From Anchorage to Miami - a CW5000 virtual challenge

Leicester based rider Mark Weaver gets creative to help inspire his riding through 2021 and heads off on a virtual trip across North America

For most of us, riding 5,000 miles will consist of regular routes, known hills, perhaps a commute to work and a fair bit of time on turbo trainers - especially during the early part of 2021. But one CW5000 rider decided to make it into more of a journey. 

Mark Weaver is turning his Leicestershire rides into a 5,000 route across the US from Anchorage in Alaska to Miami. With the help of Google maps he’s imagining riding diagonally down across north America in a bid to hit the total this year. 

>>>>Sign up to the CW5000 challenge and get inspired to ride in 2021

“It was just for a bit of fun, really. I only rode 500 miles last year and this was a good way to motivate myself.” He said when we contacted him in March. “I like looking at Google maps, and I’ve always liked the great outdoors nature of places like Alaska, not that I’ve been.” 

“I picked Anchorage and thought, I wonder how far it is to Miami. I put it in to Google maps and it was within a few miles.”

Ask Google for riding directions between the two points and it will give a distance of 5,105 miles (to be done in 421hrs of consecutive riding), ask it for a driving route and the blue line across the screen moves a little and comes up with a distance of 4,957 miles. “It was strange how on my first go it was almost bang on 5,000 miles.” Mark said.

(Image credit: Google Maps)

Picture courtesy Google maps

“As I go along I look at some of the places where I’d be. I’m heading through the Yukon valley at the moment and it’s all wilderness. All the towns are little backwaters. I’ve not seen any moose yet, or been chased by bears.”

“I was ashamed of the mileage I did last year. I’m definitely going to crack it this year, and this has definitely helped. Rather than just think ‘I need to do this many miles by this point,’ I’m thinking ‘I need to make this border by this point.’ I’ve also been putting in on Facebook so my friends have seen it.”

“I printed it out on the map as well, to show the kids what kind of distance I'm doing. They’re bored of it already!”

Mark has also been using the route to do a little holiday planning for the future. “When I’m looking through details of the places it’s giving me ideas for holidays we might have when things get back to normal. I’m more of a rural, outback kind of guy, so it’s great it goes across so many barren states.”

Having spent more time fiddling with bikes in 2020 than actually riding them Mark was already at 850 miles when we spoke to him in mid March. “Given the fact we’ve had the worst months I’m pleased with what I've done. We live in a rural bit of Leicestershire so I’m straight out the door and on to really quiet roads.”

Mark will be posting his progress on the CW5000 Facebook group. Sign up to the challenge and join the group to see if he makes it all the way to Miami this year.

Simon Richardson
Simon Richardson

Editor of Cycling Weekly magazine, Simon has been working at the title since 2001. In that time he has written product reviews, features and news. He has covered the Tour de France more times than he can remember along with two Olympic Games and many other international and UK domestic races. Once an aspiring bike racer himself, he can still be seen at his club's evening races through the summer.