Home
Unspecified safety issues force former Olympic champ and pilot Jerone Walters to stop riding

Olympic champion rower James Cracknell and time trial specialist Jerone Walters have failed in their attempt to set a new record for a men’s tandem ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

The pair were forced to stop riding just before 1.30 this morning with just 68.3 miles of the 842-mile journey left. At that point, they had ridden for 46 hours 26 minutes 16 seconds at an average speed of 16.7 miles per hour.

That suggests that it was going to be a very close run thing as they tried to beat the existing record of 54 hours 14 minutes 25 seconds, which has stood for 46 years, with the pair needing to ride the final 4 hours or so at a speed of just over 17 miles a hour.

However, a message on their page on the website Map My Tracks said: “We are very sorry to report we have had to abandon the LEJOG record attempt. Safety is our priority and we simply can’t continue.”

There is no news yet as to what it was that specifically forced the abandonment o the record attempt, named Rocket 2 team after the Terry Dolan-designed bike that Cracknell and Walters were riding, although their support crew tweeted that “James & Jerone are ok.”

It’s the second time that Cracknell, who suffered serious head injuries when he was hit by a truck while cycling in Arizona last year, has had to abandon a LEJOG record attempt.

In October 2009 he and Rebecca Romero were forced to stop riding when on course to beat the record after the women’s individual pursuit Olympic champion suffered swelling around the knee.
 

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.

12 comments

Avatar
Littlehuan [46 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Thanks for letting us know. But your bleary eyes must have missed that the record they were chasing was 50:14 (not 54:14 as written, and yes, after a strong start it was getting very close indeed.

Still, if it was easy we'd all be at it of a weekend... fair play for a big effort.

Avatar
TimD [13 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

It sounds like a sensible decision, as they must have been exhausted. Since Inverness, they had been losing time, averaging 13-15mph, where they needed to be hitting around 17mph. The last 140 miles is very very tough, so it's a big ask. By my calculations, at the time they stopped, they would have needed to average faster for the remainder of the ride than they had done for the 700-odd miles they had done so far, which would have been an even bigger ask.

If sleep deprivation was the problem, it would have been history repeating itself. On the 1966 record ride that they were trying to beat, Swinden and Withers had problems with the 'stoker' falling asleep, but apparently he kept pedalling whilst asleep!

Given that Cracknell and Walters are top athletes, it just shows how classy that 1966 ride was. That ride was done on a tandem that had been bought a year before for £10. The riders had also spent over an hour in two sessions in A&E getting treatment for a badly swollen knee. Lastly, a number of the bridges that are on the route now simply weren't there at that time, necessitating extra miles up and down the valleys!

[My source for the historical information is John Taylor's "The End to End Story"]

Avatar
JC [155 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

TimD - My current pet hate is the use of the word 'ask'  14
I think you meant to type 'task'

Avatar
cactuscat [284 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
JC wrote:

TimD - My current pet hate is the use of the word 'ask'  14
I think you meant to type 'task'

I don't think you'll be able to stop the development of the english language - good or bad - by posting on this forum. that's a *really* big ask  4

Avatar
pedalismo [59 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Valiant attempt and a massively big ask for the last leg of the journey! Makes the 1966 record seem almost miraculous.

Avatar
TimD [13 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Language correction noted, JC. But what are you getting upset about? It's not as if I said it twice... Oh. Ah.

Avatar
sportyspook [2 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

 41 It's nice to finally see some respect for the current record holders. There are very good reasons why it has stood for so long and even if they had broken the record their average speed would have been slower than Swinden and Withers'. The fact that the course is now shorter means that breaking thr record by anything less than an hour is just not cricket

Avatar
simon F [993 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

There's a press release as to why on www.project7racing.com now. Basically extreme fatigue endangering the riders.

Avatar
WolfieSmith [1247 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Ask and task? Thanks for the reminder! I've couldn't remember what came before 'big 'asks' and now I remember a time when 'big tasks' and 'tests' ruled the earth, 100 percent was all you could logically achieve and 'awesome' was reserved for events or deeds which elicited genuine awe. No offence meant to Tim D but not all changes to the english language are progressive in 'like' a positive sense. Innit.

Avatar
hairyairey [296 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Big ask isn't that bad. It's merely an abbreviation of asking a lot. You can't get worse that using "could of" instead of "could've" or "could have". That really is bad grammar, nearly as bad as getting shot by a panda...

Granted there are a lot of bridges that weren't on the route in 1966, but there were very few traffic lights back then and much less traffic. If Cracknell and Walters had a police escort then I think they would have been in with a chance. I have lost so much time in training at traffic lights. You can easily lose 5 minutes of every hour.

Avatar
arrieredupeleton [574 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Meanwhile, outside of pedants corner: I thought TimDs post was really interesting. Will have to look up that book as inspiration for LEJOG. Thanks Tim

Yours,

Lynne Truss

Avatar
RuthF28 [99 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Well done to them for a noble attempt and sympathy for failing; but why on earth an attempt at this time of year? It's dark early morning and early evening; it's windy, it's wet, and it's cold. Why not in May or June with really long bright days? I did my LeJog in September last year and the weather was already closing in up in Scotland (and accommodation closing down for the winter). I can't imagine it's any more pleasant in October.

Better luck next time chaps!