Normally at this time of year, I set out what I want to achieve in the year ahead.
Why? Because I love a plan, I need the discipline and the motivation that goals bring. I really believe that the process of thinking, writing them down and publishing them gives those goals more power. It certainly makes me more accountable. But, none the less, this process is an important first step on the road to achieving my goals.
This year, however, I’m doing it slightly differently.
Road to RAAM ’22
There is a long term goal to all of this – that is a solo entry in to the worlds toughest bike race, the 3,000 mile Race Across America in 2022.
So 2021 will be dedicated to a) qualification and b) preparing my mind and body for the assault it will face on that 11 – 12 day journey.
With the ever present Corona in mind (no, sadly not the beer) I’ve taken the decision to focus my year on two things – a) RAAM Qualification events and b) DIY challenges that I can do regardless of where the world is with the virus. Everything will designed to replicate the type of riding I’ll be doing for RAAM. You’ll notice that the list is short and that’s because I’m working on some exciting challenges to support my fundraising for Pace and Action4Youth and I want to be able to share them when they are ready and not before.
So, apart from the ‘secrets’ what is planned?
2021 Events and Challenges
- RED January – RED means Run Every Day, but it’s focus on starting the year positively, being active every day, joining an amazing community of REDers and raising funds for Sport in Mind, the mental health charity that use sport to empower and improve people’s lives.
- vWTTC (RAAM Qualifying Event) – Like many events, the 6-12-24 Hour World Time Trial Championships (WTTC) are going virtual in 2021. We’ll still be riding around the flat, fast course of Borrego Springs, California – just from the relative comfort of a turbo trainer and the incredible FulGaz app. I’ll need a ride approximately 643km in order to qualify, that’s an additional 58km on top of those I rode in last months vRevolve24.
- The Big Walk – as a supporter of Pace, how could I not take part in their own annual challenge happening right on my doorset. The Big Walk routes take in the Ridgeway Trail between Watlington and Wendover, and of course I picked the longest option at 18 miles!
- Race Across the West (as crew for Keith Savage)
- Race Around Ireland (as Crew for Matt Seward)
- Revolve24 (RAAM Qualifying Event) – Having completed the event virtually, I really want to get out and take on the track in real life. Can I better my 585km?
Keep an eye out in January, I’ll be announcing one of the early challenges then.
You’ll notice my intention to support a couple of other ultra distance cyclists, crewing for them next year. This serves two purposes really – it’s a great thing to do, to support someone else in achieving their own goals but also it’s a great learning opportunity for me. As a soloist, RAAM requires you to have a support crew, so learning ‘on the job’ and seeing how this will work for me is pretty important.
What is your WHY?
My goals are based on the things I want to achieve for myself – challenges that will push me outside of my comfort zone and test both my physical and mental abilities. It shouldn’t always be about the race – I don’t want this to be a selfish pursuit, I believe our goals and the journey to achieving them can mean something too. I want my journey to help change lives, to make a difference.
That’s why I’m raising money for Pace and Action4Youth as part of my Road to RAAM. Both Charities are dedicated to transforming the lives of the children and young adults they support. Pace, for those with motor disorders such as cerebral palsy, and Action4Youth, is a youth Charity that believes every child should have the opportunity to be heard, be safe and to succeed. While different, the two Charities are there to ensure every child – no matter their background or ability – has the chance to fulfil their potential in life. To me, that’s a reason to get out the door every morning.
So, maybe by doing this, I’ll inspire you to donate, to join me in a future challenge or maybe to get out there and challenge your own limitations.
If you’d like to donate and help these charities continue to do the amazing work they do, then please visit
As ever, thanks for reading.