Racing Across America



Late in  2016 my friend and boss Andrew Jordan got back from a business trip to Australia and announced that he’d formed a team to compete in the Race Across America.  Known as RAAM, it is a ~3000 mile cycle race from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland.  That is 24/7 for 9 days in June this year, over deserts, the Rockies and The Appalachians.  Four riders, with a support crew of 8 and our mobile media guy.

I hid under the desk.  I knew he meant it.  I knew what was coming.

One of the more amusing snippets at the time was a clip I saw of one of the riders who, when asked why he’d signed up, replied, “I assumed it wouldn’t happen”. He knows AJ as well as I do. He should have known better. He is also a twice winner of the University Boat Race (Cambridge) and hewn from granite, so he’ll be fine.

The first few weeks of this year were mad.  I went to Vegas, Miami, Paris, Aviemore (the best bit), Seattle, Dallas and Minneapolis.  I had the worst cold I have ever had.  It might actually have been flu, but I am derisive of people with sniffles who say they have influenza.  I shall doubtless one day die of rabies having complained of irritability and an excess of phlegm.

Somewhere in the middle of that it appears I dropped my guard, crawled out from under my desk and agreed to be crew chief for the team. Having come to, I’m delighted I did.

The idea is to raise $100,000 for ECPAT, a charity intent on eradicating the sexual exploitation of children around the world.  Every £, € or $ we raise will be matched the Carlson Institute which is run by the Carlson family who in turn own Carlson Wagonlit Travel where I work.

That’s the why.

Of course it is an amazing opportunity and a huge amount of work on top of everything else.  Setting aside the pretense that I agreed while delirious, the reality is it ticks a few important boxes for me.

It matters, I get to work with some sensational people, see amazing places and make some new friends on the way.

Those of you who know me well will know that that is what makes me tick.  Those that don’t, do now.

I don’t usually do this, but I am going to, for once.  I’m going to ask you to put your hand in your pocket and donate to our charity, here.

I am conscious I am pretty well off.  I put my hand pretty deep into my pocket.  I will do so again before we go.  However, each £ or $ counts.

You can watch us on Facebook at or at the website

I will scribble here from time to time as we prepare.  For now, I’d be grateful if you support our bold and worthwhile charity.

The Adult Manifesto VI

Some days are just brilliant.

Today was one.

It is worth stopping to notice.

Or being stopped by someone who MAKES you notice.

Someone who just said thank you.

Someone who said you’d given them hope.

Then it’s worth going for that sunny run in the frost.

When the hard yards have come together and you stop having to push.

When all those little things come together.

And it runs away.

And you can’t keep up.

But you don’t need to.

It’s just time to watch and cheer.

We can be kids today.

Tomorrow there will be more hard yards.

Plenty of time for being grown up then.

The Adult Manifesto V (An interlude by Heidi Marchetti)

A guest post from my good friend Heidi Marchetti. She lives in Santiago in Chile. We used to work together. Now we discuss books, life and electoral dysfunction.

Why frown when you can smile
And dust the room with a smudge of happy
Along the way

Why turn away when you can lend a hand
And help a friend or colleague or stranger
Learn more, be stronger

Why close your mind
To ideas that are not your own
When perspective can only make you grow

Why close your ears when you can listen quietly
And remember there is music in small things
And unexpected places

The Adult Manifesto IV

Can you be quiet?

I’m working,

I’m turning it all off,

And I’m thinking,

When I’m done I’ll tell you,

I’ll teach myself,

And work odd hours,

And wear last year’s clothes,

With next year’s music,

Punctuated by walks in the woods,

And swims in rivers,

I may appear not to be doing much,

But then,

That list of impossible things,

Will get shorter,