Race Around Austria - Challenge: Going solo

Race Around Austria - Challenge: Going solo

The past months have turned the lives of many of us upside down. Anna-Maria and Lisa had planned to start as a team of two at the upcoming Race Around Austria – The Challenge. Now, due to changes in her job following Covid-19, Lisa won’t be able to compete at the race. For Anna-Maria this means going solo on 560km and 6.500 MOA, and asking herself: “Can I do this at all?”


It always turns out differently than you expect, or: life is what happens while you are busy making plans. That also goes for my participation in the Challenge of Race Around Austria.

In autumn 2019 Lisa and I had started this project together. We did our planning, preparation, and intensive training the following weeks and months. We felt in good shape and well organized for the race and were up for the start in our team of two.

Then Corona happened, and the crisis hit us all at once. News were suddenly dominated by the pandemic and lockdowns, and people were panicking because toilet paper had turned into a scarce resource. But, so far so good, we just completed our training indoors and on the balcony, which has its advantages as well. My training load massively increased because I was not working due to Corona – contrary to Lisa, who was needed at her job much more than before.

Over and out

The bad news that Lisa could not participate in the race hit us with full force. Over and out. After receiving this message, I had to sort out my thoughts for a few days. I took a break from training to properly reflect on the situation. I was angry at first, disappointed next, and eventually had to face the reality.

I have always been a person who likes to rely on facts and make decisions based on that. As a matter of fact, I have been preparing for this race for months. As a matter of fact, I have sacrificed other hobbies to do this. As a matter of fact, I have put all my heart and soul into this project. So… Fuck you, Corona. Now more than ever.

Can I do this at all?

Then it was time for me to evaluate what was necessary for a solo start. Spare wheel? Wheelset? Repair kit? Crew? How do I need to adjust my training plan for the coming months? The most important question was whether my team would support me in this solo thing, too. It felt a little crazy, wanting to do a 560 km race straight from being just a hobby cyclist. But the team was so much up for it! Their positive feedback encouraged me to continue researching. Am I in a good shape to do this? Cycling 280 kilometers, yes, I know I can do that, even in a reasonable time. But what about 560 kilometers? I got a lot of advice from friends who have done such races before, these tips and encouraging words motivated me to keep going.

For me as a rookie, there are a lot of unknowns in this race that I cannot foresee. How is my body going to react to sleep deprivation? Does the nutritional concept work out? How do I react mentally when being overtaken by other riders? How do I deal with pain and do I have the resilience at all if the rain comes pouring down my face for maybe 24 hours?

If I can dream it, I can do it.

But I am an optimist and I can venture beyond my limits. I know what it feels like to see the boundaries in front of me and then rise beyond myself.

I can and will do it. I am definitely not the fastest, but for me it clearly defines the goal: as fast as I can as long as I cross the finish line healthy. Thinking about it right now, it gives me goose bumps in the smallest cell of my body. #wecreateemotion

And if I can dream it, I can do it, and make this come true - or what do you think?


Written by Anna-Maria

Photo: @globalpixxel