Win4Youth 2014 – May Update
The training camp was more than I could have ever imagined. I met 87 people from 36 countries of which 80% were male. Mostly all Ambassadors were trained, experienced cyclists in fantastic shape! I was very lucky to have a wonderful roomy, Estelle Millado. We were there for each other and she gave me lots of tips and pointers which was amazing.
We spent a couple days learning theory, plus getting tested – I had a 2 hour test which included a full body scan measuring your bones, fat, and muscle, as well as an ECG to see if my ticker could hold up to the stress of the event, plus an actual bike assessment where every 5 minutes they pricked your ear to test your blood for lactic acid levels. Mine was so sore after! I lasted 30 minutes and did pretty good considering. I got the full green light from the Doctor.
The next day we got on our bikes for the first time and went out for a training ride, which was supposed to be an easy breezy 22km ride – it wasn’t so bad distance or hill wise, but my bike was all wrong! I was so sore when we finished that I had to soak in a bath that evening. Before we left that day, they sprung it on us that the next day we all were entered into a Classic European race in Liege, Belgium with 7000 other European racers. It was through the Ardennes, a well-known mountainous area starting in Liege, to Bastogne.
CAN YOU IMAGINE my fear? How could I possibly do this when 22km practically did me in?
To make a long story short, we were up early and on the bus to Liege, decked out in full Adecco cycling gear, and drove into the race area like ROCK STARS. All 87 of us in a sea of red headed to our huge Adecco VIP tent. We had to put on our bib, fill up our isotonic drinks (this helps you apparently) and then off we went. I rode most of the ride by myself, as you are interspersed with so many cyclists and you have to focus so you wont’ fall, get hit by a car, or get a flat tire – many did.
Campers were lined up all along the route, with cheerleaders and family’s there to watch you die while getting up the hills. Some were cheering me on which was nice. Many people called out ALLER, ALLER, Jackie! GO GO Jackie! It actually really helped.
5 hours later, and after tackling 4 huge climbs, some at 20% gradient (very very steep), I managed to make it! The last 5 Km was grueling, my back and neck were killing me. I couldn’t stop though, there was nothing to do but finish the race. We wove through streets of cobblestone, zipped down steep hills at close to 100KM’s an hour, and by golly I didn’t fall off! There were several times when I had to get off on some of the steep climbs as my pedals were stuck and I had no more reserves. IT WAS SERIOUSLY THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER HAD TO DO and I wasn’t prepared for this in the slightest! Sheer determination and will power got me through it!
We ended the training camp with a lovely evening finale, it was so beautifully done. Patrick De Maeseneire our Global CEO came to honour us and gave a nice speech to motivate us further and to ask for our help to really drive up the Km’s to meet our goal of 2 million. Globally, we are not on target so he asked us personally to help. I will be counting on you to help spread the word and find a way to help contribute.
The next 4 months I have my work cut out for me because although the main event is only 18km it’s all up hill. Now, I know what 8%, 11% and 20% feel like. It’s way harder in real life than when you look at a picture.
If anyone wants to come and train with me I’d love the company!
Anyways, back to work but had to share this wonderful experience and also say that I am so proud and thankful to be representing Adecco and Adecco Canada in this wonderful inspiring initiative. We are doing this for the kids, let’s remember that!
Whoa! It all happened so fast – I’m already back from kick-off camp in Belgium. What an experience! I had the pleasure of meeting 87 colleagues from around the world but the best take away from this recent adventure is my new BFF, Jackie, a relationship I will always treasure. ☺
I gave myself a few extra days in Belgium before the training started in order to shake off my jetlag so I could be mentally and physically “on my game” and also managed to fit in some sightseeing. I made a stop in Munich and figured I could go for a run on my first day there. I thought I’d run my usual 10 km through English Garden which ended up being an unusual 15 km off the beaten path because I got lost on the trails. So the next day I just rented a bike deciding that it would be more fun getting lost this way while sightseeing. I ended up biking a total 8 hours (YES!!!! 160 kms for Win4Youth!)
Ok, so now I’m ready for the real stuff! Happily arriving in Belgium on the Wednesday I attended the meet and greet with half of my colleagues suffering from….yup…jetlag! My roomy Jackie couldn’t even sleep the first night while I apparently snored the night away.
We were given our schedule for the next 4 days and I thought wow this is going to be a lot of work! Painfully our days began at 6:15 am and ended at 11 pm. The schedule was just packed! We had different workshops such as Injury Prevention, Training Software, Mental Training, and Nutrition (which I missed since I was at the lab getting my ECG, full body scan and cycling assessment done). I was relieved that my results came out just fine. Shortly after my labs were completed we were told we’d be cycling an 85 km historical race ride Liege-Bastogne-Liege with close to 7000 riders on our last day. UGH! Now I was nervous, not with the distance but with 20% hill gradient.
We woke up really early on Saturday and had an hour long drive to Liege, for which I’d packed up all my cycling gear provided by Adecco – jersey, windbreaker, helmet, jacket, arm/leg warmers, a tool set and much more! Looking around the bus, wearing all the Win4Youth gear it dawned on me that we were doing this for an awesome cause.
The race began and I must tell you…there’s a first time for everything! A km or two of downhill cobblestones…that really scared the bageebers out of me and it was really, really, really tough! I was more comfortable with the uphill (or up-hell?!?) parts – I must say that it was quite a disadvantage for me going downhill. My computer suggested that I did 70km/hr through these stints while Jackie was having fun hovering at a comfortable (?) 100 km/hr! Nevertheless, after the 85 km ride I felt a real sense of accomplishment. I realized that if you put your heart and mind to it, anything is possible.
This experience gave me a new outlook. I felt that we at ADECCO are really making a difference. We are living and breathing our core values.
Team Spirit: 87 colleagues, pedaling, pushing and helping each other on the road. Responsibility: volunteering and contributing to communities
Passion: Adecco has a really strong drive for making positive changes and big differences in people’s lives which matters!!!
I am so proud working for Adecco! Let us continue changing lives and pedal to reach our goal of 2,000,000 km (5 times to the moon).
As part of the international Adecco Group, Adecco Canada participates every year in Win4Youth, a global sports initiative organized by Adecco to raise money for youth foundations around the world. This initiative sees Adecco colleagues, associates, and clients from around the world working together to raise kilometres in order to meet (or exceed) the annual target set by Adecco S.A. If the target is met, the Adecco Group donates money to a select number of foundations chosen for that year. Since the program began in 2010, it has become an important part of our corporate culture because it fosters two of our core values, responsibility and team spirit, while at the same time promoting an active lifestyle.