BE THE EGG

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“The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances”. This is the quote that my ‘be the egg’ mantra refers to. A mantra that helps me when the going gets tough and will hopefully help to set new LEJOG & 1,000 miles records in September this year.

I first heard this anonymous quote while listening to Parys Edwards, a professional triathlete, on the Tough Girl Podcast. The quote really struck a note with me.

In timetrialling people are often quick to blame the conditions or have other excuses ready to pin disappointing performance on. How often do you hear/see people commenting ‘the wind was too strong/weak’ or ‘the wind wasn’t in the right direction’ or ‘it was too hot/cold/busy/quiet’ or ‘I have been ill/didn’t sleep well/…fill in the blanks’. Part of what I like about time trialling is the honesty of it. It is you and your bike against the clock and the elements. Your result is your best on the day. Of course, there are situations where someone who starts say one hour before you may have slightly better conditions, but such is life and most organisers try their best to allow for women to be scheduled in one ‘block’ (which also helps the social side of things) or for the best male contenders to be scheduled not too far apart.

Now, I won’t claim to have never fallen foul of this kind of behaviour. I’m sure there have been times where I have cursed the conditions. And come September, I know that without a favourable wind for at least part of my LEJOG route, I shouldn’t event start as I will stand little chance to beat Lynne Biddulph’s current record. The record may have stood for nearly 15 years now, but that is not just through lack of trying; Lynne is a phenomenal rider and that record won’t be easy to break without at least a little help from the weather gods.

How the ‘be the egg’ mantra helps me most is in choosing how to react to the circumstances. After a first recce of my LEJOG record route in early June last year, I plan to do a second solo recce this year. I have chosen to do so in the first week of April, partly because that works out conveniently work-wise, partly because it still gives me another 6 months to learn from the recce ride and put further strategies in place. But another reason for not shying away from April is that the weather will likely be quite challenging: cold, wet (maybe even snow in Scotland?) possibly quite windy and gusty and still limited daylight. This may sound like madness, particularly when you factor in that I plan to ride it over just 3 days, riding from Land’s End to just north of Lancaster in one go (i.e. riding through the cold night), then from Lancaster to Aviemore in one go, followed by a final push from Aviemore to John o’ Groats and the additional recce of the 1,000 miles finish laps between Castletown, Thurso and Wick. It won’t be easy, but it will allow me to evaluate what the traffic conditions may be like at various tricky sections (e.g. city centres and the most challenging A-roads such as the A30, A9 and parts of the A6), around the times I anticipate to come through these areas during the record attempt in September.

On the plus side, if I can manage to ‘be the egg’ and handle those challenging circumstances all on my own in April, that would give me confidence that I may indeed be able to break the record in September, in better conditions, with more training in my legs (and mind), with a support crew and knowing there will be people to cheer me on, both online and along the side of the road. It will be all the better if, in April, I can ride at the same average speed as Lynne’s current record (excluding time to stop to buy food or refill my bottles), but let’s see; that may be wishful thinking. Completion is number one, speed is a bonus for this one.

Some of you may have seen the announcement that the official LEJOG RECORD ‘BE THE EGG’ CAPS are now available to order. These high-quality, moisture wicking, unisex caps have a short visor to nicely fit under your helmet. On the inside of the visor there is the special message ‘BE THE EGG’, the mantra I use (and you may find helpful to) when the going gets tough. I hope the link works, but you can even see the design in 360 degrees here (use mouse to move the cap).

It would be awesome to see many of these caps along my LEJOG route when I set out for the record attempt in September and I hope you will enjoy wearing it on your rides too. The proceeds from the cap sales will help me to finance this record attempt, as petrol, car hire, motor home hire, accommodation at the very last-minute near the start and finish for crew and officials all add up to several thousands of pounds. I am saving up as hard as I can, but I am still a while off. If I end up with more money than needed, all surplus will go to Cancer Research UK. Please understand that I need to collect a minimum number of orders before I can proceed with the manufacturing via Owayo. I hope you don’t mind waiting a little while, but the sooner you order and the sooner I hit the minimum number, the sooner I can get the caps made and sent out to you.

Get your order in now and ‘be the egg’! (follow link below to place your order)

https://www.lejogrecord.co.uk/caps

As a little add-on, I would like to share this story with you. The other day, after setting a new Zwift Distance Record and sending one of my club mates a signed photo from the successful attempt, I received this message in return:

“Thank you for sending it and for the kind words. Luckily it was my youngest (15yo) who picked the post today and, suspecting what it was, I asked her to open your letter and read it to me. She was really impressed with your record and had all kind of questions about how much you slept and how you ate, etc. She also liked the introductory sentence (“The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances”) which she took note in her inspiring sentences notebook. Finally we ended up having a conversation about goals and determination. It turns out your pictures and note helped to inspire and give a lesson for life to my teenager. Thank you also for that”.

This really touched me. I had hoped my record attempt would encourage other women to reach for the sky, which it did, just look at Jessica Belisle’s amazing 3,109km Zwift and indoor bike record over 128 hours! But it is also really great to see that my record attempt and the mantra I use can inspire people of all ages. Particularly during your teenage years, life can be complicated and it is nice to see this young girl take on some inspiration. I hope it will help her in her life, be that in sports or life in general.

 

 

RIDE ON!

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On the 18th of February at 15:19 GMT  (after a false start on the wrong course… ahem how did I manage to get lost on the turbo ?!), I achieved a big goal: breaking the Zwift distance record, previously held by Chris Hopkinson at 1010.7 miles. When I set out on this mission I was quietly confident in my own abilities, yet at the same time worried about the unknown I had thrown myself into. Who was I to think I could sit on a turbo for that long? And who was I to think I could break a record held by one of the best male ultra-endurance racers? But 70 hours and 11 minutes later, of which 62 hours and 4 minutes had been spent in the saddle… I climbed off as the new Zwift Distance Record holder, having added more than 200 km to the old record, achieving a total ride distance of 1828 km or 1135.9 miles.  Continue reading

Zwift Distance Record Attempt

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What

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This Zwift Distance Record attempt will be an indoor cycling record attempt on a Wahoo Kickr which will simulate me going round and round in loops in a virtual cycling world.

The current Zwift Distance Record is 1626 km (1010 miles) in 72 hours and 36 mins. It is held by Chris Hopkinson, one of the world’s best ultra-endurance cyclists. I am hoping to get as close as possible to his record, and ideally beat it.

You (and I sometimes) may think this is wishful thinking, but it is worth giving a try at least?! At worst, I fall short but still learn a lot from it. At best, I manage to beat it and temporarily hang onto the record until the next man or woman goes one better. Such is the nature of records…. they should inspire and encourage others to have a go.

When

I will start the record attempt at 3pm GMT on Saturday 18 February and keep going until I have either broken the record or simply cannot endure any more hours in the saddle.

Where

I will be doing the attempt in the comfort of my own house in Hampton Hill. The initial plan was to do it at the London Bike Show at ExCeL, but whilst the organisers welcomed the initiative, the additional cost for overnight security were rather high! Within Zwift, you can find me on the ‘Watopia Flat Volcano’ course. For those who don’t have zwift.. some of the live broadcasts will be little clips of my avatar riding around on this course, so you can see what it is like.

Why

  • To test how my body and mind respond beyond 24 hours to things like sleep deprivation, nutrition, etc. all within a safe indoor environment before my LEJOG and 1000 mile record attempt on the road in September 2017
  • To see how close women can come to men in ultra endurance challenges…
  • To raise funds and awareness for Cancer Research UK

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Can I join you

Yes! You can join me on Zwift for this challenge and ride a few miles with me. As drafting is allowed for this one, I would very much appreciate a bit of shelter from time to time behind a few of you during the attempt. If you join before 5am GMT on the 19th (which is 9pm on the 18th in LA), you need to perform the ‘hack‘ (click on this hyperlink) and choose world1 (Watopia). If you join any time after that Watopia is scheduled anyway, so you don’t need to perform this hack. You can find me on the Watopia Flat Volcano course (12.3km in length and 46m of elevation). I should be finished when the Zwift schedule automatically changes to Richmond at 5am UCT on the 22nd (i.e. 9pm in LA on the 21st) but if I am still going, just perform the ‘hack’ for Watopia again (see above).

How can I help

Facebook and Twitter messages of support are very welcome as are retweets/shares of this announcement, suggestions for playlists (I like euro dance trash for on the turbo…) or cool audio books and podcasts to keep me entertained (nothing sad please as physical exhaustion makes me more emotional).

If you live near London, you are very welcome to visit and cheer me on for a bit!

The plan is to also set up some ‘fly on the wall’ cameras and do regular Facebook live updates, so can you follow the record attempt and see how I get on wherever you are. The live video streaming will be broadcast from my Facebook Duracellbunnyonabike page. Make sure to like and follow this page in advance if you want to receive notifications ahead of the live updates to inform you when my support crew will be broadcasting live footage from the record attempt. There will be regular updates and commentary on my Twitter (@JasmijnMuller1) too.

LEJOG & 1000 mile Record Attempt and Cancer Research UK

It is not easy asking for money, but I hope that by taking on such a huge challenge you forgive me for asking donations.

Record setting is an expensive business. Transporting and feeding officials and a support crew from Land’s End to John o Groats and back home in September will likely cost a few grant just for car and motor home hire, petrol and accommodation near the start and end. I would love to give all donations to charity, but the truth is that I also need some help funding my record attempt. I am saving up, but still have a long way to go.

I plan to use 50% of each donation towards the record attempt and the other 50% will go to Cancer Research UK. If I raise more than I need for the record attempt, all surplus will go to Cancer Research UK. And if some miraculous sponsor emerges for transport/petrol/accommodation, all donations will go to Cancer Research UK!

Why Cancer Research UK?

The first time I raised money for Cancer Research was in September 2010 on a 100-mile cycle in the North West of England organised by one of my work clients. Back then, it was by far the longest I had ever cycled and only the first time ever I tried clipless pedals. The experience encouraged me to take up cycling properly, become a member of a cycling club and push my boundaries further and further. What moved me most about this 100-mile fundraising ride was that Phil had just recovered from cancer of the esophagus and had used time on his bike as a way to fight the cancer. That day he was amazing, easily the fastest out of all of us. Shockingly we heard that he passed away only three months later as the cancer had hit him hard in the brain this time…

That resilience is something I have tried to tap into whenever I suffered on my bike since. I have fundraised for Cancer Research UK once more (in 2013 when I rode the 24-hour bike race in Le Mans). It seems only fitting to fundraise for Cancer Research UK again now that I step it up by embarking on this ultra endurance challenge.

Unfortunately, most of our lives are touched by cancer. We all know a Phil; have lost loved ones; or try to support friends and family living with cancer as well as we can. I hope my request for donations for this record attempt can help to fund the research to get closer to finding cures.

Predict how far I will go

You are of course more than welcome to make a donation without submitting a prediction, but for those of you who fancy a good guess:

  • Make a donation either as Paypal gift (jasmijnmuller1@gmail.com) or by bank transfer (send me an email to ask for bank details).
  • Then send me an email with your prediction for the distance (in miles, up to 1 decimal) you reckon I will cover in this Zwift Distance Record attempt. Any distance qualifies.
  • You may be confident I can do it and predict a distance which is greater than the current record or you may doubt whether I can beat such a strong male record and predict a lower mileage (I promise I won’t hold it against you if you predict anything lower!)
  • If you want to qualify for the top prize (and 3 runner-up prizes), your prediction needs to be submitted before I start the attempt on Saturday 18 February at 3pm GMT
  • Don’t worry if you are way off the mark or late to the game, everyone who donates before Wednesday 22 February 2pm GMT is in with a chance to be one of 12 lucky people to benefit from a fantastic give away of Verbatim power packs to keep your phone, music or cycling gadgets going for longer without worrying about battery life.
  • Of course donations are still very welcome long after the record attempt.

Nearest prediction: Receives an Isobar Compression scan and pair of custom fit compression socks. These socks are awesome for muscle recovery. You won’t find any better compression wear. I will wear them throughout the record attempt to keep my legs as fresh as possible. Contact sales@isobar-compression.com if you can’t wait to get yourself a pair. They are great for long distance travel by plane, car or train too and continue to protect me from a recurring DVT.

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3 Runners-up: Receive a box of extra strong electrolytes (500mg/litre) from Precision Hydration. Ever since I started using Precision Hydration electrolytes my cramp issues have gone. I love the taste (not too strong) and look forward to using Precision Hydration during the Zwift Distance Record attempt to replenish the electrolytes I will be losing in sweat. I am a very sweaty person, so I even use the Precision Hydration 1500s! Contact hello@precisionhydration.com if you have any questions about how to use these electrolytes or want to take an advanced sweat test to fine tune your hydration strategy based on how you sweat.

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Electrolytes that match how I sweat

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucky Give Away: Even if your prediction is way off the mark or your donation comes in after the record attempt start (but before 2pm GMT on February 22), you can still win one of the 12 Verbatim power packs. There is a variety of sizes to give away as a lucky draw. I use the smaller 2,600 mAh ones for my longer training rides and will be using one of the larger 12,000 mAh dual USB ones to keep my Wahoo Element going during this Zwift Distance Record. They are also great to charge your phone on the go or keep your music going during long journeys.

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All donations from £50 and upwards: Receive a signed photo from the Zwift Distance Record Attempt.

All donations from £100 and upwards: Receive a signed photo from the Zwift Distance Record attempt and an invitation to ride with me for a couple of easy recovery laps of Richmond Park post record attempt (date to be confirmed but will be some time in early March). This will be a chance to hear me out, swap cycling stories and ask any questions you may have about what it takes mentally or physically to embark on such mad challenges and perhaps I can give you some advice for how to approach your own goals. One thing is for sure: it will be a slow, easy fun and social ride which is more about the coffee and the chat than the miles, as my legs will need a break!

 

24 Hour TT Worlds

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The World 24 Hour Time Trial Championships were my last hope to somewhat redeem my 2016 season after a DVT in summer meant I only competed at 3 events in the whole year and spent many hours indoor on my turbo. Everything went to plan during the cooler first 12 hours of the race but then it struck me what racing in the desert during a heat wave can do to you… and how underprepared I was… Continue reading

24 Hour Races: Solo vs Team

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In 2013 I did my first 24-hour cycle race at Le Mans on the famous Bugatti Circuit. Solo. Straight into the deep end and I absolutely loved it. This year I competed at Revolve24, a similar 24-hour race at Brands Hatch in Kent. This time as a mixed team of 4 and again I got a real buzz out of it. Both are fun, but here are some of the key differences I found between racing solo or as a team.  Continue reading

Girl Power at Breckland 12 Hour

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A big 12-hour TT PB just two days after my last DVT medication… Getting closer to that magic Beryl Burton record, yet still so far away…

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The Breckland 12 Hour TT was scheduled just two days after taking my last anticoagulants for Deep Vein Thrombosis which had put a halt to my 2016 season before it even really started. What better way for a comeback than going straight for a 12-hour time trial?! I didn’t have any hopes for a good result given I had only been able to train on the turbo for months with much reduced training hours. The goal was completing rather than competing and, above all, to enjoy myself. And I sure did enjoy myself; I had a ball! My legs felt fine after the race, but my jaw muscles were a little sore from all the smiling (and the odd grimacing).

I couldn’t have wished for a more competitive and fun line-up with Jill Wilkinson, Bronwen Ewing and my lovely team mate Katja Rietdorf, the 2016 12-hr National Champ.

Katja on the finishing circuit of the CC Breckland 12-hour TTKatja on the…

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Conquering Cramp Update

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Earlier this year I wrote a blog post on ‘Conquering Cramp‘ in which I commented on my troubles with cramp, previous strategies, the results of a sweat test and the personalised hydration plan I had received for using Precision Hydration, electrolytes that match how I sweat. Unfortunately DVT then got in the way. I have since used them for indoor turbo training, but this weekend I finally had a chance to test them in earnest at a long race. Continue reading