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By Jen McMillan
"Esprit de corps - noun - a feeling of pride and mutual loyalty shared by the members of a group"
It happened again today... I set out for my ride before work and was heading towards Redcliffe when somebody pulled alongside and asked “Are they T:Zero socks?” And there it was, the esprit de corps of the silly pink socks!
I’ve never really been much of a joiner. I am a card-carrying introvert. A loner. There is probably a good reason why I gravitated towards solo endurance pursuits. And I am sure I’m not alone in that!
But then I signed up with Coach Rich and without really knowing it, became a member of the T:Zero family. It was subtle. It started with the pink stuff. I’ve never been a huge wearer of pink. But when you are with T:Zero, pink is inevitable! A splash on a running singlet here, and a logo on a navy shirt there...
And then it began. “Hey T:Zero!” Shouted at me in the Bunya Forest when I was out running trails one day in my T:Zero singlet.
Then it was the crazy pink socks. I have legs like upside down coke bottles - I don’t usually do tall socks. And yet, somehow, I found myself wearing long pink cycling socks! The iconic T:Zero pink socks. I even abandoned my beloved Thorlo socks and ran in them!
And then it was “Hey T:Zero!” Shouted at me through the cold and dark mist as I rode around the Nundah crit track before dawn. Shouted by somebody flashing past in the aero position on the Moreton Bay Rail bikeway.
There was the gift of the first T:Zero hoodie. We wore them with pride while cheering on Coach Rich winning at Ultraman Oz 2017. And EVERYBODY there wanted a pair of the iconic pink T:Zero socks! And we had them, because we were part of the T:Zero family.
And somehow in all of this, I started to feel a sense of belonging to something bigger. Pride in wearing the T:Zero kit. I shoehorned myself into the legendary T:Zero trisuit that fit like a corset and gave me cleavage up to my ears! And then it was “Hey! Go T:Zero!” at Cairns 70.3.
And the piece de resistance was the pink trucker cap. Not wanting to be rude, but triathletes are some of the most anally-retentive, performance driven people about. They will do almost anything to shave a second or two from their times. They will pay heaps for gear that is lighter, sleeker, faster. And yet, these incredibly competitive people were wearing the pink trucker cap! Clunkiest caps EVER! And not just to walk the streets. They were wearing them to RACE! And when I was spectating, I was the one yelling “Go T:Zero!” every time I saw one!
So, there it is, the esprit de corps of the silly pink socks! Esprit de corps - a feeling of pride and mutual loyalty shared by the members of a group.
What has been created by the wonderful people of T:Zero is very special. I am an engineer, but at this end of my career, the most important thing I do is build and lead fantastic teams. And I recognise a good one when I see it! It doesn’t happen by accident and it takes care and hard work on the things that people tend to think of as ‘extras’ and ‘not the real work’. At T:Zero it starts with great coaches - coaches with a self-development ethos. Coaches who work with all of their athletes to provide flexible and appropriate training for their needs. Coaches who show the love to all their athletes, from fastest to slowest. But I’m sure there are plenty of caring coaches out there.
What has been created goes beyond that, to form a glue that joins disparate solo athletes into one T:Zero family. It’s a bond fostered by weekly Facebook shout outs, celebrating success for our athletes, regardless of what success looks like for them. Cheering on PBs all over the place! Support through blogs and useful information. Merchandise that makes people look and feel like part of the team. Whatever you’re doing - keep doing it!
The esprit de corps of the silly pink socks... the reason I now own pink sunglasses, a pink helmet. And if I could have found a pair of those hideous pink Louis Garneau tri shoes in my size before they were all gone, I’d have probably owned a pair of them too! Somehow, I found something I wasn’t even aware I was looking for. “Hey T:Zero!!!”
- Jen McMillan
An amazing collection of training and racing advice from the T:Zero Multisport coaches- with the occasional guest blogger! Read this blog to help you live your potential!