The most asked question of me in these past two weeks has been: “So why are you cycling to Vienna?” And I can’t lie, it is a good question. Why would one choose to cycle, solo, for 1,000 miles? For fun, surely not?
There are many reasons why. Firstly, I enjoy cycling, so this helps, but it is more than that. I was due to be going on a cycling trip across the USA before Covid-19 happened, and that put paid to that. In hindsight, I’m glad that never did happen as it would have been a much different trip, and I don’t think as fulfilling. It was due to be a group trip and supported by a crew. Granted, it would have been much longer, so physically perhaps more challenging, but a lot of the fulfilment (and enjoyment) from this trip has been due to the fact that I’m on my own, and I only have myself to rely on.
However, that is not entirely true though, as I know I have my wonderful support crew back in the U.K. who I know I could call upon, at any hour, if I found myself in difficulty. Thankfully, and fingers crossed it continues, I haven’t needed to. Thanks M and FF – you’re the best.
This trip is definitely one then of pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I saw Joe Wicks post an image about the “2% mindset” on his Instagram feed a couple of days ago. I really think this sums up my whole trip and philosophy to life. It is truly about embracing the unknown, exploring new things, and living without limits.
I planned my route and thought about where I was going to stay each night, but this wasn’t a trip that was a year or two in the making. From the moment of deciding to cycle to Vienna to actually leaving on that Monday morning was more a matter of weeks. It was more of a matter of proving to myself that I can do it, and anything is possible if you really put your mind to it.
And lastly, why Vienna exactly. Why that city? Why not 1,000 miles in another direction? Well, my ultimate sporting hero and someone who really does encompass the 2% mindset, and his own mantra: “No Human is Limited” ran a marathon in under two hours in Vienna last year.
Eliud Kipchoge, the Kenyan long distance runner, made history in Vienna on 12th October, 2019 by running 26.2 miles in 1:59:40. A feat never achieved by a human before. As a runner myself, and having ran three marathons, this seems so incomprehensible to me. How on earth can someone move that fast for that long? My fastest marathon is nearly two hours slower that that. And I trained, people! I trained hard for my 3:52:28!
I remember watching him do that infamous run (and rewatching it multiple times – especially on this trip) and it giving me goosebumps as he sprinted to the finish line. I think I even shed a tear as Kipchoge achieved a sports milestone given almost mythical status in the running world, breaking through a temporal barrier that many would have deemed untouchable only a few years ago.
Prater Park in Vienna was specifically chosen for the event, after much scientific assessment. It is pan flat, the weather conditions in October were conducive for long distance running, the altitude is perfect, and Vienna is only one time zone away from Kipchoge’s training camp in Kenya.
And so that is the reason, why I am cycling to Vienna. To run the same route (albeit not the entire marathon!) as the greatest marathoner of all time, and as I do it, I will be celebrating with Kipchoge that “no human is limited” because I would have reached there, on my own, on my bike. All 1,000 miles of it. I hope he celebrated with champagne afterwards, because I for sure will be!
My personal goal is to run a marathon in under two hours and to show to the world that when you focus on your goal, when you work hard and when you believe in yourself, anything is possibleEliud Kipchoge, 2019