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.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.