Two cyclists from Hampshire who set out last weekend to break the tandem record from Land’s End to John O’Groats may have missed out on that goal after illness struck one of them on the first day of the journey, but they are tought to be the only people to have finished the journey after attempting to better the existing shortest time for the end-to-end ride, set nearly 50 years ago.
Dominic Irvine and Ian Rodd were accompanied on their 832-mile journey by cycling photographer Joolze Dymond, who documented their progress in both still pictures and video as they covered the distance in 58 hours and 56 minutes.
That was more than eight hours outside the record of 50 hours, 14 minutes and 25 seconds set by Pete Swindon and John Withers in 1966, but despite the record being out of sight early on, the pair pushed on to complete the journey, which also aimed to raise funds for The Magic Wand Appeal at NHS Foundation Trust, where Rodd is a consultant paediatrician. Donations can be made via a Just Giving page set up for the ride.
Although the pair missed out on the record, Irvine was upbeat afterwards, clearly taking a lot of satisfaction in having completed the end-to-end ride.
“It’s really great, isn’t it, as an ordinary person, not a superstar, not an Olympian, to take on an extraordinary challenge, and just see if you can do it,” he reflected.
“In all honesty, that’s what it is all about, could I do something going from being a bit of an average cyclist to doing something as extreme as that. That was the goal.”
Rodd, whose previous longest bike ride was 130 miles, said: “I think the lowest point was where I genuinely thought we weren’t going to make it, we were about 400 miles from the end I suppose and I really didn’t think it was possible.
“I had so many people who had put their trust in me and I couldn’t quite work out what to do about that. I got a bit messed up about that, that was quite a downer really.”
Asked at the end of the video, “Do you think this is going to be unfinished business?” Irvine replied with an emphatic “Yes.”
We look forward to the next instalment.
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.