I like my teammates. It’s a funny thing the team dynamic, and it is almost impossible to get completely right. There will always be characters that clash, and some egos that are destined to bruise others.
I have to confess to being as bad as anyone else when I think of the harmless things that my team mates can do that for no reason annoy me, or the way I can pick holes in another riders ideas on preparation or race tactics. It’s a professional sport after all; we are all monsters to some degree.
So it was refreshing the other day to be able to think about my teammates outside of the confines of a race or team environment. Part by accident, part by design, I got a glimpse of each and every one of the Rapha Condor Sharp team for 2011 the other day, and I quite liked what I found.
In one of my first tasks as Press Officer for the team this year I had come up with an idea to make more interesting, the usually quite dull, ‘Rider Profiles’ on the team site.
I had been flicking through my sometime well of creative stimulation (courtesy of the ever cool Ms Diana Downs), a book called ‘The Art of Looking Sideways’, when I came across a profile the author Alan Fletcher, had come up with for the Swiss designer Jean Robert.
Apparently Fletcher had been commissioned to write a profile on Robert but had no idea whatsoever as to who Robert was, nor anything about the man. So he simply sent Robert a message simply saying: “Tell me what you like” and Robert’s response was a breathless list of the things that he felt passionate about (printed on page 330, of the book if anyone is interested).
This list was so interesting, in Fletcher’s eyes, that it simply became the profile, and it works marvellously. Better than knowing where the man studied, or a detailed history of his achievements (available anywhere), the profile is actually a very detailed and revealing look into the man himself. Like all the best things in life, it is brilliant because of its simplicity.
I, being the great artist that I am*, then pinched this idea for our own team site. Profiling 13 guys who you may have very little interest in, or may have spent very little time with, can be quite hard. I was also keen to avoid the formulaic pap that most sites churn out, detailing weight and ambitions for the upcoming year can get a little tiring.
So I made the boys do the work themselves, and it makes for highly interesting reading. Seeing what we mostly all have in common (the most common liked thing: girls, followed in equal measure by sunrises and sunsets) and the things that make each one of us a three dimensional human being (Jon Tiernan-Locke likes Guide dogs; who would have thought it?).
I had quite a bit of fun reading these, less so sorting out the punctuation (anyone with even half an idea of what it is to punctuate will know how bad I am at this). But it is good to know that you actually like the blokes you are about to have to share all the good, and all the bad, of a racing season with.
The team profiles will be up on the 2011 team site www.raphacondor.cc after the official press launch at the end of January.