Unexpected Lessons in Unexpected Ways

In the workplace, we bring a wealth of experiences, both personal and professional, that shape our problem-solving abilities and adaptability. Sport is so much more that moving your body. Over the years, it thought me so many universal lessons that are applicable at work and everyday life! This is one of those lessons worth documenting. 

I am currently in on the training camp, leading up to the last race of the season. Shortly after landing in Turkey, same evening, I unpacked my bike only to discover that the Di2 battery was completely dead, meaning that the electric gear shifter was useless. The following morning, with a group bike ride planned, my first mission was to head to the bike shop in search of a charger.

I met my training group at the shop, we were surprised to find that Alexey was facing a similar predicament with his battery. Di2 controller on his bike was blinking red, meaning that the battery was below 25% of charge. Had we not come together, we might never have known. It would’ve really sucked to have a Di2 battery dead on the race day, next weekend.

As we waited for the charger to be delivered to the shop, Egor happened to notice an odd sound when rotating my pedals backwards. It was coming from my bike’s bottom bracket. He dropped the chain and attempted to rotate the pedals, but they resisted. It was evident that the bottom bracket was seized. I then asked Martin, the shop’s owner, to take a closer look.

In a mere three minutes, Martin not only identified a broken component but also diagnosed that the bearings in my bottom bracket were completely shot and needed to be replaced asap. He said: “How were you even riding like this? It must have been very challenging.” Ha! It was an understatement. Unknowingly, this issue had been robbing my power by creating additional resistance. For at least the past two months, it was making my bike workouts much-much harder than what they should’ve been. What used to feel like 200W now felt like a grueling 300W. The physical and mental toll was immense. Trusting that the numbers were correct, I couldn’t explain how my performance on the bike deteriorated so rapidly in just a couple of months. I discussed it with my coach. I talked to my friends. But I couldn’t find any reasonable explanation. My bike workouts had become a source of dread.

An overwhelming sense of joy is filling me now. I was SO HAPPY to hear the bad news! How many watts have I been losing while riding faulty equipment?

I realized that I wouldn’t have learned any of this if I hadn’t made that trip to the bike shop. It wouldn’t have crossed my radar if my battery hadn’t died, and it certainly wouldn’t have come to light if I hadn’t forgotten to bring my Di2 charger. It’s a beautifully elegant life lesson. What initially appeared to be a major mishap and a big inconvenience, unexpectedly revealed itself as a true blessing. It’s remarkable! I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. I can think of several valuable lessons.

Teamwork and Community: us, being part of a group, allowed Alexey to discover the shared issue with the battery. He potentially saved his race.

Seeking Professional Advice: consulting experts, like the shop owner Martin, lead to a quick and accurate diagnosis, potentially saving me time and effort in the long run.

Adaptability: what appeared to be a setback had led me to unexpected opportunities and discoveries. In this case, it turned an inconvenience into an eye-opening revelation. It is now so much easier to ride the bike. Power numbers make sense now. I am confident. I am fit.

Resilience: Despite struggling with bike workouts for months, I persisted. I am proud of myself for not quitting completely.

Challenges and setbacks can be disguised blessings.

LinkedIn October 21 1