There is something special about riding a bike and I think cycling’s greatest gift is the solitude that it creates. Be it a solo 200km training ride, ultra-endurance cycling race or bike packing adventure; for me riding a bicycle is an uncluttered experience, a form of meditation that generates calm feelings of tranquility and peace.
I was out on the bike today and I stop to thinking about all the reasons why I enjoy ultra-endurance cycling, why I do it and what it has done for me.
Shapes my mind and body.
The experience teaches me about my body, stretches it, breaks it and then rebuilds, it builds my confidence, increases positivity, reduces depression, it creates clarity, greater strength and increased energy reserves, I think that all of the above mentioned are amazing and valuable possessions.
Fix my own problems.
Alone you will find that difficult situations are temporary and all that is needed to overcome is to evaluate, adjust and then keep moving forward. I had to learn to be self-sufficient at a very young age, so it is a natural sense but it’s also something that grows with each ultra-endurance cycling challenge.
Confidence in my abilities grows with each challenge, and it can do the same for you. Here is a list of races that I am drawn to, these are races that will create lifetime experiences.
THE SILK ROAD MOUNTAIN RACE
A fixed route, unsupported, single-stage cycling race through the mountains of Kyrgyzstan. The clock does not stop and prizes are not awarded. It follows gravel, single and double track and old soviet roads that have long been forgotten and fallen into disrepair.
THE JAPANESE ODYSSEY
Is an endurance cycling event, it's not a race it's about discovery about exploration about challenging yourself. Be prepared and go your way. Apart from the mandatory checkpoints, nothing is imposed. Speed along highways or venture off the beaten track, the choice is yours.
Is an annual mountain biking ride traversing the length of the Rocky Mountains, from Canada to the Mexican border.
Is an annual, self-supported, ultra-distance cycling race across Ecuador and Peru in South America organized by the Bikingman organization. This is also the first ever self-supported race to take place in South America.
I have done the races listed below and will planning to do them again.
Self-supported ultra-endurance sprint race exploring the south-east Arabian Peninsula: the Hajar Mountains, the spectacular Jebel Shams Pass, the Ash Sharqiyah Desert and Arabian Seaside Roads.
My favourite, a 1000km single stage mountain bike race across the middle of South Africa in the heat of summer.
So plan and go an adventure, there will be many good and many bad experiences, it will be healthy because you will find your true and hidden strengths.
Are you an ultra cycling enthusiast, how has it shaped you? Leave your comment below.