By Cory Stange, Team OAM Now Cyclist- Road Cat 2
Of all the road disciplines, criterium racing is the most dynamic. Emphasizing speed over endurance, crits are often won by the quick and daring. Despite believing I possessed all the skills necessary to succeed in the high speed world of crit racing, I struggled in past years to obtain the results I always felt capable of, at least until I began working with Athletic Mentors and Team OAM NOW.
Coming into 2014, and my first year with Team OAM NOW/ Athletic Mentors, everything seemed to change. For the first time in my cycling career, the team actually wanted to foster my fast finish as well as incorporate it into the plan for overall team success. This mentality of riding whole heartedly as a team and viewing any results team members achieved as a team victory was something completely new to me. Having the team dedicate themselves, near the end of a race, in order for me to sprint was a bit unnerving at the beginning of the season. It was something I had never experienced: teammates giving up their chances at overall success in order to give the team it’s best shot at winning. This sort of selflessness is rare. It’s not something you see very often on other teams at this level.
Even more surprising than the selfless nature of the team, I found myself riding for the results, and wins, I was accumulating for both me and the team. I’ve always believed in myself and the potential I had, but it wasn’t until joining Team OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors this year that I saw that potential come to fruition. It’s truly amazing how surrounding yourself with the right people can make all the difference. Last year, I finished third at one race and in the top ten at a few others. This year, I’ve won four races, garnered many top five finishes, several top tens, including the Pro Cat1/2 Michigan Road Series and the overall at the Wednesday night Waterford series.
So, what changed from last year to this year? Quite a few things, but clearly, the biggest change was joining Team OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors. Cycling can be as much of a team sport as you make it. Here at OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors I’ve discovered just how much a cyclist can benefit from riding with a true team. I can honestly say my results would not look the same this year if I hadn’t been so lucky as to get chosen to be a member of this great team.
No doubt teamwork in crit racing leads to success, but being part of a team leads to successes for everyone. Being a part of this team, in particular, has changed my riding, has changed my concept of team work, and what it means to be whole-hearted in sport.
If you’d like to apply to ride for Team OAM NOW/Athletic Mentors in 2015, click here for the application.