Saturday, February 14, 2009

Riding With the Pros Part 1 - Want to Ride?

It started with an e-mail from a lady in our Marketing department. The Tour of California had changed its routes this year and there would be no stage going through the Salinas/Monterey area. There’s a large cycling community in that area and Rabobank has many customers who were very disappointed about the route change. So the bank decided to sponsor a ride for these customers. So what? The pro cyclists are not coming through the area on their ride, no VIP tents, and no CCD live broadcast of the riders to watch as they approach your location. No excess of free drinks and gourmet food to over indulge on. One weekend ride sponsored by the bank is not going to make anyone forget about the huge party that they would be missing this year.

So the bank didn’t sponsor just any ride. They sponsored a ride with Rabobank pro-cyclists Robert Gesink and Grischa Niermann. AND……Hennie Kuiper! “Are you kidding me?” I thought as I read the e-mail. Cyclists will sell their mothers’ bikes to ride with these guys!

The e-mail went on to say since I was on the Rabobank employee bike team she was hoping I could get a few of the employees to ride the ride and keep an eye on the customers to make sure they didn’t get in trouble. She had 3 spots to fill and did I think the employees would be willing to spend a Sunday in Monterey riding?

There were some caveats. The bank wouldn’t pay for the employees’ travel or hotel costs. The route was also a linear route not a loop. So you had to get your own self and bike from the finish line back to the start with no shuttle. Ugh. To me it sounded like too much logistics to work out.

Most of us at the bank have been swamped with extra work for several months as the bank is very conservative and is doing everything to lower expenses and not lay off any employees like so many other businesses have had to lately. Which means instead of hiring more people, we have to get the job done with the current number of employees, even though the workload keeps increasing and employees retire or move away (like one of my employees is doing).

So I thought, I am so busy with my job that I don’t feel like (on top of everything else I have to do) working out all the logistics, spending money on hotels and spending a precious weekend ‘working’. I was sure she’d get more than 3 volunteers anyway.

So I sent out the e-mail to the other members of the bike team and waited for the influx of responses. She got two. She was short one person. The two people she did get were from my area. One was asking to carpool and share a hotel room and the other said his family was coming up with him and would shuttle our gear to from start to finish and back. Logistics covered. So I decided to ride.

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