Lachlan Morton’s next target: Riding all the way around Australia

"...which is a big ride," he said in perhaps the understatement of the year.

Lachlan Morton has plans … big plans! Speaking on the Escape Collective Performance Process podcast, which you can listen to below, the 2024 Unbound Gravel 200 winner explained his “ultra thing” goal for this year is to “ride around Australia.” 

Morton will race the remaining Life Time Grand Prix events over the summer but hopes to complete a 15,000-km circumnavigation of Australia in September. 

In a contender for understatement of the year, Morton describes the route as “a big ride,” but organising the logistical element is an equally big lift. As such, he currently rates the chances of the mammoth Australian challenge happening at about “50/50.”

Part of the logistical challenge is in organising the support crew, which will include his wife, and the support vehicles like the camper van that will follow him for the entire ride. This is the first time in Morton’s various ultra adventures that he will enjoy the support of a team following closely behind him, presumably meaning he can at least have someone go find him flip-flops or a new derailleur should the need arise. It was partly this supported style and the “very different challenge” that it presents that captured Morton’s imagination, explaining he’d never done an “alt calendar” event in this way and having his wife there made it even more appealing. 

Supported or not, the numbers are staggering. Morton joked that the route isn’t necessarily all that difficult to plan given the limited road network in parts of Australia, but estimated the entire ride would cover some 15,000 km. 

If he can ride 500 km every single day of September – which seems like a huge lift even for Lachlan Morton – the ride will stretch at least into October. As such, the ride will eclipse the roughly 5,500 km, 18-day journey the Australian covered in his Alt Tour, beating the Tour de France peloton to Paris in 2021. 

Morton was speaking on the podcast just days before his team, EF Education-EasyPost, announced a contract extension with promises of “great adventures” and the “most exciting” years yet to come for the extremely versatile rider. Asked if there was any pressure to always make his challenges / adventures / alt calendar events bigger and wilder than the one before, Morton explained he thinks going “Bigger for the sake of going bigger is the wrong approach,” and a “slippery slope.”

Instead, he sees the ever wilder nature of his goals as more like a byproduct of understanding his capabilities a bit more with each successive event. That understanding then opens up new motivations and opportunities. It’s almost like in completing one he’s qualified to look beyond that to a new level of goal that takes his interest. The motivation of riding around Australia doesn’t come from riding around Australia for Morton, however: “it still has to be enjoyable,” he said.

The “ride around Australia” news is just one of many nuggets from Morton on this week’s Performance Process podcast. The recent Unbound champion also spoke of how his training changed in preparation for this year’s race, all the tweaks and hacks he made to his bike and why he is constantly adjusting his position as he gives us an insight into his incredible versatility and unique take on bike racing. 

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