Pippa Middleton, sister to the Duchess of Cambridge, will set off later this week on the world’s toughest annual bike race* – the Race Across America (RAAM), which covers around 3,000 miles from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
Although she’ll be riding as part of an eight-person relay, and is the only woman on the team, it’s a daunting undertaking for any cyclist.
All the more so, perhaps, for one who in January confessed that she was a comparative novice at road cycling – although in 2011 she completed the Highland Cross duathlon, which includes a 30-mile bike ride.
Middleton and her brother James are riding for the Michael Matthews Foundation team, the charity named after the 22-year-old who died in 1999 as he descended from the summit of Mount Everest after becoming the youngest Briton reach it.
One of his brothers, also called James, once dated Middleton – and is also taking part in RAAM - while another, Spencer, is one of the main figures in the reality TV series Made In Chelsea.
Competitors in the various team categories set off from Oceanside, California on Saturday 14 June to start the ride to Annapolis, Maryland.
Other UK teams taking part are Data Techniques powered by Networks Centre (Nick Crosby and Sean Frost) in the two-person category, and the four-person London Pride Spinhalers (John Hall, Martyn Grant, Dave Shephard and James Fuller).
Five riders from the UK are entered in the solo category, with riders setting off tomorrow. They are Chris ‘Hoppo’ Hopkinson, Mark Pattinson, Shusanah Pillinger, Tim Richardson and Brian Welsh.
You can keep up to date with the 33rd edition of the Race Across America through its website.
* Organisers of the unsupported Trans Am Bike Race, which covers almost one and a half times the distance and began on Saturday, may disagree.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.