In 2020, when we were confined to riding alone, no hotels were open, and the only way of getting out was to pack up a tent & a stove, and head for the hills, suddenly everyone became interested in bikepacking. Smaller, more accessible ultra events and races started to pop up. There are now hundreds of self sufficient ultra events to chose from, with widely varying features. If you are new to this world, there is bound to be an event that ticks all of your boxes, whether you like the discipline of racing, or just want a challenging event against the clock.
Sometimes in life it's essential to weigh up whether you are in fact heading in the right direction. The balance on my scales has been working overtime in the last few months. Let me explain...
I had been nervous about this ride from the moment I entered. It's so far up north, has a reputation for bad weather, and is an environment that I have never ridden before. When I looked at the route, it was clear that during most of the ride I would be a long way from any escape routes, food stops, or 24 hour facilities...in fact ANY facilities for many hours at a time. But, on the other hand, the scenery looked stunning, and it would be an adventure. So I overcame my fears, and set about preparing for the ride.
It's very clear that age is no barrier to adventure, and many older riders say that they are fitter later in life than they have ever been. Possibly having extra time in retirement helps with being able to consistently ride. We all know that we can continue well into our later years, and it's been interesting to note that whilst for some, there are a few physical issues that have featured, none have alluded to lack of energy being a problem. The speed of a journey is not the main consideration for most. It's the ability to be out and travel at their own pace and seeing the world that's important. Maybe our later years really are the golden age of cycling. Would you agree?
Is there a time in our lives when we should start to adjust what we dream of doing? Or should we carry on planning big goals with the assumption that we will still be able? This is a question I've been asking myself recently, as I look at what big miles adventures I want to take on next.