What is a team-mate?

Crouy St Pierre

Crouy St Pierre

Noun – a member of the same team.

A team sport is a sport which involves players working together towards a shared objective. So far so straight forward, so what about “Team Spirit”? One definition of “Team spirit” is supporting your team, respecting others and most of all encouraging your team mates. Whether you enjoy watching or taking in part in team sports or not we would probably all want to be thought of as a “team player” whether at workor in terms of our relationships, after all the alternative is to be selfish, and self centered. Cycling can be a team sport or an event where individuals compete alone, either against the clock in a time trial or against someone in event on the track. Road cycling is clearly a team sport, it’s not possible to win a stage race like the Tour De France without a team of riders all working with the aim of supporting one rider, keeping them out of the wind, pacing them back to the peleton if he or she punctures, fetching water bottles as demonstrated in the picture below of world Chapion Mark Cavendish or attacking a rival or neutralising another’s cyclist’s attack .

Cav bottles

Keeping the cycling theme going finding a better example of team spirit than Team Battle Back is hard. These 8 wounded servicemen last year raced over 3500 miles by bike in the Race Across America (RAAM). Battle Back is one of the projects supported by Help for Heroes. Taking part in a Help for Heroes Big Battlefield Bike ride is nothing like as challenging but it’s still over 350 miles cycling in 6 days with whatever the route and the weather has to throw at you. In 2010 I know I had one day in particular where I found it hard going, it was wet and the rolling countryside wasn’t as picturesque as some we had passed through and we were riding a 20 mile or so stint into a headwind towards that day’s wreath laying ceremony at Crouy Saint Pierre

Help for Heroes Big Battlefield Bike Ride 2010 094

where one of the 739 British graves is that of Corporal Henry (Harry) Garnet Bedford Miner who won the Victoria Cross and French Croix de Guerre fighting at Demuin during the Battle of Amiens on the 8th of August 1918. He was mortally wounded by a German hand grenade on the day of act of bravery for which he was awarded the VC. There was no bravery from me that day but I was greatful for a couple of the guys on the ride who let me sit behind them out of the wind and encouraged me along to the cemetry where I was lucky to have my parents and other members of my family meet up with us. that sort of team spirit in encouraging other riders along is one of the things I loved about the Big Battlefield Bike Ride. I got to meet some great people, some I rode with for 5 minutes or 5 miles or as it turned out 5 days with a great guy Stewart Mcgeogh. Stewart and I decided to visit as many of the CWGC cemeteries as possible along the route both finding it impossible to cycle past any of them with out pausing for at least a short while to pay our respects and be humbled by the sacrifice of the men buried or commemorated in beautifully tended cemetries big and small.

Whenever you felt yourself flagging there was someone ahead to try and catch up with or someone coming from behind you to enourage you along and up the “undulations” of the Northern French and Belgium countryside. Everyone riding a Big Battlefield Bike Ride is a team member and the team spirit on display is fantastic to experience. Help for Heroes is lucky to have some great Patrons some of whom are quite high profile including Peta Todd a former Page 3 model and mum. Peta is also the fiancee of Mark Cavendish the former world road race champion and the latest patron of Help for Heroes . Mark will be promoting the Hero Ride, the culmination of this years BBBR Mark will be a great champion for a charity that was founded with a fundraising bike ride in 2007. The patron’s the charity has work together to encourage others to support the charity and to encourage the most important members of the team, the guys and girls who have suffered injuries. The Battle Back guys, the team who did RAAM and the patrons show us team spirit in what they do for the charity.

So what is a team mate? a vital supporter, a close friend, someone who shares your efforts, and just maybe this year I can say a World Champion cyclist!

If you enjoyed reading the please support my fundraising for this years Hero ride.


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