What I learned about sales from doing my first 100 mile bike ride
I just wanted use this week’s post to thank my readers for supporting me on my recent fundraiser bike ride, and share some things I learned from the experience.
For background, I took up road cycling last summer as a way to stay healthy (and sane) during the pandemic and this past weekend I completed my first 100 mile ride in the Bay Area.
This is me at the end of the ride :)
Looking back at the experience, I realized the way I approached it has a lot of parallels to succeeding in a sales role:
Setting a goal—I decided back in June that I was going to do the ride. At that time, the furthest I had ever ridden was about 50 miles, so I knew it was going to be a big step up not only in mileage but also in climbing, with 7000ft of elevation over a very rolling course. I registered myself and told a few friends about it, really just to keep me from backing out later on.
Making a plan—I did a ton of research on how to prepare, sample training plans, dozens of YouTube videos and talked to other cyclists who have done multiple century rides before. I came away with two key things to focus on: 1) figure out my fueling and hydration strategy and 2) train for distance, not for climbing. So I found an electrolyte drink and energy gels that didn’t make me throw up and gradually piled on the miles, getting up to riding around 120 miles a week for the month prior to the ride.
Adapting to the unexpected—
After 6 months of bone dry days in the Bay Area, the heavens decided to open the day of the race with extra thick fog and misty rain. Even though I am from England and should know better, after 22 years in California I barely own a coat, let alone a waterproof cycling jacket. Descending Highway 1 in thick fog and rain was definitely the most technically challenging part of the ride.
Even though it was an 800-person group ride, the weather and early climbs over to the coast caused the peleton to get so strung out that I found myself riding alone for over 90 miles, which was hard mentally.
I missed a key turn at 95 miles, which added another 2 miles to the overall distance. Doesn’t seem that much but at that point I was like, seriously?
Having a higher purpose—While it is always satisfying to hit a goal, being part of something bigger makes it special. The ride ended up raising $1.1M for a very worthy cause and thanks in large part to many of my readers, I was able to raise a couple of grand myself. Thank you!
Next week we’ll get back to talking about the sales, marketing and leadership issues that hold back startups from growing faster. I have a lot of good stuff coming your way!
And finally, for any fellow cyclists out there, here’s my Strava! Let’s connect!