Day 1 of the 2010 ECCC Road Season is in the bag, Day 2 to follow shortly.
I will say that steering the conference over the winter is extremely difficult. It's an awful lot of email, a lot of problems more or less out of your control, a lot of realizing things would be so much better if you just made time to take care of one left-behind task or another. There's no immediate pay off behind all that, and it's difficult to stay focused for months on all the many issues and tasks that need to be addressed without actually seeing what you're working toward.
But, of course, anybody who's ever really thought about training and what it means already knows that. Guiding the conference, promoting a race, training for the season, the most difficult challenge is focus---maintaining discipline and progress even in the face of... Nothing. No reward, no pay back, no return on that investment for extended periods of time. The challenge in training is not spending a few mind numbing hours on the trainer or slogging home in the freezing rain. The challenge is going out and doing it again, and again, and repeating until the season finally hits, and only then possibly being rewarded. The triumph is going out and doing it again.
Jeffrey Hansen asked me a while ago why I think the ECCC comes up with so many initiatives and ideas that generally then spread out nationally. What makes us so successful at continually moving forward?
There are a lot of reasons for that. We have a good base of riders and teams; we have many excellent volunteers, promoters, and team captains; we stress inclusion and improvement above all else; we've built a culture of analysis and innovation; we hold firmly to sheer tenacious perseverence and zealous belief in our own true path. But, I think the main reason we keep moving forward is focus.
We could do more. I could put more time into the conference than I do. We could have more people staffing any number of roles. But we do all right. Most importantly, we never shut down. From season to off season, throughout the year, across the years, all of our volunteers and leaders continually work away at building, developing, improving the conference. Similarly, none of us ever takes our eyes off the trail ahead. No one good event or excellent season ever slows us down for long, that focus immediately bringing us back to what could still be better, what remains to be done.
Like any good racer with a crystal clear vision of their goals and a plan on how to get there, our focus, our drive, is what makes it happen.
Like any good breakaway, there isn't much choice but for the others to follow.
As for the rewards... For those and what they might be, you only had to watch the ECCC's awesome women for a little bit today and see how much happier almost all of them seemed to be. Sometimes you have a good race. Sometimes a lot of people have a good race.