I spoke with Scott Hedlund today, a friend of Steven and Rick, about the seven day BC Bike Race and what Team Habanero can expect as the end of the race draws near. Scott did the BCBR in 2007, the first year of the race. According to Scott, by days three and four you get better at listening to your body when it's telling you to slow down, and you can recognize the same in your teammate. Each day it's critical to save some fuel and not burn out. Interestingly, Scott said that he actually felt stronger with each passing day of the race.
Steven and Rick trained and prepared a lot for this race, as Scott did in 2007. When I asked Scott how he felt when the race was over he said "I felt drained and exhilarated at the same time." There was a lot of emotion with finishing the race, but he said he wasn't prepared for the psychological low that followed.
When Scott mentioned this I realized that this bike race is a lot like working in our industry. A team in the bike race is like a project team at Habanero. As a project moves ahead often the work becomes more intense and all-consuming. Team members may end up spending more time working together than with their own families. When the project finish line is close, but still out of sight, it can feel like there was no before, and it's hard to conceive of what will come after. When the project is done, or in Steven and Rick's case, the race is over, it can take an unexpected emotional toll. Scott described this paradoxical psychological phenomenon as the Day 8 Let Down.
The Day 8 Let Down is inevitable, either in a grueling physical competition like the BC Bike Race or in completing a major project. Habanero team members approach their work with the same team spirit and dedication to success that Steven and Rick will have put into this race.
Scott said that the Day 8 Let Down eventually passed and he was left with a lasting sense of accomplishment and the feeling that he could conquer anything. So I guess the message to Steven and Rick, and everyone at Habanero really, is be proud of your Day 8 Let Downs.