weekend in Sunderland. I love nationals as you always bump into so many running friends from around the country, at points I had to remind myself I was there to race and not just have a nice social! You can read more about the race from the point of view of Women's winner and a former Loughborough Uni buddy Louise Damen on her blog here.
During and Post nationals! 43rd/427 at English National XC Champs for me, my highest national placing in senior race to date. We all scrubbed the mud off and celebrated Leeds city Men's silver team medal with curry and beers!
The theme of this blog post “Community and collaboration” is particularly apt as we say farewell to Alex Warburton, a ARCC member who cycled the Otley reliability ride and who’s company I had the pleasure of enjoyed on several café stops during the winter. Tragically Alex suffered a heart attack following the Otley ride, I know at his funeral the cycling community will be there to say good bye and RIP.
These stories highlight the importance of community, It is the people, the friends and friendships more than the exercise or the challenge that is at the heart of sport.  Chris McCormack (multiple world triathlon champ) sums this up brilliant in this interview “In the last few years I have really began to ask myself and others not what brought me to triathlon, but what has kept me here. The answer is, unequivocally, the people."

We always hear "The internet has changed the way the world works". It has provided many communities. Here are some of my favourites you can find on twitter @Sportistblog @eightlane @WomenSportTrust @Starva and of course @AlbaRosaCC

"We run a lot of miles, but it is important to take our friends with us along the way. The road will be a sweeter path." (From @runningquotes)

1 comment: