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FAQs for prospective scholars...
What does self supported mean?
It’s just you, your bike and your wits!
There are no support vehicles, so all the decision making like when and what to eat, where to sleep and how much to cycle each day will be all up to you. If you get into trouble, it is your responsibility to get yourself out.
How much time are we expected to commit to training and what does the training look like?
Your coach will tailor your training for you and your current commitments. The type of training will vary and will include strength and conditioning, intense interval training on your bike and working up to relatively long distances on the weekends. As a guide, if you work a standard 9-5 weekday job, you could expect to do 4-6 hours of training in the work week, not including weekends. Weekends begin at around 6 hours of training, gradually increasing to 14-16 hours as the race approaches.
Are there any additional costs outside of what the scholarship provides?
There is an expectation that you will be able to cover your own travel*:
-To and from the race start/finish (or wherever you finish).
-To and from London for a bike fit in November and a follow-up fit in the Spring.
-Any training rides and events you decide to undertake for training purposes in the 9 months leading up to the race. --This will include travel to some of the recommended Racing Collective Trial events.
-The abundance of food you will inevitably eat while undertaking training on and off the bike, as well as during the race
-Accommodation during the race if you don’t opt to bivvy/camp
*there is scope for travel stipends and training event entry coverage for the upcoming scholarship season.
Some past recipients obtained indoor training equipment (ie a turbo) to ensure consistency of training over the winter months. This is not mandatory, and can be discussed with coach Alison, but some found it to be an important piece of kit.
Does the scholarship provide a nutrition plan?
No, but your coach will provide lots of nutritional advice for on and off the bike, and help you create a fueling strategy for the main event.
What will I receive from the Scholarship?
- A Pan Celtic-ready bicycle, specific to ultra distance racing, and your fit.
- A spot in Pan Celtic 2024.
- Coaching from Alison Wood of Veloqi Cycle Coaching for 9 months from November 2022 - July 2023.
- A full suite of bikepacking bags.
- A full suite of cycling apparel.
- One-on-one mentorship from a legendary ultra racer over the training period.
- A navigation computer, heart rate monitor, and cadence sensor.
-Access to an incredibly supportive UDS community and online story-telling platforms.
How fit do I need to be to apply?
If you have been riding regularly over the past few months, and often do rides over 50km, this provides enough of a foundation fitness for us to build on over the 8 months of training.
Do I need to have participated in an ultra event before?
Heck no! In fact, our aim is to introduce someone to the ultra distance space, who has been thinking about entering an event, but has been held back by real or perceived barriers.
Am I too young/old?
If anything, having a lifetime of experience is an asset for ultra racing. If you are riding regularly and have a passion to challenge yourself, we welcome your application.
Some say ultra is not a young person’s game, but if you are well grounded and fully aware of the mental resilience required for these challenging events, we will support you and ensure you’re ready for ultra.
How else does the scholarship support me to ensure I’m ready for the race?
You will have the support and encouragement of the whole scholarship team, who have years of experience, and be working closely with your mentor and coach to help throughout your journey.
Do I have to race it in a competitive way?
Definitely not. Although a lot of social media attention for ultra events is on the front riders, most people who enter ultra distance events are there for the personal challenge. This is the glorious experience we want to encourage others to enjoy, but if you want to race will we support your goals!
What happens if I can’t finish the race?
Through the scholarship you will be supported in being as prepared as possible, but unfortunately, not every eventuality is within ours or your control. This is a fully accepted aspect of ultra racing. The scholarship’s aim is to introduce you to the ultra space. We fully understand, and have each experienced ourselves, how things out of our control can prevent us from even getting to the start line. We want to stress that there is no obligation from the scholarship to reach the finish line. Your safety, mental and physical health, are our top priorities.
2023 scholar Tabs did a live interview on Instagram soon after returning from PCR. It’s a great insight into life as an Ultra Distance Scholar. Check it out here.
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