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Training the Next Generation of Cyclists
For the Founders of the Gateway Devo Cycling Team, athlete development is about so much more than the sport of cycling
By: Chris and Rene Creed, founders of the Gateway Devo Cycling Team
Chris and Rene Creed founded the Gateway Devo Cycling Team in 2010 to provide the next generation of riders with the tools to succeed in whatever they choose to pursue. Since its inception, eight riders have gone on to the professional ranks.
Chris and Rene may helm the team, but they make sure their riders are aware of their responsibilities, from driving the team van, coordinating logistics and managing social media. Rene gives us insight into what it’s like running a team of young, talented athletes and preparing them to enter the world.
Having a development team like ours starts with picking talented riders who also have some very important key leadership and determination qualities. Will they work well with others, will he put his teammates ahead of himself, does he sound entitled or gracious, and is he willing to take and give feedback in a “learn and move forward” manner? These are all questions we ask ourselves.
Some come with organization skills, or cooking, humor, technical, social and tons of other crazy skills. It is really cool to watch the natural progression as they all begin to rub off on one another and become just a little more well-rounded. How we find our riders has progressed over the years. Some riders we scout out, we take resumes and nowadays we have a fair amount of referrals from some great resources.
The guys frequently spend some time at our home in between races, and this really gives us a chance to get close to them. They become a part of our family, and one of my favorites of all times is when they are playing outside with our kids. Could be basketball or turtle hunting, and sometimes it’s wheelies in the driveway. This is another testament to the type of kids we look for. How you treat others and your willingness to give of yourself is an important trait for life.
Just imagine a 19-year-old cycling powerhouse that is focused on his results because he doesn’t want to let his family or coach down. Can you even imagine the pressure that puts on a kid? Parents don’t even have to provoke these thoughts, they just appear. A good kid knows his parents and others have worked hard to help move him towards his dream. Sadly, the dream can fade when fear of failure creeps in and begins to destroy our riders’ confidence.
Our goal is to help the rider grow into the best version of himself in order to succeed at life. Yes, reaching the next level in the sport of cycling is where we would like to see all our guys, but the reality is that sometimes it is just not going to happen. Again, the pressure to get results can hinder an athlete mentally, there can be burn out, injury and maybe just a change in heart and opportunity. If you leave our program better skilled, more well-rounded, a better leader and stronger mentally, then we have succeeded.
We don’t push for results. Yes, we like them, but the difference is that we believe the results will just come if the team executes, communicates and maintains a powerful work ethic. Of course, there can be incidents and obstacles out of our control that play a part and we refuse to let these bring our team down. Our most satisfying and proud moments are when a plan is executed, and every rider is confident that his team had his back 100%.
We are expecting our 8th child, so as you should imagine we love to nurture and grow beings. We love our racers and try to influence them in a way the leaves a positive lifelong mark. Nine have graduated to the Pro ranks and the others have gone on to succeed in life after the bike.
Cycling is our passion, but life takes resilience, empathy, compassion, drive, camaraderie and true desire to want to give of yourself to others to be happy – and that is really what we all want and need. In the end, it’s not the medals you won, the materials you acquired, but the life you lead and the lives you touched that make you whole and leave your legacy.
All photos courtesy of SnowyMountain Photography.
For Chris and Rene Creed staying active and keeping their kids outside has always been a priority. They realized that not everyone has a great place to ride, the financial ability to afford equipment for their kids or the time to dedicate to play time/ exercise time. They want to help remove these barriers for their community and help grow the healthy family bonds that our culture needs. Cycling is the catalyst they passionately believe can not only help reduce childhood obesity but increase the well-being physically and mentally of families all around us.