I've been asked a few times what it means to be part of the Endurance Films Racing Team. I detect skepticism about the "team" part. I can attest the sense of “team” is real and it has become increasingly important and valuable to me.
We are a pretty diverse group but representative of Age Groupers. We are spread out across the country from coast to coast; we range in age from early 20's to late 50's; we are single, married, with with/without kid; we are entrepreneurs, elite triathletes, fitness professionals, educators, long-haul truckers, weather forecasters, and financial gurus. Some have coaches; some are coaches. We each have unique strengths, experience, and knowledge. What we have in common is that we are open, honest, dedicated, reliable, hard working, and we want to share our love of the sport.
On the weekend of USAT Nationals last August, we became a team, the inaugural team, and we have grown together since. We've lost a few members who decided triathlon or the team was not for them. Among those who remain, we've recognized the benefits of the team including many intangibles we could not have predicted. Social networking has made much of this possible.
Let me give you a few examples. It seems nearly every day Nick and Laura post their morning workouts on Facebook by 5 am. In a sport that is so individual and solitary, I find it very motivating to know that they are getting up and out there and hitting it hard just like me. When I found out I made Team USA, I had a long conversation with Team USA veteran and entrepreneur Scott about ideas for fundraising and getting myself to New Zealand without bankrupting the family. Diane is great source of support because she understands the challenges of working and training while being a mom. Sip is relative newcomer to the sport but his Ironman South Africa trip with his family showed that you can dream big, incorporate your family, and make it happen!! Liz is a young up-and-coming phenom and her race reports articulate what it means to race with strategy and to dig deep! Casey has great potential as a pro and I’m excited to see what the season holds for him this year.
There is a lot of email, Facebooking, and texting going on behind the scenes. We encourage, congratulate, provide input, and commiserate. I derive a real energy from being a part of the team and being swept up in our collective race season. When I race, I feel accountable to my teammates, my sponsors (Endurance Films and Solar Connexion) and my coach, and that gives me an extra edge. Then when things come together, it feels great to see my accomplishment highlighted in the Endurance Films newsletter too! Again, while triathlon is an individual sport, the benefit of team (or club or whatever!) membership cannot be underestimated.
Danny and Eric of Endurance Films have done a great job launching and managing the team. They quickly identified our niches enabling each of us to contribute in some way whether it is Nick managing the race calendar and results, Laura providing photos of our sponsor products in action, or me doing some team blogging. And yes, lest I forget, we get a lot of gear and DVDs too!
Endurance Films is taking applications for spots on the team. Those who apply should be prepared to share openly about the ups and down of the triathlon lifestyle through blogging and social media. It’s vitally important to be comfortable doing so. There are not a lot of demands on team members, but they need to be willing step up when asked. It's the old "you get out what you put in" kind of thing. EFRT members are ambassadors of the sport.
Even if the EFRT is not for you, I'd encourage you to seek out a club or team, or create an informal one using the power of social networking tools! I am affiliated with a group of triathletes from the nearby city of Roanoke. It is a ton of fun to keep up with them all online then meet up at local races. It's quite a group of characters!! It's that sense of connectedness that makes the sport so much fun for me.
I can’t wait for USAT Nationals when the Endurance Films Racing Team will again assemble, but this time with a year of history behind us! Thanks to Endurance Films and my teammates who have made my triathlon journey so much sweeter!