2022 DotWatcher Awards
31 December, 2022
To celebrate a second-to-none year, we're proud to present the eight recipients of the 2022 DotWatcher Awards. These standout individuals celebrate ultra-cycling in their own unique way, creating a picture of this incredible community as a whole.
BEST DOTWATCHER AWARD
Best DotWatcher Award - Peta McSharry
Peta has received the 2022 DotWatcher Award for outstanding commentary and commitment to the ultra-cycling community.
After first commentating for the Silk Road Mountain Race in 2021, Peta has not looked back. Providing commentary for multiple races, some she is a veteran of whereas others are located right on her childhood back doorstep.
Racing events such as the Silk Road, Transcontinental, Hope 1000 and Tour Divide she has a wealth of knowledge to inform her commentating and her bikepacking coaching.
This year she commentated 4 races, a huge commitment, and provided first rate commentary. She handled controversy delicately and provided a picture of the full race field.
Peta: The quality of the field to the variety of races made 2022 a bumper year for Dotwatchers. Races across the calendar year show cased just how much bikepacking grew over the last decade. Bringing them to life in the commentary is a pleasurable task, so I am honoured with this award and look forward to 2023 and what it brings.
BEST SELF-DOCUMENTATION AWARD
Best Self-Documentation Award - Sherry Cardona
Sherry received the 2022 Self-Documentation Award for providing fresh accounts of her Race Around the Netherlands, BHard and TransIberica. Her honest and often light-hearted approach creates films that appeal to new and experienced riders alike.
Sherry tackled her first race in 2022, Race Around the Netherlands, where she suffered from oedema in her hands and face and Shermer’s Neck. Then through experience she moved onto her next races and created the framework to tackle the famously hard TransIberica.
We love to see riders sharing their adventures, Sherry’s candid and insightful approach creates a full picture of the highs and lows of bikepacking racing and enables the viewer to gain a real idea of the challenges they may face.
Sherry: This year was full of exciting firsts, plenty of unexpected challenges and adventure. I am so grateful for the unique memories and sharing it with an incredible community. Glad so many people liked following the journey.
PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARD
People's Choice Award - Justinas Leveika
The People’s Choice Award goes to the most recognised rider of the year. Justinas set off as he meant to continue, winning the Race Around Rwanda and then the Three Peaks Bike Race. Doing so with great spirit and sharing his adventures with the world.
In 2022 there have been so many amazing feats of ultra-endurance riding. Justinas was recognised by many nominations as well as the wider community. Winning such challenging races and showing a varied skill set he has impassioned many riders. Hopefully his 2022 endeavours will carry through to 2023.
With such a busy race schedule it is surprising to see that Justinas is also co-organising the Bright Midnight race for us all to enjoy next year!
Justinas: 2022 was a big year for me. I had big goals and I went all in for them. Most of all I enjoyed the process. I love to ride my bikes and explore new places. I know that things I do are not for everyone, and there are a million different reasons for it, however I try to share the love via social media giving people some sort of way to experience what it feels like being there, not directly - through the eyes of someone else. I am happy to be that someone else and I genuinely hope this will motivate and inspire others. I am very grateful to be nominated for this award - My heart is with you all. 2023 - bring it on!
JACK OF ALL TRADES AWARD
Jack Of All Trades Award - Dominik Bokstaller
Dominik is the 2022 Jack of All Trades, a master of all that he takes on. In 2022, Dominik carried on with his race, Dead Ends & cake, a race that ensured a 50/50 gender split and provided a race system that was as welcoming for experts and beginners. He went on to win SUCH.Bike, a tough race spanning most of Switzerland.
Being able to juggle organising and racing is no mean feat, but winning a popular race as well as managing a top 10 in the hotly contested All Points North shows Dominik’s varied skills.
However, where he really shines is making DE&c one of the most enjoyable races of the season. With glowing reports from race veterans and sign ups from all over the globe. DE&c now has a partner event to provide more sweet treats: Dead Ends & dolci, an off-road adventure through Switzerland.
Dominik: My main motivation to spend hours and hours at the “cake-office” is to motivate people to ride – to ride far. And to introduce them to our incredibly little bikepacking-family! For more than half of the starters, DEAD ENDS & cake was their longest ride ever! Listening to their stories, watching them gaining experience and confidence to line-up at other events is very rewarding. And in the end, I made so many new friends by serving some cake up in the mountains…
2022 was a crazy year with lots of time in the office and lots of memorable rides and events. Winning a race was just the cherry on the already very sweet cake.
Pairs Award - Mimi Anderson and Lowri Morgan
Mimi and Lowri received the Pairs Award after a stellar 2022 season. Their infectious positivity and tenacity on the road and online has inspired many riders to head out on their bikes.
Racing the Wild West Country and then the Pan Celtic Race, winning the pairs overall and then the women’s pair respectively, they were a joy to meet on the road. Transitioning from ultra-running can often be tumultuous but going from racing LEJOG on foot, or an arctic 350 mile non-stop foot race they took biking in their stride.
Mimi: Cycling with Lowri has been fantastic. The best thing about racing as a pair is having the company as it can get pretty lonely on your own. Sharing the decision making was definitely a bonus especially when we were both tired. We laughed, chatted a lot but also had moments of silence giving us the space to be in our own thoughts.
Both Lowri and I come from similar ultra running backgrounds which helped us work well together and to understand that communication and trust is key.
We both have our own strengths and weaknesses but together we are stronger. There is nothing more positive and wonderful than sharing an experience/adventure with a good friend.
Lowri: I am absolutely delighted and humbled to have won this award alongside Mimi. Thank you very much DotWatcher.
2022 I ventured into the world of bike racing thanks to Mimi.
I have been racing in the World of ultra running for the past 14 years in the background and while competing, I met the incredible and amazing Mimi. We had always spoken about going on a running adventure together. But the timing wasn’t right. However, during lockdown I started cycling to fit in with the lockdown rules and looking after my young son. It was during this time Mimi encouraged me to join her on some cycling adventures. And I’m so glad I accepted the challenge.
I was made aware just before our first race together that racing in pairs can add different stresses to a team - the different strengths and weaknesses, different sleep patterns and different strategies athletes follow. But with years of ultra running under our belts, we understood the psychology - knowing how tiredness, physically and mentally could completely ruin our chances and the atmosphere. Mimi and I worked well together as a team because we placed high importance on communication, composure and encouragement. And as a result, our self-worth and self-belief increased and by being there for each other all the time, all working together as a team from the start, our friendship grew closer.
To experience this is a powerful feeling, strong enough to have us coming back, again and again, for more. So I’m already looking forward to my next challenge with Mimi!
LANTERNE ROUGE AWARD
Lanterne Rouge Award - Gabi Winck
The Lanterne Rouge Award is given to a rider that epitomises the spirit of ultra-cycling, never giving up and pedalling through adversity. Coming last often means a rider has faced the most challenging conditions but still pushed on to finish, this year the rider that best represented this was Gabi.
After signing up to GBDURO, Gabi’s experience in ultra-cycling was great preparation, however, this would still be the greatest challenge to date for her. With a dropout rate of 50% she battled through crashes, mechanicals and misadventure, still managing to finish in style at John O’Groats.
Gabi’s accounts of her adventures are a big part of her award, she provides a wealth of knowledge for new riders and a certain familiarity for experienced riders. Take a look to share in her stories!
Gabi: GBDURO was the biggest challenge of my life, a lot of difficult terrain, little sleep, loneliness in a wonderful landscape. Then from day 8 onwards, almost everything went wrong: crash, front light broken, buffer battery broken, 2 flat tyres, air pump broken, oversleeping at night and so on and so on.
I thought to myself: there's no such thing as giving up, even if I come last. Someone has to be ... Coming last at the GBDURO is still an honour given the high drop-out rate.
BEST ROOKIE AWARD
Best Rookie Award - Robert Müller
A Rookie is a person who is new to a certain sport and this year there was no shortage of rookies. However, one story summed up what it is like to be a rookie. Robert arrived at his first ever self-supported ultra-cycling race with a cracked fork. On a hire bike, he went on to win the Trans Pyrenees Race.
We’ve now discovered Robert made quite the impression in his first season, with interesting sleeping locations and lots of tales from the road, it has been a fantastic 2022. After winning TPR, eight days later Robert took 2nd at Two Volcano Sprint, which was a nail biting race to the finish.
With three very challenging races tackled this year, we hope Robert has some exciting things on the cards for 2023.
Robert: 2022 was an amazing year for me. With entering the unsupported ultra racing scene a whole new world in cycling opened up to me and I met so many great people there. I made so many memorable experiences and looking forward for the next ones already.
Perseverance Award - Mark Schmid
A new award for 2023, the Perseverance Award is all about pushing through when the going gets tough. Named with a nod to the race it was spawned from, Further Perseverance, Mark has received this award for doing the unfathomable: racing an off-road ultra-race on a Brompton.
Mark has been on many adventures on his Brompton, including SUCH.Bike, but this year he decided to make a move that hasn’t yet been done, the rural Pyrenees on a folding bike. Racing Further in the Pyrenees, a race many will attest is a great feat alone, on 16 inch wheels shows just how varied ultra-cycling can be.
Whilst many riders move to the front, chasing a win on the lightest, most capable bike possible, there is something to be said for taking a bike that’ll guarantee an adventure.
Mark: Long distance cycling entered my life more by accident than by plan. It all started in England back in September 2014 on my brother's MTB, one of these Kettler Alu Rad from the 90s. Rapha was hosting the 1st edition of Manchester to London (#m2l) to raise funds for Ambitious About Autism. Before lining up, I did not understand the principle of a race. Racing for a cause had a lot more meaning. So I signed up, traveled to the UK and off we went. Easy I thought. It was monster hard. I gave more than I had. Somehow I made it to London. It took two more #m2l editions, volunteering for TCRn°4 and all of a sudden, I was hooked. I have made tons of mistakes since, I am still making a few here and there. The journey helped me finding out more on myself, getting a better person. The best still is meeting outstanding people.
2022: Until last August I thought it took at least two words to describe the long distance cycling world: Be Prepared. Now I know, one is enough: Further. Thank you for nominating me for your Perseverance Award.