Build it and they will come - Field of Dreams
When organising LEL, we were so involved with what we were doing we just didn't realize how tired we were. It isn't that we think we're Supermen or Superwomen. It's just that's what we've got to do, so that's what we do.
In the Beginning
Careful what you wish for
The tale of my London Edinburgh London (LEL) 2017 begins four years ago.
What of LEL 2017? Well I’ve already decided I’m going to volunteer. I’m going to take on what I can, helping as a member of the central team. The volunteers make the ride, and I feel they have as rich if not richer an experience as the riders.
These were the words I wrote at the end of my London Edinburgh London 2013 ride write up for Audax UK Arrivee magazine. Were they said in a post event euphoria? Almost certainly yes. Did I mean them? Almost certainly yes. Would I fulfill them? Time would tell.
I'd been in correspondence with Danial in the months following LEL 2013. On a December day a week or so before Christmas he came down to visit me in my home town. I took him to one of my favourite pubs in a local village.
Danial wanted to hear more of my experience as a rider at LEL 2013 and what I thought. He wanted to discuss some of the challenges he'd had in 2013 and wanted to be able to do better next time. He wanted to explore some of the ideas he had for 2017. He wanted to listen to some of the ideas I had for 2017. There was a lot of listening going on, on both sides.
We both wanted to discuss what working in the central organisational team was like. I in particular wanted to understand the workload and timescales. How did the team function? Were there clearly defined roles? How often were feet trodden on? How were differences of opinion dealt with? I wanted to understand the reality, not some polished tale of sweetness and light.
We wanted to understand how the other liked to work, what made us tick. Were we both excited by the ideas we'd discussed? Was there a passion and energy for organising the LEL 2017 envisioned? Above all, could we see ourselves working together? Never underestimate the importance of that last point.
We'd covered a lot of ground over a pint and pub lunch. It was time to take Danial back to the station for his train home. The inevitable question came. "So what do you think, are you excited by it, do you think you can do it, do you want to do it, will you do it, will you join me on the team?". My answer was yes to it all and we shook hands. We shook hands again at the station.
I was on board the central organising team of LEL 2017. Little did I really understand the extent of what that would mean.