When asked what I do for a living, I usually respond: “I am a management consultant who specialises in strategic and business planning advice to the visitor, leisure and cultural sectors”. Some people instantly understand what I mean with that, but others may think that I am a travel consultant, booking and organising trips to exotic destinations for clients and sneaking in the occasional fam trip. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most of my time is spent behind my desk: either on the phone or working on spreadsheets and reports. I do travel quite a bit for site visits, consultations and client meetings, but hardly ever outside of the UK these days.
“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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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…
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…
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