The Ultra Distance Scholarship (UDS) was created in 2020 to help bring more diversity to the startline of a very niche and predominantly white sport; ultra distance cycling. The UDS is a registered nonprofit and supports riders in a myriad of ways over the course of a year, in a training journey towards a prominent ultra cycling race.
Cool! So what IS it, exactly?
Basically, the Ultra Distance Scholarship uses a – you guessed it – scholarship type structure, to support riders on an annual basis starting every autumn. The scholarship currently accepts three recipients per year, and these riders receive 8-10 months of intensive support to train for and compete in a prominent summer ultra race. The scholarship is a registered nonprofit based in the UK and is currently only open to UK residents, though the UDS is hoping to expand its reach one day. Riders receive support in the form of a custom bike from Stayer Cycles, bikepacking bags from Tailfin, cycling apparel from Albion, coaching from Veloqi Cycle Coaching, bike fitting from Foundation Fit, nutrition from Outdoor Provisions, 1:1 mentorship, a bike computer and more. The specifics of the training package received by each successful applicant, as well as the official 2022/23 sponsors, will be announced soon.
Last year, the UDS scholars trained for and took on the Racing Collectives’s GBDURO, this year they will be taking on the Pan Celtic Race, as they did back in 2021. The Pan Celtic is a ‘self-supported, ultra-endurance bicycle ride, journeying through the Celtic Nations of Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Cornwall, the Isle of Man and Brittany’. It follows a different route each year, ‘tackling stunning terrain and landscapes steeped in Celtic tradition’. We know that this year’s race will see Brittany for the first time, which is very exciting, though the carefully curated route will not be released for some time. The Pan Celtic Race takes place in July 2023. The first year of the Pan Celtic, the race was 2,376kms, then 2000kms in 2021, and last year was 2,604kms, to give you an idea of distance. There is always a ‘shorter’ route option for the Pan Celtic, which is in no way short (1,642kms last year), and this is always also an option for riders. The spirit of The Pan Celtic is one of community and supportive camaraderie, and the UDS are very pleased to be working with such strong-hearted race organisers.
Applications for the 2022/23 season open on 3 October 2022 and close on 16 October 2022.
All interested people of colour/BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (in relation to the UK population))* cyclists are invited to apply for this scholarship.
*we acknowledge that the use of 'people of colour' and 'BAME' does not necessarily serve all individuals within the diverse groups we are trying to reach and we are continuing to learn and update our language as we go. Mixed ethnicity individuals welcome.