On Tuesday 6th July, members of ELV monitored a Strava tracking app as our club mate Pete Dyson completed one of the most epic challenges that is possible on a bike in the UK. Rather than me give an account of what Pete achieved, we asked Pete to put in his own modest words of how his day unfolded and how the longstanding RRA record was broken.
At 9:29pm on Tuesday 6th July I arrived exhausted at Hyde Park Corner, London. I’d cycled my bike 468km (290miles) from Lands End in Cornwall.
I started at 9:40am it took just 11hrs49mins to average 39.5kmph. In the process I set a new national record for the distance, first established back in 1902 and repeated twenty times since.
I’ve been training and racing with ELV since 2014, mostly Hog Hill crits and UK time trials, which service my wider goals of racing Ironman triathlons at an elite level. I announced my plans for ‘LE-LON’ to ELV clubs mates back in April (I think it was the AGM). There was amazing encouragement and maybe some raised eyebrows as I’m not typically a mileage monster with longest rides being about 4hrs. I am all about performance and you’ve got to start somewhere.
The club is a brilliant mix of long-standing and new members learning from one another. In my case, I benefited immensely from Wayne Crombie volunteering his guidance and support on the day; nutrition, strategy and equipment at the 4 stopping points. An official RRA van would follow for safety and timekeeping, essential on the dual carriageway sections.
The ride itself was not about perfection, but getting as much right as possible. We saw a strong wind on the forecast, we selected the least-bad time for traffic into London, we had spares and plans for things that could go wrong. It’s a cliche, but the first 5hrs flew by and were enjoyable over the sloping moorlands. By contrast, hours 7-10 dragged on very painfully as the energy sapped and my body struggled to keep turning. In ultra-endurance I’ve been told nothing is permanent, so was right to hold out for a change. With about 80km I perked up and some vigour returned. The run into London was even quieter than anticipated, maybe because of the Euro semi-final and maybe because I was alive to the fact the margins were tightening as the wind dropped and my legs were falling off.
The finish line was unforgettable; my parents, girlfriend, timekeepers and ELV supporters ringing cowbells
The days after were quite magical too, as it turns out normal people (not cyclists) are amazing by riding that far and that fast. Mentally, I was exhausted, but the legs and body weren’t as broken as expected. Not as bad as running a marathon, where the next day you can’t walk downstairs.
I’m really pleased to have raised £2,500 for a brilliant cause, ‘Wheels For Wellbeing’, that help people with disabilities enjoy cycling for transport and leisure.
If I achieve nothing else in cycling, I think I’ll be happy as an old man.
Hope this inspires other people to have a crack at challenges that excite them. Bicycles go further and longer than we each expect!
Thanks to the club for it’s ongoing support.