Standing atop the podium: ALP Coach Jennifer Sharp with ALP Athlete Wendy Werthaiser at the USA Para National Track Championships. Sharp and Werthaiser are competing this August at the ParaPan Am Games in Lima, Peru.

Standing atop the podium: ALP Coach Jennifer Sharp with ALP Athlete Wendy Werthaiser at the USA Para National Track Championships. Sharp and Werthaiser are competing this August at the ParaPan Am Games in Lima, Peru.

Written by ALP Cycles Coach, Jennifer Sharp

It’s easy to think that riders that stand atop the podium are an overnight success. That some how, they’ve magically discovered the sport of cycling, flown through the ranks and appeared as though granted a wish and stand smiling, hands waving, champagne being sprayed and flowers tossed to the crowd afterward.

Yet in reality it takes years of practice. Or rather, roughly 10,000 hours of practice, according to Malcolm Gladwell. That’s roughly 20 hours per week for 10 years. Talk about a lot of time, dedication and sacrifice! Hopefully this doesn’t discourage some of you from following your dreams.

My biggest tip to those newer to sport: find joy in the process. Figure ways that you can push yourself mile after mile, week after week and season after season.

One of the best ways to do that is to share this love and passion is with your support network. It’s that army of people who encourage you: coaches, mentors, teammates, competitors, officials, directors, massage therapists, doctors, friends and family … basically anyone you come in contact with from the moment you put on your superhero spandex to the moment you go to bed and every moment in between. They all want to help you achieve your goals.

ALP Cycles Racing 50+ women standing atop the podium at the Superior Morgul Team Time Trial.

ALP Cycles Racing 50+ women standing atop the podium at the Superior Morgul Team Time Trial.

And sometimes the most impactful support network comes in the form of a kind word from an acquaintance or stranger.

During my second year of racing in the Pacific Northwest many years ago, a local badass woman came up to me and said, “you’re doing it right, Jen. Just keep working. Keep pushing your boundaries.”

That brief encounter has stuck with me throughout my racing and coaching career. She didn’t have to say a word since we were competitors and yet she did. The beautiful part is that I get to pass that one on and share those kind words with others. The ultimate butterfly effect.

And don’t forget to thank them - it’s important to acknowledge and give thanks to those who have impacted your work, directly or indirectly. Words can have such a big impact - choose them carefully.

After a recent stage win in the 2019 edition of the Tour de France, team Jumbo-Visma’s yellow jersey leader Teunissen nailed it when he said:

"No, I'm standing here right now, and the other riders are here too, but there are so many other people who allowed this to happen. If you see how many people are working for us at the bus, to get us ready for the time trial. Then it's also obvious that there are many more people in offices or at home. We're standing on the podium with eight riders, but there should've been about hundred people on it," Teunissen said. (Cycling News Article by By Brecht Decaluwé July 07, 2019 8:18pm)

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