By: Bob Schultz
This year’s Iceman Cometh reminded me why I enjoy being a member of the Athletic Mentors family. Shortly after Williamsburg Road, which is considered halfway, I had a rider behind me say “on your right” and was surprised to see an Athletic Mentors Kit go around me. I did not get a chance to see the face but got on their back tire to draft them. I was able to keep on his tire and finally pass but still did not recognize him. We started talking and introduced ourselves. It was John Harris, a new member from Petoskey. I recognized his name because he joined a Messenger group we have where he introduced himself. While we had just met, we were teammates and shared that bond. For the next hour we both rode as though we had trained together for years. John was faster on the flats and I was faster climbing so we traded leads and put each other in front where we felt the other could help and were calling out what was coming up next.
We talked after the race thanking each other for pushing us faster than we would have individually. We both needed the encouragement climbing Ice Breaker on tired legs then finishing strong. The phrase “Pain loves Company” proved very correct.
John and I had never met but being part of Team Athletic Mentors means more than wearing a similar kit. I have talked to hundreds of riders during races and ridden together with some, but it’s not the same. We are teammates and worked as one. Not everyone is the same speed where riding together makes sense, but a simple word of encouragement when you go by helps. I am lucky I now have a new friend to ride with the next time I am in Petoskey.