This blog is about me and my training leading up to the RAAM Challenge ride in Ohio this coming September. This is a 640 km (400 mile) unsupported ride starting in Dublin, just outside Columbus. It’s part of the Ride Across America Challenge series, and is the third and last for the year.
OK, so who am I. My name is Andrew, and I live in Geelong, Australia. I’m the Head of IT for a company in Melbourne. I’m 48 years old, married with two (pretty grown up) boys. I’m a dedicated cyclist, who although doesn’t commute anymore, rides nearly everyday. I’ve never however entered a bike race, but love training and endurance cycling.
About 15 years ago, I went on a family holiday through central Australia. Driving along in the middle of nowhere, I was somewhere south of Tennant Creek. Out there it’s dead flat, barely a tree, bloody hot and a there’s lots of flies. I could just make out a dot on the horizon, flickering in the heat haze. Now, in this neck of the woods, you see maybe a car every half hour or so at most, but I could tell this wasn’t a car. Out there you can see for miles but judging size and distance can be really hard, so I couldn’t tell how big or far away it was. For what seemed like ages that dot grew and grew until I realized it was a cyclist. Now, we’re talking the middle of nowhere remember, but here was this guy riding a fully loaded bike, big smile on his face, under a blistering sun belting along at a good clip. How awesome did that look! Back home a few weeks later, I bought a $400 mountain bike and rode it till it broke.
But riding is like anything, you start off enthusiastic, get all the gear, ride all the local roads but it wears off. It was then that I joined the Great Victorian Bike Ride, bike camped for nine days with 6,000 other people, discovered other organised rides, and I was hooked.
Since then I’ve ridden in quite a number of places across the world including New Zealand, the U.S. (incl Hawaii – up Mauna Kea), U.K., China, India, Cook Islands, and of course right across my home country. It gives me a reason to train, a goal to achieve, plus a good excuse to eat dessert.
Working close to home it also became my primary transport, taking me each day from home to work and back. So it wasn’t hard to add a couple of extra long rides each weekend to enter different cycling challenges such as the Peaks Challenges, Audax rides in the Victorian High Country amongst others.
But just last year I changed jobs, so now I commute by train two hours each way instead. It really has been death to my riding, and I felt it. I needed a goal.
The most I have ever ridden is 320km (200 miles) in one go, which I have done in a few different events. But to get motivated, I knew I needed something bigger. Something to really scare me into pushing through the ordinary mental boundaries. Searching on the net I found the Ohio RAAM Challenge….640km or 400 miles, all in, hopefully, not much more than one day.
So, if like me you are busy, find it hard to train or keep motivated, or just distracted by stuff, then maybe this blog is for you. I plan each week to write something about what I am doing, how I am training, coping with stress, little time, energy or just having to prioritize commitments.
So tune in if you are interested, and hopefully at the end I can at least prove that it is possible to do something not many people attempt, with less than the usual training time to do it.