Making uncomfortable plans

I work in marketing and so setting strategic goals is really important to any campaign I work on.

Why are we creating this content, who is it for, when will it be shared, what are the expected outcomes? etc

Typical marketing questions

And stretching yourself to aim for lofty goals is always good to see how far you can go with ideas.

But, if I am honest, whilst I love my job, by the time I come to riding my bike, I quite often just want to detach my brain and have zero plans. This is part of what cycling is for me.

A good example is when I go and ride my ‘regular’ routes in the forest or out on the road. I rarely cover the same route. It is far more relaxing to just let the bike decide and drop into trails or down lanes that take your fancy. As long as I am back roughly when I said I would be, anything in between is freedom to meander.

Throw a dart at it

However, there is one kind of planning I am happy to do that arguably sets goals and makes plans. That is to agree to do something with your mates or go somewhere with little regard to how that is going to happen.

It’s a kind of ‘f**k it’ approach and history has taught me it gets good results!

My latest example of this is entering the 2019 Dirty Reiver event. I was out for the ‘Wednesday Night Ride Group’ Christmas Curry talking to a load of guys, when I got chatting to a Nick. He is a friendly chap with a big ginger beard and a wild look in his eye. His stories were ace, this guy, much like me, is refusing to fully grow up and was talking about “the best event he’d ever done” earlier in 2018. I found out it was a one day epic up north somewhere, largely on gravel.

For me, that was all the information I needed.

So I signed up. I sort of registered it was 200km in a day and that it was in the Spring. My main issue was, and still is, I don’t have a gravel bike 🤔.

Since then I have been told there is a LOT of climbing and it is in fact very far north….i.e. in the boarders of Scotland. I am no way fit enough to do this either. What was I thinking?!

This adds to the excitement for me because now I know it is going to be even harder than I thought… and I still have no plan as to where I am going to get a gravel bike from.

(My wife rolls her eyes at me when I say this, but I am serious in saying I don’t think I can afford to buy one so need to work something out!!)

This is the way I like to approach my ‘cycling year’. Take opportunities when they come to you and if they don’t, simply make up a stupid challenge and go for it!

So whereelse to ride in 2019?

There are too many places I’d like to try. We do have a trip to Manchester’s Velodrome planned in Feb and if I can ride in The Peaks, The Lakes, Wales, and Scotland I’d be a very happy man. If I can make enough money to throw in a trip abroad to the Alps, Spain, or Italy, even better!

So, here is the challenge, pick up your phone, send a message to your best riding mate and say “Yo dawg! Shall we ride **fill in your stupidly ambitious text here** this year?”

Be specific about when and commit. I’m going to do the same now. Years ago we failed to ride the Coast to Coast off-road because, well, I fell off and nearly snapped my foot off. Time to start a new Whatsapp group with the 2 guys I know will do this with me!

Good luck!!