Challenge that nearly killed Olympian comes to the small screen

You'll probably remember that back in July of last year that James Cracknell was attempting his own Race Across America that took in running, canoeing and, of course, cycling. James had some top end Merida bikes – a Scultura Evo and a Time Warp – for the cycling legs, and it was while he was riding the former that he was hit from behind by a truck, suffering serious head injuries.

It later became clear that the injuries were life-threatening: Cracknell was on life support and his wife told how she feared that he would never recover. Cracknell defied all expectations though and made an exceptional recovery: he was up and walking around the ward after just two weeks.

Cracknell was filming for the Discovery Channel as part of the challenge and the resulting documentary – which obviously took a very different direction in the end – is showing tomorrow night (Thursday 31 March) at 9pm on Discovery and Discovery HD. You may or may not be able to get that on your telly at home, depending on who gets your tv dollar, but you certainly can watch the trailer here, and it won't cost you a bean. Looks like an interesting watch...

There's more clips of the show on the Discovery Channel website

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.


WolfieSmith [1394 posts] 6 years ago

He's called 'singled minded' in the trailer and it sums up his peculiar level of competitive spirit. Despite being great telly and for charity I'm not sure what all the suffering is achieving for him personally. It's almost like watching the compulsive self destruction of Best or Gazza - except by over exertion rather than booze. If I had 6 Olympic golds and as employable as a presenter as Cracknell is I'm not sure I'd be leaving my lovely wife and kids to risk my life for TV in some display of midlife crisis induced self flagellation.

Mind you, talking of which - I speak as someone who's did the Etape for two years in a row and was passed by a certain J Cracknell during the 2009 Ventoux event. Ahem...

hairyairey [304 posts] 6 years ago

Absolutely amazing guy and the programme was very moving. It was so evident that his wife really loves him. I've never spoken to James Cracknell although we did do the L2P at the same time once. I hope he does it again.

It was said on the programme that Arizona has a minimum speed limit which was why James was riding alone. Other states were giving him a Police Escort. Unfortunately my experience here is that Police forces are not in favour of any sponsored event on the road.

Nonetheless James is an inspiration we could do with more people like him. I wonder how soon I can run across death valley as well?