Nathanial and Ben have been on the team together for over 6 years. They have grown up together on the team.
This is their last year getting to race with each other and I want to thank them for stepping up and being true leaders.
However this is a story about team work, friendship and respect.
Two weeks ago we had a race in Flagstaff. Nathaniel in the last lap crashed and went from 3rd place down to 6th. He was upset and devastated. It takes real courage and self trust to believe that you can race at the front of the race and fight for a podium. Nathaniel had never put himself in such a position so the last minute crash was hard to emotionally absorb.
This past weekend we had a race in Prescott.
In the NICA series of races Nathaniel races for Catalina Foothills High school and Ben races for Tucson High.
They both race in the same JV category.
Nathanial had never been on an individual podium for any race ever.
There race was 3 laps of a 6 mile course.
After the first lap Nathaniel was in 4th place and Ben in 5th with 6th, 7th and 8th, just behind Ben .
After the second lap things had not changed 4th through 8th place were still all together.
I had spent the race on top of the last climb cheering kids on and giving them positive energy.
On the last lap, on top of the last climb, I told Ben to Play the Game.
He knew what this meant.
Nathaniel was just in front of him. Ben did not want the others to catch Nathaniel and he could help. He could sit up just enough to give Nathanial a gap and make the other kids chase.
This was a moment of true friendship and respect. Ben made the decision to race for a freind and help Nathaniel achieve this huge goal of his. Ben sacrificed his race and possible best place all to give his friend a chance for something special.
In the end Nathaniel got it. 4th place. His first ever solo podium.
All because his friend and teammate selflessly rode his race to support him.
This is El Grupo. This is what we teach.
We teach love of teammates. We teach caring for each other. We teach racing as a team.
That is why we want everyone to participate with the Fall Fondo because it is just another way to participate with the greater cycling community to show them why we love to ride so much, and why we are so thankful for their support.
Please arrive on time and ready to help and support the Fondo.
It is because of events like this that we are able to do what we do, so affordably
Nathanial and Ben post race
Nathaniel on the podium