Golding, who turned 40 in July, was meant to have retired from all that ultra-cycling nonsense by now.
That race was supposed to be his swansong. After a decade spent raising money (over £3million in total, mainly for cancer charities), motivational speaking, mentoring young kids, breaking world records (Golding set a new seven-day world record in 2017, riding 2842 km around Rugby in a week), and generally being inspirational, he was meant to be living the good life out in Portugal.
The plan had been to compete in RAAM – win it, ideally – before settling down with wife Louise and their two children, eight year-old Freddie and two year-old Lilah, in their villa in the Algarve, which they have been renovating since last year ready to run as a cycling retreat.
“Then coronavirus hit,” Golding says. “It was a nightmare. We had completely sold up in England; our houses, our business. We were all in. Suddenly we had all the uncertainty over the renovation works, over the kids’s schooling.
“Louise was trying to homeschool which was stressing her out beyond belief, translating everything from Portuguese into English and then back into Portuguese again. Meanwhile, I was trying to get my kit on and get out the door for seven-hour training rides…”
When RAAM was officially postponed by 12 months, Golding admits the initial feeling was one of relief.
“But that soon turned into a bit of a downer. I was in the shape of my life earlier this year. I was ready. Suddenly it was the realisation that I had another 12 months of this, with all the Covid uncertainty and no income. Plus, it was my 40th on July 4 and the idea had always been that we would finish RAAM and Louise and Freddie would come out to New York for three or four days and then fly home. I’d celebrated my 30th in Austin, Texas, so the idea of celebrating my 40th in the USA was pretty cool.” Golding pauses. “Mind you,” he says. “I wasn’t meant to make 30 let alone 40 so it’s not all bad.”