As the seasons change and our time on the saddle adjusts accordingly, we sit down and reflect on the year that was while looking forward to what another year on the bike can deliver.
Our ambassadors have shared below the trials they faced in 2020 and how they got through them; but more importantly, what their plans are in 2021 to make up for it.
Mike kicked off 2020 by making the cycling pilgrimage to Australia for the Tour Down Under. Enjoying the festival atmosphere for the first time he spent his mornings riding in the Adelaide Hills before watching the racing at the MAAP Pop-Up with a cold beer and the crew. Returning to The Netherlands to find a different Europe to the one he had left.
“2020 started with a 27 hour flight from the Netherlands to Australia - where we ended up on a two week long cycling party. Cheering on the riders from Willunga Hill with so many cycling fans - enjoying cycling together, shoulder to shoulder was definitely a high point for me. The months after, everything changed for everyone."
"As gravel is really growing here, it will become a bigger goal for us and the Ride Beyond Crew in 2021. We have a few Ultra races planned, that will require us to ride day and night. Away from the world, inflicting a lot of pain and suffering along the way. A good time to think back on the crazy 1.5 years that’s past.”
Despite spending the majority of the year in lockdown and with severe travel restrictions, Briet managed to represent her home country of Iceland at the UCI World Road Race Championships in Imola. We asked her how she managed to prepare herself both mentally and physically for what would be the biggest moment of her cycling career and if she plans to return again in 2021 to wear the national colours of her country again….
“Iceland decided on super short notice to send a team to the World Championships, but if you had asked me last season if I was going, it was not even in my wildest dreams. Riding at the UCI World Championship was by far my favourite part of the year and also of my cycling career. The possibility of going again has really helped me keep on track with training, especially the dark times on the indoor trainer."
"Another goal this year, pending COVID, is to travel to some places in Europe for riding I've never been - my bike has only been to Spain. Hopefully I can get over to France, Switzerland, Italy… meet some of my cycling friends, get some tan lines (that does not happen in Iceland) & enjoy my time on and off the bike.”
Zack a ‘man on the move’, usually found pushing design limits at Airbnb or any and every gravel road in the Bay Area, had to slow down in 2020 to find solace and a deeper meaning for two wheels in his life—something he hopes to continue in 2021. We asked if there is an alternate route he’ll look for in 2021?
“For me, 2021 is the year of simply letting go. I want to try and take things as they come and fall back in love with the bike. I tend to easily get caught-up in the performance piece of wanting every ride to be structured and serve a purpose."
In a year which was heavily disrupted for everybody, a lot of riders found themselves looking towards the bike for escapism. None more so than Jannie, who managed to rack up more than 30,000km in 2020. We were interested to see if she felt the bike was her perfect way to switch off from the reality of Covid-19, and more importantly if she planned to build on this number in 2021 and where is the first place she is heading when travel is open again…..
“For many people 2020 turned out to be a true nightmare but, luckily for me Denmark did not go into full lockdown and we were still able to ride outside - while being treated with awesome spring weather. This gave me an opportunity to spend a lot of extra time on the bike which really was the perfect way for me to tackle the worries that came with Covid and social distancing. I ended up having a massive year on the bike."
"I won’t focus too much on achieving another massive amount of km's in 2021 but more on creating adventures on the bike. A huge goal this year is to ride from Denmark to Stavanger in Norway with a friend so I’m looking forward to that.”
Imagine traveling across Europe in 2019 riding in places such as Paris, Girona, London, Verona, Mallorca, Lisbon (to name a few) and then returning home to Australia in 2020 and being confined to one of the world’s longest lockdowns. That’s exactly what happened to Ron, and so we were keen to hear how he coped with the change of scenery…..
“I’ve been very lucky that my family and I survived 2020 relatively unscathed. For that, I am thankful, as I know for a lot of people it has been undeservedly challenging. For 2021, I would like to continue this trend of being thankful, and grateful for each and every day, and of every opportunity that I am given."
Not everybody was disheartened by the lack of travel and the lockdown restrictions. Our very own “king of content” Fernwee managed to keep people entertained on his Youtube Channel throughout the year with some energising challenges. We asked him which one he enjoyed the most and how he kept himself inspired to keep producing content for his viewers during a time of limited riding (outdoors)…..
“For me 2020 was the year I (finally) learned to live in the moment, and it taught me that, with a little creativity, adventures and new experiences can be found, or even created anywhere. It started off crazy with a trip to Adelaide to meet and hang with the MAAP crew, riding the Adelaide hills, cheering on the TDU riders, and staying hydrated at the pop-up shop each day."
"COVID kicked us all in the butt when we got back in Europe, which meant we had to scrap most of our original plans for the year, and we had to be a lot more creative for all the productions and shoots we had lined up."
"We explored a little closer to home than we would’ve done otherwise, and discovered that isn’t always bad. What I miss most is the spontaneity & freedom that I traded my old 9-to-5 in for, so I’ll push for that to return in 2021 - COVID permitted.”
Fiona doesn’t often take a break from the start line. You’ll be hard pressed to find her away from the race track and wearing something other than her MAAP CX skinsuit. Unfortunately, global pandemics don’t care too much for normalities, so it was a year of abnormal activity in 2020 but, it looks like muddy faces and single track is back on the agenda for 2021.
“I tried to take a positive spin to a challenging 2020, taking a mental break from racing, enjoying solo rides and finding motivation outside of my usual training goals. Having said that, my goals for 2021 are back to being race-focused and will centre around the Australian Cyclocross Season and hunting down my first CX National Series win—podiums are not cutting it anymore."
On paper 2020 was a year that didn’t fill all the boxes on Julien’s checklist, rather, one which saw him climb (virtual) mountains - completing a vEVEREST, and then some on ZWIFT. We asked Julien if there were any challenges he was eyeing off for ‘21 and what kept him sane, although some would argue what achieved on the trainer was ‘insane’.
“Alone, in my apartment, almost everything was virtual—rides, meetings, live aperitivos. I’ve been used to traveling between France, UK and Europe for work, in the mountains, meeting people from all over the place and suddenly, all of Europe went into lock down and my work dried up."
"After lockdown I travelled with the MAAP crew to the Dolomites. It was amazing to be able to ride outside again, among the mountains, discovering new places and meeting new people, something I’m hopeful there will be more of in 2021."
"Time to head back to the mountains, seasides and on the road again, where I belong. Who knows maybe an outside Everesting attempt?”
Usually found travelling the countryside in his very own ‘house on wheels’—a recently converted van, renovated by Wesley and his partner. Wes is one of the newest faces in the fold but a familiar one within the cycling community in and around our hometown of Melbourne. So, what did border closures mean for his nomadic lifestyle?
“2020 in Melbourne was a year of isolation and imposed travel restrictions. Work, income and outdoor activities became scarce. It became an opportunity for career progression and an increased university workload. A recently discovered green thumb and a favourite (lockdown radius approved) gravel ride aided sanity throughout the year."
While 2020 might not have been the year we had hoped or planned, upon reflection there were (virtual) friendships formed, training goals met (a little differently) and a deeper purpose realised for why we ride. Something that will shape how we ride in 2021 and beyond.