We may be Clouders, but we don’t exactly walk with our heads in the cloud. We only ride our bicycles that way. 😛 Well, jokes aside, it’s quite the opposite. If you haven’t figured it out already, we are cycling enthusiasts. We commute by bike, we travel by bike, and some of us even get into bike competitions.
For three years now, we have teamed up and got into a local cycling competition that takes place each year in a forest close to our Bucharest headquarters. The Skoda Velo Challenge is a team relay cycling event that allows companies to race in several categories – men, women, mixed, and industries. On the first two editions, our girls team got ranked third. This year once again, we entered the competition with one all women team and two all men teams. Prior to the race day, we did practice laps on the course and managed to significantly improve our lap times.
As always, we aimed high. Team Clouders 1 (the boys team) were set on winning the race in the IT category, whereas Team Clouders 2 (the girls team) were determined to get ahead of everyone else in the women’s competition. As for the Team Clouders 3 (the other boys team), they didn’t have their mind set on winning, they just wanted to have fun. And so they did! 😉
The day began really early. Two hours ahead of the gun start, we met for last minute preparations. There were some unexpected changes in the configuration of the course, so some of us did a warm-up lap and got to know how to tackle the newly added turns. Good headstart comes as a great advantage on this course, as there are not that many areas where overtaking is possible. Lagging behind a slow competitor does not exactly help you find your way up on the results table.
The girls rode quite well and battled for first place all the way against a telecom team. Unfortunately, they got defeated in the last lap, but still managed to finish second, which is not bad at all. As always, our girls made us proud.
I got the first turn in one of the boys team relay. Our strategy was to get the fastest team member in the first position, so that whoever rode second would find the track clear of slower competitors clogging the single tracks. This worked quite well, I pushed myself and managed to finish right after the second fastest plutoon, thus keeping the slower riders in the back. My teammate who rode the second lap had only a few people in front and was able to focus more on being fast rather than on overtaking. These first two laps set the pace for the rest of the race and we were able to get some decent times. Unfortunately, we weren’t fast enough to win the race, but we did finish third with only 20 seconds behind the second and 1 minute behind the first.
The Beauty Of Cycling
Most of us are competitive people. We like sports, we like bikes, so this event is the perfect pretext to gather and have fun. And it is not just about the race day… Preparing for the race means after-work evenings on the trail, talks about equipment, strategies, in other words… team building. And, of course, there are those long after-race talks on the following workday.
It was fun and it was definitely worth it. The only thing left for us to do is convert to cycling all our colleagues who, weirdly enough, are immune to the biking bug. But I trust that it’s only a matter of time. 😛