Coaching for the Georgia Chapter TNT cycle team has always been a rewarding experience, which is why I keep coming back to do it. Obviously the cause it worthy, Neil Fleming and the other coaches, mentors, SAG persons, etc. go well above and beyond what people would think is 'normal'. But... the people that actually sign up, raise the money, and get outside of their comfort zone but ultimately succeed, are the real payoff.
With only 3 or 4 weeks left before the winter team ships off to Tucson, the mileage for the GTR's have been creeping up. Almost every week the new people on the team are doing the longest, hardest ride they've ever done. And every week, they keep coming back, with smiles, good attitudes, and donation checks in their back pockets. This week in particular, the GTR was a perfect storm of effing hard. The parcours were little back roads in Gwinnett, Walton, Newton, and Rockdale counties, always going up or down, twisty enough that you really never had a tailwind (and exponentially increased your chances of getting off course) , and included many road surfaces that most people would just assume avoid, including 3.5k of not flat gravel road.
Judging by the number of participants that got SAGGED in, an outside observer might gather that this was the day that decimated the team. But, if that observer had been in the parking lot as each of these people rode or drove in, they would have a very different opinion. I know, I was there. Everyone that came in was tired, dirty, beat, and in some cases bloody. But none, not by a long shot, was broken. It may be cliche, but it's true; what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, and the Tucson team got a hell of a lot stronger this weekend.
It makes me proud and just a bit humbled to associated with these people.