This is Part 2 of my two-part interview with Michael Drolet. Mike is an account manager for a major multinational corporation by day and a part-time, elite Mountain Bike Commissionaire (Racing Judge). In his thirty year career in the world of Mountain Bike racing, he has taken part in several World Cup events and two Olympic Games: the 2016 Rio di Janeiro Games and the 2020 Tokyo Games, which were actually held in 2021 due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
In Part 1 of this interview, we had a look at his early career in the Mountain Bike Racing world. What started off as a mere curiosity turned into a major passion and a very successful side hustle. He has traveled the world and has had some pretty incredible experiences in that time.
In Part 2, we get a much more in-depth perspective of the intricacies of organizing and running such complicated events. Mike also gives us a glimpse of what it was like to be at the World Cup event at Snowshoe, West Virginia, and at the two Olympic events he has had the privilege to take part in. He describes the fairly major differences between the Rio Games and the Tokyo Games.
Mike shares with us the wisdom he has gained over the years of taking part in these world-class events, and how he has learned to apply them in his work life. He also talks about how the lessons he has learned in his work life have helped him in his role as a commissionaire. He has learned how to better deal with people, and has gained a better understanding of the many different personality types he encounters in his work and in his commissionaire duties. He has even developed a colour-coded personality chart that depicts these different personality types. Knowing what motivates different people and recognizing their various defense mechanisms is key in gaining this important skill.
From an early age, he had dreams of making it to the Olympics. He shares with us an intimate moment he had with his mother as a young boy, where he said:
“Mom, one day I would like to make it to the Olympics.”
His mother replied, rather cheekily, “When you’re old enough and have enough money, you can buy a ticket…”
That’s not at all what he meant. He had a goal to take part in the Olympics. He stuck to his goal, followed his dream, and made it to the Olympics as a participant – twice. A real lesson in determination and goal setting.
I also get scolded a little and educated on the differences between Cross Country Olympic and Downhill mountain biking. I took one for the team in order to better educate those of you who didn’t know the difference. Downhill is considered an extreme sport and is therefore much more dangerous and prone to injuries. Cross Country is “an endurance event, that lasts…” up to an hour and a half. We also have a brief chat about road racing.
We get an interesting perspective on managing Covid 19 pandemic restrictions. These restrictions limited all of the participants’ movements and interactions with one another during the 2020 Games. The Tokyo Games therefore ended up having a much more “subdued” look and feel to them. But fortunately, Mountain Bike Racing is an outdoor event and was therefore able to accommodate social distancing, allowing for spectators to attend the races. Mountain Biking was one of only three Olympic events that had spectators. Mike also gives a shout out to the impressive Japanese organizational skills, saying the Tokyo Games were the best organized Mountain Bike races he has ever taken part in.
Mike wraps our conversation with some very sage advice about how to balance one’s hobbies and work life, and how turning your hobby into your work may not always be the wisest move if you want a more fulfilling life. In summary, Mike gives us a brilliant exposé of how your work life is impacted by your extracurricular activities and how your hobbies are influenced by your work life.
To view the entire interview, please click on the link below.
To view and read the article of Part 1 of my interview with Mike, please click on the link below.