Behind the scenes with Lupus Racing Team: Camaraderie

BryanLewis-299x450Lupus Racing Team is keeping you clipped in with a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get top results and how teamwork makes the dream work. Team member Bryan Lewis lays out how the team keeps its morale up during race season.

People might be surprised how much a team’s dynamic can affect their results.

Being a close-knit, happy group plays a significant role in the performance of any team, and even more so in cycling as we’re often dependent on a teammate giving 100 percent so another can take the glory of a victory.

As part of following the Lupus Racing Team as we race through the USA Pro Road Tour calendar leading up to the Tour of Utah Aug. 1-7, I’ll discuss how important keeping morale high during a five-week racing block is to success.

The entire 15-man Lupus Racing Team roster was on hand for USA Cycling’s pro road championships and Winston-Salem Cycling Classic May 27-30, the first time we’d all been together since team camp in early February.

From there, eight of us left for four weeks to race the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay and the Tour de Beauce – 14 days of racing, 25 hours of driving, four hotels and two host houses.

Teammates, friends

Lupus camaraderie

To ensure happiness and success it’s important that the people you became teammates with on Jan. 1 have now become friends. Split-second tactical decisions are vital to a team’s success and those tactics work best if teammates are willing to instantly sell themselves out for another’s success.

In theory, you do that because it is what you are paid to do; in reality, you might react slower or give a little bit less if it’s a teammate you don’t get along with who you’re working for.

Camaraderie can often be the difference between getting on the podium and finishing outside the top 10. I’ve seen teams in the peloton dealing with infighting really struggle to pull it together until they figured out their personal issues.Lupus win

Fortunately, on the Lupus Racing Team, we’re lucky to have a great group of guys that have become good friends. While there is no key to forming a close-knit groups, there are a couple things I’ve found that are really important and work for us.

You have to be able to laugh at each other.

You have to be able to laugh at each other. During five weeks on the road tensions ebb and flow, people crack, stress happens, but if you can come back over dinner and make fun of the stress of the day it’s OK. Our mechanic, Zack, often takes the brunt of the jokes but also dishes them out.

I get made fun of for being the fat kid after requesting a 52/36 front chain ring, Nolan breaks equipment and falls down whenever there is a camera present, Chad is scared silly of trans fats, Olheiser is old, and everyone else is given a hard time as it comes up. The French guys (Matt and Thom) are probably the funniest guys on the team, but their jokes are always in French, so the punch line is usually missed.

These all probably seem like stupid jokes, but the little things keep the good vibes flowing.

Fat-bike pump track racing

Lupus fat bikes

When you’re stuck with the same guys for five weeks you have to find a way to kick back the stress, relax and not talk about bike racing. On our trip, that meant two barbecues, some fat-bike pump-track racing and time spent exploring the swimming holes in the area. Sometimes you just have to be a normal group of guys, not bike racers, to get along.

Landing on the podium

Lupus podium Beyer

Getting on the podium really helps.

Finally, getting on the podium really helps. It’s a little bit of a chicken-or-the-egg scenario, but when you’re putting in all this hard work, a result or two goes a long way to keeping morale high. It’s easier to forgive mistakes and be happy as a group when someone is standing on the podium at the end of the day.

Tour of Utah

After four long weeks of racing, it’s great to see the team come together even more, and I know that we’re as close as ever going in to the Tour of Utah. We’ve now all come back together for a tune up race in Bend, Ore. and are in our final days before the Tour of Utah.

I’m sure the friendships formed over the past season will play a pivotal role in our success here.

Tune in on the Tour of Utah Tour Tracker App as well as our social media outlets @LupusRacingTeam to follow the racing as it begins on Aug. 1.

All race photos by Les Morales
Pump track photos by Bryan Lewis