It’s important to have goals and sometimes it’s good to have big, scary ambitions. You know, the ones that make you wake up at night in cold sweats. But the dream goals or bucket-list goals are usually the most rewarding; the ones that, if you achieve them, you will remember for the rest of your life.
They can seem unrealistic so it’s important to deconstruct them and turn them into something more comprehendible and doable.
First of all, let’s define what we mean by an extra-mile goal because there are different paths a person can take. The first step is often researching exactly what is out there. There are a few different types of extra-mile goals to choose from, including the following:
The UCI Gran Fondo World Championships
This year’s event is in Italy and finds the world’s best amateur rider across various age groups in both the time trial and road race. You need to qualify in Gran Fondo qualifiying event. These can be found all over the world. In New Zealand we have the Forest Grape Ride in Marlborough in April, so that’s the first step. The UCI GF worlds is the closest thing to a pro race amateur riders will find.
For those who enjoy challenges of physical and mental endurance, there are events like the Trans America or Trans Continental in Europe or even Race Across America. These events are thousands of kilometres long and can take many weeks to complete. The human body is an endurance machine. Races like these are just as much if not more a test of mental fortitude as they are physical. Locally there are events like Tour of Aotearoa which starts in Cape Reinga and sees the competitors ride self supported on road and off road the length of NZ to finish in Bluff.
In the pro’s footsteps
We’ve all seen the epic climbs of the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia or Vuelta a Espana and they’re rides not just restricted to the professionals. There are hundreds of epic rides and races all over the world, including right here in New Zealand. The roads are usually open all year round and if you don’t want to do it independently, you can go with companies who take groups, like Ride Holidays. There are also races like the Etape du Tour, which is an amateur event on the hardest stage on each year’s Tour de France.
In my experience, everyone who is passionate about the sport has a crazy goal on their bucket list. As a coach, I love to help people realise these ambitions because the growth and experience people have are huge, just like the events themselves.
Emma and I are lucky enough to coach a bunch of people who think like this and dared to
Ask, ‘what will it take and where do we start?’ Emma’s one of those people, having completed many epic goals such as climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, a number of rides for charity and breaking the women’s Taupo four-lap record in 2017 which took more than 25 hours.
It’s not easy to achieve big goals – that’s why they are scary – and there are many factors we all need to consider like work, family, athletic background and the kind of challenge we’re taking on. At Grit Coaching, we work with an athlete and work through their unique limitations.
Emma and I have some simple strategies to help break down your bucket-list goal to help get the ball rolling.
Talk to those who have already done it
Emma contacted a number of people who had already done the events she wanted to do as part of her research. In our experience, the tougher the event, the more willing people are to share their experience and advice. They can often help with understanding the logistics, level of training required and allow you to learn from their experiences.
Emma is currently looking at doing the Race Across America. She has had people send through their budgets and we have discussed it with a support driver. These alone have helped so much already.
Don’t be afraid to make it a long-term goal
A rider once came to me who said he wanted to ride the Tour of Southland, New Zealand’s most prestigious elite stage race. He was a B-grade rider at the time, which meant he was quite a few steps away from getting close to the start line. Instead, we mapped out a path over two years, one that would see him, step-by-step, get to his ultimate goal. Two years for some people seems like a long time but it’s actually not. There were many challenges along the way, and each was a big achievement in itself, but be patient and it’s a lot more attainable if you bite off small chunks at a time.
Make sure you are doing it for the right reasons
This is more of a philosophical idea, but it’s very important. You can’t fake hard work and, if your heart is not truly in it, you won’t show the grit and dedication required when things get difficult.
The events might seem daunting and unachievable and this is usually enough of a reason to avoid getting started, but you might be surprised. If you’re really passionate about doing something, take the time to break it down. That goal might not seem like the monster it first appeared to be. The key is to take action however small that first step is.
To find out more about GRIT – Always Reaching Further click here.