It's a cheesy line from a Hollywood blockbuster movie delivered by Alec Baldwin, but it's true. "There's nothing stronger than a heart of a volunteer."
Just this week I completed the build up and training as a volunteer, to what will be an amazing event - the Track Cycling World Cup, held in the London 2012 Olympic Velodrome. The thing that has astounded me however, is that so many people stepped forward to be part of the biggest volunteer project in peace time history in the UK - I am just one of the many. I'm incredibly proud to stand alongside so many people who gave up their time, because they wanted to be part of something. The Olympic and Paralympic Games.
But like my roles as a Trustee of charities Interactive and The Herne Hill Velodrome trust, in this role as a London 2012 Gamesmaker, I feel incredibly privileged. I say that because I am a fairly young head amongst many exceptionally experienced, intelligent and knowledgeable individuals. I have the chance to learn and become more knowledgeable as a result of working with them.
But there are volunteers across sport, charity and many other strands of community. What they do, may not make the front page of a paper, but they are the glue that holds organisations and communities together. They fight for causes, sometimes this comes in the form of a campaign, sometimes this will come in the form of a physical challenge, but these people step up to the plate and keep fighting.
Another privilege I will have soon, is to work with Epilepsy Action at the Virgin London Marathon in April. I can honestly say I bow in the presence of anyone who completes the marathon, I have never really been a very good runner. Far better with wheels attached, I was always of the mind that, "why would you run somewhere, when you can cycle it so much faster?" What these people put their bodies through is phenomenal and I just hope I am able to give them some physical comfort and an exceptionally well deserved massage at the end of the race.
For me unlike the marathon runners, I will have to rely on some amazing people who will make up my crew, in order to even have a chance of completing Race Across America in 2013 & 14.
It takes a special kind of person to make a good crew member, hard working, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, talented, motivational, organised, energetic, the list goes on. Sometimes people forget with all the focus on the RAAM riders, how crucial and outstanding these people are. They get put under the most extreme stress, have to make incredibly difficult decisions and put their heart and sole into a race which they won't even get a medal or a plaque for. Instead they leave with memories, some good, some bad, some extraordinary.
I know from experience that crew chiefs bear the brunt of this stress, they are the person who calms the conflict, keeps the ship on course and if something goes wrong, the responsibility is theirs alone. Whether these amazing individuals feel they did a good, bad, indifferent or amazing job, it doesn't matter.
They stepped up to the plate and took on the role.
And to a certain lady, you know who you are - Thankyou.