STRIVER Voice: Ryan Howsam – Cycle Stage Three

Strive and big change, I really didn’t know what these words meant before this week. I’ve faced plenty of challenges and believe your greatest adversity is your biggest opportunity.¬†Joining the core team I felt completely out of my depth with fellow strivers who have achieved so much pushing their bodies to extremes and me not having ridden a bike since childhood other than for a couple of 25mile rides the week before.

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I was recently at a Tony Robbins leadership event and one of the inspiring guest speakers was Robin Benincasa a top extreme sportswoman, seeing how her team had pulled together to win numerous challenges I realised whilst I had preached to my team about being a team player I had not actually lived the same words. During her speech I made a mental shift and decided that if I want to truly win I needed to be a leader within the team rather than external to them.

This week I’ve experienced unbelievable team work and an extreme will to succeed. Whilst I’ve always had a strong will without the team around me I doubt I would have.

The first day was supposed to be the easy, it wasn’t for me. After day three I mentally thought 60 percent over, but day four is without doubt the hardest day I have ever had endure in my life other than perhaps starting Chemotherapy.
The teamwork around me that day was inspirational, from the chaperones (Jo) who pushed me from behind and led me from the front ( Cristian ) when I absolutely needed it, to Julian staying alongside me and Chris leading from the front to Georgina stopping to give me some water and an energy drink as darkness was closing in.

The last 30 kilometres felt endless, most of which on my own but determined to finish, I just pushed my body on. In the pitch black I saw some lights ahead of me stopped on the side of the road. Karl, Georgina and Abdulla like myself had missed a turning and we’re working out what to do. I was back with my team.

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The guys managed to get the directions and after crossing the main road, jumping over a hedge and onto another road we were just a couple of miles from the hotel when the lights of the vans arrived behind us with Richard and Steve leading the way, Steve being the ultimate team player having cycled with Richard for days led us to the hotel in darkness.

It wasn’t until I was in the car on the way back to our hotel that the enormity of the situation and what I had achieved hit me, having suffered from cancer 2 years ago to the month and not letting my emotions get the better of me I finally broke down. Georgina, Joanne and Julian in the car showed such love in that moment which touched my soul.

I went to bed though knowing I had given my all, my body felt like it had shut down. I couldn’t imagine getting on a bike for another day but in the back of my mind I knew I had to finish and seeing Richard go out earlier every morning, having done 10 days more I found truly inspirational, and whilst I’ve failed in life I’ve never given in.
So waking up my body felt a little better and off we went again, Chris leading from the front and Julian alongside me. Whilst there was one big grind on the way home getting over the finish line was a massive high.

So thank you to you all, a truly amazing bunch of people led by Noah, Richard, Sam and Holly who are the nicest people you could wish to meet. In addition the support chaperones/ Physio/ bike crew were outstanding.

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I am truly honoured to have received striver of the week and will cherish the jersey kindly signed and given to me, it will sit with our medals framed in the reception of Staysure as a symbol of what leadership and teamwork can achieve.
Julian, Chris and I have worked as a team as we have never done before and are proud to to have strived amongst special people supporting a charity which does exactly what it says, creating big change.

 

Ryan Howsam