Last year, I spent 6 months focused on/and a lot of personal money to train and then attempt to complete RAAM 013 (Race Across America under 12 days).
I got a bit more than half way across, but saddle sores and extreme fatigue stopped me … and I quit/DNF’d for the first time in my life.
This failure and the feeling of lack of achievement consumed me … and ruined a majority of my summer.
My coach for the past 4 years, Mario Huys coached me to achieve all the other challenges I set out for … and he and I had never failed together anything until RAAM. He had me do RAAM for training for our much bigger goal to solo row across the Atlantic.
(I was scheduled to solo row across the Atlantic Nov. 014 and Mario had me do RAAM this year for training and preparation for the row)
But because I failed RAAM, Sophie told me that she will not agree to me rowing the Atlantic until I complete RAAM! I think the RAAM experience scared her a lot for my row challenge.
So now I have to do RAAM again …
Mario and I discussed and decided that I needed a ultra-cyclist and lots of RAAM experience coach to train me for the coming year if I want to be able to finish RAAM.
RAAM is much more than just riding a bike for long periods of time … it not just saddle sores and sleep deprivation that stopped me … (obviously) major reason for my failure this year was because mentally/physically I was not prepared for it.
On the flight back to Dubai (after my failed RAAM), I watched “Bicycle Dreams” the movie about RAAM (I have seen the movie at least 10 times) and, I decided on the flight that I would ask one of the most iconic and successful ultra-cyclists in the world to coach me, the Slovenian Marko Baloh who is one of the riders featured in the film.
Although I didn’t meet Marko Baloh at RAAM, Mario and I overheard several other riders talking about him and how tough he is in training, so I was interested to hear more about his tough training regime.
The more I thought about it … the more, I wanted Marko Baloh to be my coach for RAAM so I got Matej who is also from Slovenia to contact Marko and pitch him on the idea of coaching me this year.
Marko Baloh is a current 2 x world record holder for 24 hours (indoor and outdoor)
He has won (nearly) every major ultra-cycling race in the world and has 7 time RAAM experience with a 3rd place solo and 1st place in a 2 person relay.
He came to Dubai at the beginning of August and after a long discussion with Sophie and I, he agreed to coach me.
So since August 1st, Marko Baloh has been coaching me for RAAM 014.
My training is just beginning to build, and to be honest it has been a big challenge to get myself back on the bike and focused on my training, but Marko has helped me through this.
He is tough, passionate and (extremely) driven to be the best coach he can be.
I recommend Marko to anyone training for RAAM or a RAAM qualifier and/or to people just looking for a coach. He is also training several ironman triathletes.
His experience is invaluable, but so far what stands out the most is the passion and focus he puts into his training program for me. He emails or whatsapps me every day to get feedback on my training.
Marko is doing a lot of training with me in Dubai and it forces me to train at a level I have never trained at before.
Last year, I started training in January for RAAM, but this year I started my training for RAAM much earlier.
I never want to experience this feeling of lack of achievement again.