Justin ‘Maddog’ Morris is a professional cyclist with Team Novo Nordisk, and has competed with the Subaru-MarathonMTB.com Team during 2011 and for the 2012 Crocodile Trophy. 2013 has seen him racing around the globe, sneaking time in on his mountain bike when time permits.
A big hello from the USA again, after a hectic, nonstop past 2 months. I have been so lucky to have been continuing to follow my passions of cycling & chatting to some magnificent places around the world. From Atlanta-Chicago-Copenhagen-Oslo-Zurich-Belgium-Paris-Venice-Milan-Denmark-Michigan it has been an exhilirating time in my life. Parts of a travelling life can be very demanding, but when you are chasing and spreading a message that is an inextricable part of your heart, it never feels like a job. The ol ‘smile dial’ stays in the positive scale!
This was the longest stint of racing and training I had ever done in Europe. I am grateful for this, Europe offers the history, the prestige, the class behind the sport of cycling. This is where it all began and still goes down on 2 wheels. Cycling here is not just a hobby, a pastime, or a conversation topic for the ‘executive class’. Cycling in Europe is a way of life, it’s champions are national hero’s. The sport is held in such high regard, it is impossible for it to be ignored. Particuarly in Belgium where many elements of our sport were born. Here cycling is the #1 sport, it is the sport of the people. It has a history as a working class sport, where communities rallied around cycling clubs in order to produce the next generation of athletes. In a sport so often mistaken as an individual sport, this is soo important to help emphasise what it really takes to succeed. A young talented cyclist in Belgium, France or Italy will be fostered by a local club/team in order to achieve in the sport. The team is so crucial in this sport from the junior levels to the top protour. An athlete that tries to blaze a trail of solitude will always fail.
I am so lucky to be on a team where support is never far away. It is crucial I think in all aspects of life. At the beginning of this month, I had the honour of racing the Tour of Denmark, this is the largest annual sporting event in Denmark and is the home country of our title sponsor. This is a top level race, and for me was a real, real struggle to get through. What makes such a difference for me when suffering is encouragement. Here, we were so lucky to enjoy unrivalled support. Every day 100’s of 1000’s of people watch this race by the sides of the road. Whilst I was struggling along usually in Groupetto hearing cheers from the crowd and seeing our team jersey’s been waved and our name’s yelled made all the difference to keep the fighting spirit alive. It was a reminder of why I was there, what we were doing, reinforcing the purpose behind the pain. I NEEDED this support to keep going.
It is so amazing how powerful other people are in life. After all, nothing worthwhile was ever achieved alone! Life in cycling and particuarly with diabetes this rings particuarly true. I have so much to be grateful for the wonderful people & support I have in my life. Whether it is a cheer from the side of the road or a hug after a tough day. The power of success is all about the people around us! I remember whilst racing in Africa last year this was an obvious element of life. If asked “how are you going?” The people in Rwanda would always reply “WE are going well”. Togetherness is inextricably associated with survival here. It helps remembering this when times are tough, a bike race is a good metaphor for life like this. When you are struggling, the team is there to look out for you! Every aspect of life I think has a team we can reach out to!
After a roller coaster last 6 weeks in Europe, I am keen to keep riding this roller coaster as long as my passion and my heart are steering the cart.