At Lost Dot, we’re committed to reducing the environmental impact of our Races. Ultra-distance racing brings with it the privilege of passing through diverse and spectacular landscapes, and we have always encouraged those racing to act with respect towards the places and communities they pass through. But our responsibility extends beyond the leave no trace mantra, and critically assessing and finding ways to reduce the carbon footprint of our Races is an important aspect of this. Climate change is not only putting these landscapes at risk, but also the safety of the Race and the riders; heatwaves and wildfires have become increasingly common, posing additional challenges beyond the usual hardships of racing.
As of 2023, we’ve introduced a number of changes to incentivise and reward riders making sustainable choices in the way they travel to and from our Races.
The first of which is the Low Carbon Travel Fund: a £250 grant that we’ve made available to 10 riders to support them to travel overland to and from the Race. No-fly travel typically comes with additional time and financial costs, which can be prohibitive for many. The fund aims to break down some of these barriers, and support more riders to make sustainable travel choices.
This year we’re also excited to announce the launch of the Green Leaderboard, which will be composed solely of riders travelling overland to and from the Race. We have 60 riders committing to flight-free travel, and you can follow the progress of these riders on the Race tracking. At the finish, the fastest of these riders will be crowned the winner of the Green Leaderboard.
The onus isn’t just on riders. As an organisation, we’ve committed to all staff and contractors travelling overland for the Race. Additionally, our team of Control Point volunteers is selected based on their intentions to travel flight-free.
In the future, our race selection process will consider a rider’s carbon footprint as part of the selection criteria. Preferential selection will be applied to riders travelling overland vs. flying, while maintaining our preferential selection of riders from underrepresented groups.
Finally, we’re committing 1% of our revenue to the Stripe Climate programme, to help scale emerging carbon removal technologies. Although these technologies are not a silver bullet, we recognise that a wide-range of approaches are needed to tackle a crisis of this scale.
Lost Dot is committed to tackling the barriers and the systemic inequality that have historically prevented some people from participating in bike racing. Barriers are not always visible and affect each rider in different ways. We are passionate about listening, learning and addressing these barriers to create a genuinely welcoming environment. The values of inclusivity, equality and respect underpin all our work, as well as courage: be that the courage to take on the challenge of one of our races, or the courage to stand up for what we believe in.
We are in the privileged position of running the definitive self-supported bike race across Europe, The Transcontinental Race; and across the Pyrenees, the Trans Pyrenees, which favours bold, adventurous choices from riders. We take our position of influence seriously and are committed to championing a race that better reflects the society we live in. Lost Dot is not alone in this regard. We work alongside our friends and peers at GBDURO, the Victoria Divide and All Points North to promote and encourage access to under-represented groups and champion inclusivity and diversity in unsupported cycle racing.
Lost Dot’s mission is to safeguard Mike Hall’s legacy and to stage the race that he created. Mike designed and implemented the selection process we use today and where Mike led, others follow. In the words of The Racing Collective: “It is relatively easy to follow but hard to lead. In our minds the Transcontinental have always worked hard to encourage diverse gender participation and we think it’s fantastic they’re now doing the same for other underrepresented demographics.”
At Lost Dot we aim to support and develop a culture of racing that celebrates integrity over winning at any cost, that draws from as wide a pool of racers as possible to find the fastest rider. We also aim to promote and champion adventure cycling for physical and mental health, self development and personal growth, social cohesion both locally and globally, and to promote environmentally sustainable means of global travel. This means we want to promote the benefits of adventure cycling to everyone, which is something we can only do if we support efforts to make it available to everyone. We recognise that we are restricted by our 300 rider limit and that is why we operate our selection process and lottery in order to allocate race places. As Mike himself said, “given that we have a limited number of places this is about the fairest means we have found”. This means that some people have to wait a couple of years to race but we are mindful that we want to support everyone who applies to race. You can read more about that here.
We don’t believe there is any barrier to entering the race that we are unable to tackle. We believe in striving for the ideal that anyone with access to a bike and the ambition, drive, passion and time to train could achieve a podium position in our races. We know there is always more that we could do, and it is our intention to always strive to address as many barriers as possible to make our events accessible to as diverse a range of people as possible. We recognise that not everyone agrees with our approach. However, Lost Dot is committed and bound by our raison d'etre, having been formed after Mike’s death, to preserve the race he designed as his legacy.
Discover what our peers are doing to challenge and change the status quo here.