The importance of a good support system
At times we may feel that we need to do things on our own, but the importance of having a support system can never be disregarded. Regardless of our age, needs and desires, we may see that at different points in our life, we have turned to different people for different things.
And it’s just as important to nurture and grow our support system. Having a good support system works both ways – we need to support those in our lives just as those people support us.
Recently, we had the opportunity to interview some of the inspirational ladies from women’s cycling team, Lifeplus-Wahoo; Margaux, Kate, Typhaine, April and Babette. They shared their experiences on maintaining a great support system with their friends, family and community: which is fundamental in helping them become successful in the sport they already love so much.
Celebrating other people’s wins
Part of any sport, or in fact, life itself is knowing how to celebrate other people’s successes. We all have bad days, but it’s about handling the losses with grace and assessing the bigger picture. In the case of Margaux Vigié, one of Lifeplus-Wahoo’s team captains, “Somebody else winning can feel like your victory too when you’re invested in them.”
Diversifying your circle
Lifeplus-Wahoo is a prime example of identifying the best talent across the globe and bringing together those different nationalities. Kate from the team explains: ‘It’s the social aspect I really enjoy; being able to go out on long rides with local people around me and big groups. You get to meet lots of people from different places, spending time in the saddle and enjoying the sun. Cycling is such a great sport, and it can take you to so many places where people are at the top competitive level. If that’s a local club, it’s really important that kids are getting involved in it. I think just watching women competing in races, particularly for young girls, can be really inspirational.”
Babette is the youngest in the team: ‘I learn a lot from the older girls. Each of us has a fair chance to stand out though and I think we all make each other stronger and push each other to another level.I’ve had to cancel parties and other events, but I didn’t really mind because I love cycling so much. I still have friends around me in the team. I have them outside of cycling too, and they really understand my life and accept what comes with it.”
The support of family
Whilst meeting new people is important for personal growth, a good core support system, like family or friends, can be just as influential for self-improvement. As Kate comments, ‘London 2012 for me was really inspirational. My parents took me to a local track a couple of years later and then when I’d tried everything individually, I decided to take up triathlon.’ Typhaine echoes this, with cycling running in her blood: ‘my family; both my father and mother were pro cyclists, so it’s a family story. My brother has also been a pro since 2021. My father is now a mechanic in the men’s professional team. When I was young, he was always by my side. I have a lot of trust in him. I always ask for advice. Even though I’m an adult now, we always need our parents.’
April also explains; ‘I started when I was 12. My dad used to do local time trials and a bit of road racing, then he got me into the sport and I’ve loved it ever since. My dad still comes with me on a Sunday ride. He competed at UK-level. He did time trials and competing. I’ve also got a younger brother who cycled a lot when he was younger, before he had a career. We’re a bit of a cycling family.’
It’s a similar story with Babette: ‘My dad was a pro-cyclist, and he really inspired me to get started on the bike. My sister started cycling first and I was really jealous to see her racing. I started on a really small bike when I was five. She still cycles now on the Dutch team, in Parkhotel.’
Working towards a common goal
Whether it’s exercise, diet or a hobby, working as a team can lead to better results. Naturally, our energy levels can wane, so having a team member or a source of motivation to help pick up the slack can be really beneficial. The same is true in the case of cycling – as Typhaine shares, ‘To win a race you not only have to count on yourself, but on the team. You have to push everyone in the same direction to win a race and to achieve the goal. I had a bad crash in 2012, and the girls are always supportive. This morning, for example, I tried to stay on the wheel of the girl in front of me and follow the line in the downhill.’
As we’ve discovered, the importance of a good support system is key, and numerous factors can influence this, from family and diversity, to the power of a common goal.