Earlier in the year I wrote a Facebook post admitting that I had been struggling with my own mental health. Despite resolving the cause with help from talking therapy, I have just recently began to feel very low again.
The reason though this time is very clear to me. I struggle to thrive without goals, and after the highs of 2020, coupled with the fact that it’s unlikely that I will be racing around the Netherlands again this year (thanks again to Covid), I have been feeling directionless. I’ve been in training, for an event that I will no longer be doing, and I’m failing to be inspired by anything else right now.
But, over the last few weeks I’ve been starting to find joy in taking my bike off the tarmac and onto trails and lesser ridden tracks. Not much for now, but it always makes me smile. I think it’s the long forgotten mountain biker in me. Now I’m really not looking to get back into mountain biking (yet), but gravel and trail riding does appeal in bucket loads.
These kind of routes fit with some of my longer term aims, including my ultimate bucket list ride of being able to ride the length of north & South America along whatever kind of roads I’m presented with. At some point over the next few years I will take a year out of my life and attempt the ultimate ride from Ushuaia in Argentina to Alaska some 30,000 miles. As soon as I can work out how to fund a year out of my normal life, I’ll be off on this one.
And so, I’m changing my focus. 2021 is about getting fit, and learning new skills. By the end of the year I want to be able to say that I’m ready for whatever kind of challenge presents itself, in particular the self sufficient bike packing types of challenge.
Although I have done self sufficient tours before, my focus this time is slightly different. I like a challenge, and events like TCR and self supported bike packing races still very much appeal. And so 2021 is a year where I will learn new things, experiment with new and existing kit, and share my experiences along the way.
Expect videos (maybe even I’ll get a bit better at all the editing), and mucky bikes.
It’s time to learn new things