On the 27th October I will be trying once more to beat the LEJOGLE World Record. This is approx 1688 miles (as long as we don’t take any wrong turns) The record is currently set at 5 days 21 hours and 8 mins. The report below shows some of the difficulties we faced in April when I first attempted it, we are hoping not to have any snow, but this is Britain so who knows. The main difference this time is that I don’t have RAAM in the back of my mind I can give it my all right to the end and not worry about how long it will take me to recover.
This is the link to the route. It not only shows the route it also shows the elevation chart. If you want to come out and give me a shout I will be happy to see you. There will also be a page on the website once I start that will show where I am.
People keep asking me why I am doing this? The answer last time was simple there was no better way to train for a 3,000 mile bicycle race? By doing it and running it like RAAM (Race Across America) it was good training for both me and the crew This time is slightly different I am doing it cause I don’t like to be beaten and I never quit anything, last time I had to think of the bigger picture this time I can prove to myself and others that I can do it. I also want to raise some money and awareness of the Fraja-Ellie Appeal.
As soon as I’d finished the LeJogLe lots of people were asking me for the details of what happened so I thought I would do a write-up about it. This is not a lot of excuses but just what happened.
We started at 10am on the 2nd as planned but that’s about all that did go to plan. The weather was dry and I could not believe my luck, with all the snow we have had I was amazed the sun was out, what I hadn’t realised was how strong the winds were.
The first 100 miles out of Lands-End I’ve always found hard, those that know me know I am not a fan of hills and those rolling hills are a killer, with the headwind just making it more of a challenge. The music from the follow car really was keeping me going. I managed 300 miles in the first day which was too slow, at some points I was doing just 50 miles in 4 hours.
I always say you can’t do anything about the weather but that didn’t stop it being frustrating, I was hoping that the night would bring a drop in the wind but all it did was bring a drop in the temperature with them hitting lows of -4. After 3 hours of sleep, a glass of Neovite and some hot food I felt strong and ready to go, I had my positive attitude back and I wasnt going to let a bit of cold and silly wind stop me.
I set off back to 20 mph average and had a strong 12 hours, but with the wind knocking it out of me a slow and steady pace is not something you can do on a record attempt. At some points I was having to stop to get a Torq drink and if I wanted any food I was having to stop whereas normally I would eat on the bike.
I had a 2 hour sleep break just outside Preston where I was having difficulties breathing. I set back off strong and hard but unfortunately the follow car didn’t, unbeknown to me the car had broken down, instead of following me it was stuck, the team tried to jump start it but it wasnt having any of it. By the time they jumped into the van to go and find me I was 20 miles down the road, I’d got a lot further than they realised and it took a phone call from me at a garage to help them find me. I was then stuck at the garage for 2 hours until the car was sorted because it had got dark so I could not go out without it.
I also could not sleep because I had just rested and my adrenalin was going. The RAC sorted the car and we were off to Shap. By this point it was pitch black with freezing temperature down to -3 and still no let up in the wind, the team were keeping me going with all the messages on twitter, facebook and the website – I could not believe the amount of comments but could not help but feel I was letting a lot of people, including myself, down.
The team rallied together to get my spirits back up and did a brilliant job. I decided 80 miles outside of John O’Groats that I could not make it, we were losing 2 members of the team (both drivers) the following afternoon, I was having major breathing difficulties and the weather report was saying that the wind direction was going to change so I would be facing a head wind most the way back.
I don’t do quitting but I had to look at the bigger picture, RAAM is my main race this year and this was training for it. There was no point putting myself in hospital when the record was out of reach. I know I can do the distance, that was never the issue.
I was admitted to hospital when I got home, with ligament damage to my hand and pneumonia so nothing too bad!
I am back on the bike today and off on holiday with the family, going to come back stronger and fitter. A lot of lessons have been learnt by me and the crew, it’s these things we are going to take from the experience and keep it positive.
Will I be try it again? Never say never, but I think I might leave it till it warms up a bit I always hated the cold
Thank you all for the encouragement and support, and i hope you will follow me on RAAM!
Chris ‘Hoppo’ Hopkinson