There might be a few of you out there thinking about taking on RAAM or something similar but like me and James have full time Jobs and you’re thinking how do you fit everything in?
I’m not going to lie it has been really difficult to try and find a RAAM/Life Balance over the past 18 months. I’ve just bought a house, in the process of doing it up, got a promotion in work and started acting as a consultant. I’m not even going to try and explain what James does everyday because it hurts my head! I only just found out that he doesn’t use a scalpel to operate which kind of shows I might not be best placed to try and go into the complexities of his work life. What I do know is that he’s busy (he does enjoy being busy though ‘cos he’s weird like that). Trying to strike up this balance is very hard but it is possible. People ask you can you train for sleep deprivation but working full-time and training for an event like this is exhausting and gets your mind ready for an exhausting 9 day cycle across America.
In terms of training, I think a lot of it is just trying to ride your bike everyday. I’m lucky that my commute to work is an hour each way, so even on an easy day I’m riding for two hours. If you live in the UK you will need to buy a turbo and you’ll hate nearly every minute of it but it is a necessary evil and key to squeezing in quality training in a short space of time.
There have been moments where my motivation has waned and that is normal. You will have the odd weekend where you think I don’t want to ride my bike and again that’s fine. For instance, it was my Birthday a month out from RAAM, I could have said no I’m not doing anything but I would have resented every moment of it.
Just to give you an idea of what the our lives have looked like three weeks out from the start of RAAM, me and James have both been in work from 9-6, we both commute in everyday, we have then been going to MIHP to see Ross and have our weekly torture session in the environmental chamber and then we have been fulfilling media commitments with Cycling Weekly, Social Chain and ITV and then coming home and trying to fit all the other stuff in like cooking tea and being normal.
I’m sure if you ask my partner, Fiona, she’ll tell you that the RAAM/Life balance is more like 80% RAAM and 20% Life which is probably a fair assessment. Other people do end up making sacrifices and you need to be prepared for that – it could be friends who I haven’t seen a lot, partners who become widowed in the evening when you’re dying on the turbo or family who don’t see you as often as they’d like.
If you get the chance to take on a big event like RAAM do it! It’s hard but the satisfaction of finding that balance between training and day-to-day life is amazing.