Dear friends, family, fans (if I have any?!), fellow cyclists and anyone up for a challenge: I am hoping to recruit a crew for my solo Land’s End John o’Groats record attempt and I hope you want to be part of this adventure! You will be my secret weapons, my ‘lightsabers’.
I will likely need a ‘pool’ of about 10 people of which hopefully about 5 or 6 can make themselves available for 5 to 7 days in September 2017: 1 day to travel to Land’s End, probably 1 day of preparations there, 3 days for the record attempt (including the 1,000 miles) and 1 day to travel back from John o’Groats.
My request for a larger ‘pool’ of crew I can call upon is because the record will be weather-dependant. I will try to get hold of a longer-range weather forecast, but reliability can be an issue. It is impossible to know too far in advance during which days in September that nice south-westerly wind will be blowing and therefore when exactly the LEJOG solo record attempt will take place.
What am I looking for?
I am looking for people who can help with the following:
Driving – I will likely have 2 support cars (so supporters can sleep in turns…unlike me who will keep cycling for 2 days without any sleep). No drafting or close follow allowed. I hope to be able to work out a deal with a car manufacturer or rental company, but failing that anyone who is happy to use their personal car and isn’t faced by driving long distances…. you are very welcome! Oh and cars with a roof rack would be particularly useful!
Navigation – I will prepare the route both as a GPS file for TomToms etc and old-fashioned print outs. This is very important task, not only to make sure the driver keeps going in the right direction, but also communicate navigational instructions to me on the bike when required.
Communication/Media – I hope to invest in a live tracking device and (if permitted by the RRA) a two-way communication system between me and my support crew. As for the ‘live tracking’, I will also have a ‘followmychallenge’ page where you can follow my record attempt 24/7, including a map of where I am, average speed, progress compared to the current record, actual weather, including hopefully that nice tailwind… It would be great to have someone along who can post regular updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, my blog, webpage etc on my behalf along with images of my sweaty face.
Food/Nutrition – As with other long-distance time trials I will need people to hand me up bottles of energy drink and food along the route. It is probably a good idea if we practise this beforehand during a 12-hr or 24-hr TT first… In addition, the drinks will need to be prepared, stored, divided between the cars etc. And then of course someone should think about food to keep the support crew going too! Any nutrition specialists interested in helping me figure out what nutrition to take on during such a challenge… .please give me a buzz. It’s a huge dive into the unknown for me!
Strategy/Tactics – Anyone who may have been involved in similar challenges previously is very welcome. You would think it is simple, just keep pedalling, but the longer the challenge, the more that can go wrong and any strategic/tactical advice is very much appreciated.
Logistics – Do you like to organise things (and people)? People with Army or RAF background would be particularly awesome to have as part of the crew, but equally all event organisers, mums etc … please bring your organising skills to the team.
Mechanic – Mega important. I would need at least 2 people who know how to fix a flat tyre (be that on the bicycle or the car) and can keep us all going as there is no time for stopping. Any additional bicycle repair knowledge is of course very welcome.
Photo/Video – I would like to share my record attempt with as many people as possible. Having a photographer/videographer along really help to portray to those following the challenge the highs and lows I will undoubtedly be going through.
I don’t necessarily need one person for each of the above responsibilities. One person could take on several tasks.
Crew Member Characteristics
My dear husband has agreed to be my ‘Crew Chief’. He has successfully helped me with previous 12-hour and 24-hour challenges and really is my rock. However, he knows next to nothing about bicycle repair etc, so I definitely need help with that… and he will need to sleep at some point…
In addition to the skills required to carry out the aforementioned responsibilities, I am looking for people who:
- Are up for a bit of a challenge
- Like adventure
- Want to be part of a team effort (no matter how hard I train, without a strong and motivated crew, I will fail)
- Want to be part of (hopefully) an amazing new record (that might stand for another 15 years)
- Have a positive attitude
- Can handle limited sleep/breaks
- Are available for a ‘practice session’ during at least one 12-hr or 24-hr race prior to the record attempt (also gives support crew a chance to get to know each other, if you didn’t already)
- And ideally… can be flexible with their time in September 2017. Are you a student, retired, in between jobs … perfect! Do you work full-time, but are willing to take a week off in September 2017…amazing!
And it goes without saying that I will owe my support crew forever!
And if you didn’t know yet.. it won’t just be for the sporting challenge or the record, your effort will also help me in raising funding for Cancer Research UK. I first raised funds for the charity back in 2011 during my first 100 mile ride organised by an amazing cyclists, who sadly lost his life to cancer shortly after. The second time I fund-raised for Cancer Research UK was during LeMans 24-hr Velo in 2013. It took me while to think about how to ‘up’ the stakes… but I think a 48+-hour effort like LEJOG is a fitting way to continue raising funds for a very worthy cause.
Getting in Touch
Please get in touch (see the ‘contact me’ page for my email address) if you would like to be part of my record attempt crew. Don’t be shy to contact me. The sooner, the better, as there will be opportunities to ‘rehearse’ at a number of 12-hr and 24-hr races throughout 2016 and 2017.
Finally, if you can’t be part of my support crew but have a little bit of time to spare during the record attempt, it would be amazing to see/hear some of you along the way during the actual record attempt. I will post details of the full route in due time.
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Very interesting to read. I was pleased to see your thoughtful approach to these things, and so perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised when I saw that you’ve been talking to the Taylors.
I’d be happy to share my thoughts & experiences in this area in due course, in case they can be of some help.
(and I think we met last year, just after you finished the Hounslow 100, and were in need of water!)
Hi Ralph! I will be in touch by email soon. I was already alerted by someone to get in touch 😉 Yes I have spoken and will continue to consult the Taylors! Haha – I remember the Hounslow 100.. and unsupported 100.. hot, cramp, running out of water… we have all been there I guess… but that’s what I love about the longer-distance TTs, there are always so many nice people to help you on and cheer you on!
Have van will travel….. have already put my hand up….
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Fantastic Sharon. I will be in touch by email very shortly!