“Always try your hardest and never give up” – Nikki Barcus, first-year Dream Team rider

Throughout RAGBRAI this week we will feature some of our first year Dream Team 2013 riders and their mentors. Mentor Andrea Kuehn describes how first-year rider Nikki Barcus has impacted the Dream Team. Andrea has participated in 12 RAGBRAIs thus far. While she won’t be riding this year, she has trained with the Dream Team and Nikki these past months:

Nikki, first-year Dream Team rider

Nikki, first-year Dream Team rider

How’ve you seen Nikki grow over the weeks of training? Nikki was athletic when she started Dream Team and she has always been extremely upbeat and enthusiastic, so I have so say that most of the obvious growth that I’ve seen in her is as a rider.  Her endurance and speed have definitely increased since we started riding in April.

How do you help motivate Nikki? How does Nikki motivate you? He enthusiasm is contagious.  She’s also a very self -motivated person. It makes her very easy to mentor.

If someone hasn’t heard of Dream Team before, how would you describe it? Dream Team helps youth set and reach goals in a fun, caring environment.  There are few experiences quite like Dream Team.

Favorite Dream Team experienceFinishing RAGBRAI last year, lining up to ride down to the river, and seeing how proud everybody was of themselves.

What is your essential item, other than the bike, that you are bringing with you on the trip? Were I going on RAGBRAI this year I’d be taking my headlamp for those late night bathroom runs.

Favorite piece of advice? Try to keep you sense of humor.  Even when things seem to be at their worst, being able to laugh about the ridiculous situation tends to make everything seem less overwhelming. This is true for really long rides on really hot, windy days, or just life in general.

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Here’s Nikki’s take on Dream Team and RAGBRAI:

What is the first word that pops into you head when you think ‘Dream Team’? Family.

What are you looking forward to most RAGBRAI? Getting closer with everyone and having fun. Everyone is so nice it’s hard not to have fun.

What is the coolest experience you’ve had so far on Dream Team? Greenie’s ride was one of the coolest things, honestly.

What’s it been like working with your mentor? Well, I’d have to say my mentor is the coolest mentor. She’s super sweet!

What is the one essential item, other than the bike, that you are bringing with you on the trip? Water bottles – Staying hydrated is the most important thing on dream team/RAGBRAI!

Favorite quote or song or piece of advice? The best advice I’ve gotten is always try your hardest and never give up — at the end of the ride it’s so worth it and you feel great about yourself.

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