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Ride Your Way, No One Else's! Reflections on the Ultra Distance Scholarship

By Tayyab Dilmohamud

Photo: Michael Drummond @drummondphoto

In life, we all reach a point where we yearn for a deeper sense of purpose. For me, that moment arrived when I stumbled upon the world of ultra distance cycling and, more importantly, when I was awarded the Ultra Distance Scholarship. Little did I know that this incredible opportunity would not only introduce me to the exhilarating world of long-distance cycling but also transform my life in ways I could never have imagined.

Discovering a Structured Path

Before the scholarship, my relationship with cycling was more casual than structured. I'd hop on my bike when the mood struck, going for leisurely rides with no real plan or goal in mind. That all changed when I became a scholarship recipient. Suddenly, I was thrust into a world of structured training and rigorous routines. This was a crucial turning point that provided me with a new sense of discipline and direction.

The scholarship not only introduced me to structured training but also helped me tackle some persistent back and mobility issues that had plagued me for years. Through personalized coaching and tailored workouts, I found a way to address these physical challenges, allowing me to push my limits and become a stronger cyclist. It was incredible to witness how dedication and a structured approach could overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Finding Community Among Strangers

As an introvert, social interactions with new people often filled me with anxiety and still does. The scholarship brought me into a group of like-minded individuals, each on their journey towards conquering their own cycling goals and dreams. Initially, I felt like a fish out of water, surrounded by strangers who although shared a passion for cycling seemed so much more experienced or stronger. We shared goals, setbacks, and triumphs, transforming a group of strangers into a supportive community. The shared struggle and triumphs on long rides, the camaraderie during tough training sessions—it all brought us closer together. I found myself opening up, forging genuine connections, and ultimately coming out of my introvert shell.

Meeting and communicating with the ultra distance scholarships sponsors and supporters further gave me the confidence to ask questions and highlight my specific needs. They weren't just a group of businesses vying for attention and exposure but deep down each and everyone of them had a story to tell. Encompassing their goals was the genuine support they all offered to enable a smooth process from training to actually finishing my first Ultra race!

Photo: Michael Drummond @drummondphoto

A Purpose Beyond Pedalling

As I delved deeper into my training and became more integrated into the cycling community, I discovered a new sense of purpose. Yes, I was training for an ultra-distance cycling event, but it went beyond that. My journey was no longer just about personal achievement; it was about serving the community. Cycling has always been a mechanism to help me work through my mental health. But now I could share my experience of developing mental fortitude. I realized that the discipline, resilience, and determination I developed through my training and the Pan Celtic Race were transferable skills that could help others facing mental health challenges. But also to support my close group of friends, family and community by pursuing my passion for coaching and mentoring.

My new "Why"

The Ultra Distance Scholarship along with the exceptional individuals that work tirelessly behind the scenes has been a transformative journey, one that has given me a new "why" in life. It introduced structured training, helped me conquer physical challenges, and pushed me to step out of my introvert shell. It has given me the confidence and the courage to pursue a new career but also brought into my life individuals that are now close personal friends and confidantes. Through this incredible opportunity, I've come to understand that life's most profound transformations often happen when we venture outside our comfort zones. The Ultra Distance Scholarship did just that for me, and I'm forever grateful for the chance to pedal down this life-altering path, one that has given me a deeper sense of purpose and an unshakeable passion for long distance riding with the addition of fine dining (many thanks to Jade!) and becoming an ambassador to encourage others to dip their toes into the realm of ultra cycling with the mindset… Ride your way, no one else's!

Photo: Michael Drummond @drummondphoto

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1 Comment

amarzeb afridi
amarzeb afridi
Oct 06, 2023

just awesome!

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