Always keen on sport, the young Tucker ‘TQ’ Sorrell spent much of his spare time either watching or playing football and cricket. On leaving school and entering the workplace he continued to play team sports and also took up running as a way to increase fitness levels. Realising he would never be a sprinter he did however discover a stubborn streak better suited to long distance running, and went on to compete in half and full marathons across the UK and USA.
Marriage, a career, two daughters and a move from Oxfordshire to an as it turned out ‘very’ run down old farmhouse on Dartmoor had an impact on time and training. With nearly two hundred miles between home and work the mounting years of relative sporting inactivity resulted in his carrying just a bit more timber than necessary. Frustrated and desperate to improve fitness levels the question raised was ‘How?’. A back injury ruled out team sports so the final choice came down to running or cycling. Starting from a low base and taking into account the Dartmoor terrain and hard London pavements, running seemed too much like hard work. So despite not having ridden a bike for many years cycling appeared to be the logical and realistic choice.
Walking through the door of the local bike shop in Okehampton it was immediately apparent to him that things had moved on since he was last faced with a choice – between two Raleigh models, one being a purple Chopper Mark 2. But an hour later and wallet lighter he rode out towards home on a Cube Peloton Race road bike.
This first ride was ‘Hell’. Dartmoor’s hills can be unforgiving and coupled with the narrow, twisting and debris-strewn lanes as he neared home the gradients became even more challenging. But after what seemed an age and with legs screaming, lungs bursting and heart rate pounding he made it back. Hooked.
Knowing that if the effort was put in, rewards were to be had the following weekends were spent traversing the moor or cycling to meet up with the family at various beaches. What were initially short rides became longer; twenty-five, fifty and before long a hundred miles plus. Fitness improved to the point he wanted to keep pushing himself further but he was unsure in what way.
Then in November 2014 his stepfather, Allan Miles, died from pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic Cancer UK is a small charity dedicated to finding a cure to combat the disease, which has the lowest survival rate of any cancer, and needs all the money it can get to achieve that aim. With the motive to raise money established and with Allan’s mantra of “Never, NEVER give up” any challenge had to be meaningful. So he decided to take on LEJOG – Land’s End to John O’ Groats.
On 21st May 2015 Tucker set off from the UK’s mainland westernmost point and arrived in the very north of Scotland eight days later. It was not the quickest time ever recorded but it was pretty encouraging and he recognised then that solo endurance cycling was what he wanted to pursue. A friend jokingly suggested he do The Race Across America (RAAM) and sent him a link to the website. The seed was sown – RAAM had to be the ultimate aim, but it was going to be a long-term project demanding a lot of commitment to get to the starting line.
Turning up in Oceanside, CA., expecting to reach Annapolis, MD., without putting in an immense amount of planning is simply unrealistic. Entry must be earned at a RAAM sanctioned qualifying event and then, aside from the obvious physical capabilities demanded, there are a daunting number of logistical issues that need to be squared away just to provide a chance of completing the three thousand plus miles in the twelve day time allowance.
The challenge is as large a mental one as physical.
So where exactly is Team TQ now on the road to RAAM?
Trained by Nigel Hale-Hunter of BPM Coaching
Revolve24hr TT at Brands Hatch: RAAM Sanctioned qualifying event.
RAAM Qualification threshold is 340 miles in 24 hours around the full F1
circuit. Qualification achieved with a distance of 352.785 miles in 24 hours.
This qualification is up to June 2020.
Competed in the World 24hr TT Championships in Borrego Springs, CA
Distance cycled: 369.60 miles
Competing in the Race Around Ireland. Course distance: 1,300+ miles in
Competing in the World 24hr TT Championships in Borrego Springs. Target: