AlfaPeople @ Velothon Berlin 2017. A different kind of team building
An idea, born in a AlfaPeople team meeting in the beginning of December 2016. “Why not participate as AlfaPeople team in the Velothon bike race in Berlin on June 18th?” a colleague from Berlin was asking. Until that moment nobody had spared much thought about cycling much less about bike races. There was quite a lack of confidence, but after a few discussions it was decided: Yes, we can. The ambitious goal to finish the race with an average speed of 30 km/h was loosely agreed on within the team.
We started in February 2017 and tried to establish a regular training routine every Wednesday afternoon. Then we just figured that a regular training would not do as we work in too many projects as well as in too many places all over Germany. So now everybody had to rely on his own training on the weekends.
Then we came up with the second challenge which we had forgotten in the heat of planning. Not everybody had a suitable bike for the race. So, we started searching the internet for a second-hand bike. Then fitting the bike to the height of the cyclist, buying bike pants, helmet and shoes and starting the preparations.
Soon the first supporters came up from within our ranks. Coworkers, who could not race but would gladly cheer for the cyclists at the roadside. We ended up with six cyclists and several supports heading for Berlin. People came from Berlin, Hamburg and Den Haag to take part in this athletic weekend.
On Friday night, we started with a boat ride through Berlin on a BBQ boat. The 5 PS license free boat was waiting for us. Due to wind and currents, the handling of the boat was not as easy as anticipated. But together the team with no former experience overcame these obstacles. To everybody’s pleasure the rain hat stopped before and we cruised into the sunset with a fabulous BBQ.
Saturday was dominated by registration, accreditation and visiting the cycle fair at the Brandenburg Gate. We soon noticed that a new team must start from the last block. This again raised the general concerns. The so-called broom wagon is never very far from the last row. If this disliked wagon passes a cyclist, it “sweeps” him up as he is not able to keep the minimum speed.
Sunday 7:50a.m. the race started with team AlfaPeople in the last block. Every cyclist soon noticed that if he is not dead on time, he must even start from the last row within the last block. It felt like each block contained at least a thousand cyclists. And there were six blocks ahead of the last one.
After the start the AlfaPeople team soon split up due to the different training levels. At the latest on the little hills of Wannsee it showed who had enough strength in their thighs. The mass of cyclists and the speed that occasionally reached over 50 km/h in the wake of a good team is definitely impressive for a newbie.
The first well trained cyclist reached the finish line with an average speed of almost 37 km/h. The other team members reached an average speed of 31 km/h. So, the original goal was achieved. But what was even more important, nobody got hurt.
Everybody was obviously happy and impressed when we were cheered by our own fans at the race track as well as at the finish line. On the final meters adrenalin levels raised with a finish line directly in front of the Brandenburg Gate and hundreds of raving spectators.
One thing is for sure, this was not the last race for our AlfaPeople racing team. And everybody agreed, next time there will be more participants.