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 joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.