If our report last month on the Race Around Ireland has whetted anybody’s appetite for a go at Endurance Cycling, an enterprising Englishman has devised a race that could ease newcomers into the discipline.
Earlier this year, Vin Cox broke the Guinness World Record for completing an 18000+ mile circumnavigation of the Globe in just over 163 days. By bike. With a Brooks on top, naturally. Some nice leather on the bars too…
The five and a half months which followed his departure from the Greenwich Royal Observatory in March were predictably calorific, his daily mileage resulting in a fuel demand from his body the equivalent of fifty Mars bars. Which isn’t to say he ate fifty Mars bars every day. Clearly, all the teeth-brushing that such a diet necessitates would have ruined any hopes of a “good time”.
But it turns out that getting 11000 calories on board was the least of his challenges when he climbed onto his bike most mornings.
Contending with a riding temperature of up to 50 degrees Centigrade in some places, elsewhere Vin found himself protesting his innocence of (completely unfounded) charges of International Espionage. And to make things even more interesting, Madame Dysentery reared her unwelcome head a couple of times. On the bright side, he was spared the anguish of a “poisoned toe”, unlike Ossie Nicholson who went head to head with Rene Menzies in 1937 to determine whom could clock up the highest mileage over the course of a calendar year. Click here for a report on their duel from the 1938 Brooks Catalogue.
He battled on through it all, though, and the rest, as they say, is history. But ever the consummate gentleman, Vin has announced a plan this week offering other cyclists the opportunity in fifteen months’ time to break this self-same record!
The 18th February 2012 will mark the start of the Global Bicycle Race.
Starting from Black Heath, just south of Greenwich Park, participants will be instructed to “ride east”. More specific route choices are left to the individual rider. It is none the less hoped that the quickest should arrive back in Greenwich on or around the 22th of July of the same year, when the 2012 London Olympic Games will be just about to begin.
Vin has completed an analysis of his own successful record attempt and concluded that it would be possible with nothing more than a run of fairly good luck to shave ten days off his record. Furthermore, this luck, in the hands of a “stronger rider” than Vin (too modest, Mr. Cox!) could, in theory, result in a cyclist making it back to Black Heath three weeks “early”.
As already mentioned, riders may determine their own route, but it must be a provable minimum of 18000 miles. GPS for all participants, and random mileage audits will, it is hoped, take care of this. They may also decide whether to ride alone, or with a support team, and will be categorized as such should the issue of a new Guinness World Record arise. Finally, they must “stay on the same bike… parts” of which “may be replaced”.
Andrea has already begun modifying his Brompton, while Bregan has rather defeatistly drawn large X’s into every page of his ten-year-engagement diary until early 2013. Good luck, chaps!