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James Cracknell races across America

Olympic rower and endurance addict sets himself another tough task

Olympic rower James Cracknell is well known for his epic challenges: he's completed the Marathon Des Sables, raced to the South Pole and rowed, cycled and swam from the UK to Morocco in aid of Sport Relief. Yesterday the keen cyclist set out on another gruelling adventure: to cycle, run, row and swim across the North American continent in just 18 days.

His 3,600 mile trip will mostly be completed by bike and 2,500 miles of it will be along the famous Route 66 highway, but there's an 80-mile run in Death Valley, 265 miles of rowing across Lake Erie and a final 15-mile swim to the Statue of Liberty thrown in for good measure.

James is sponsored by Merida and will be using a variety of bikes for the 2,500 mile long bike leg due to the varied terrain and road conditions of Route 66. The majority of the time will be spent on a TimeWarp time trail machine but he'll be breaking out the Scultura Evo for the more mountainous sections. The crew will also be taking along a super light O.Nine mountainbike for a 30 mile section of Route 66 which is not rideable on a road bike.

To get a better idea of just how difficult an agenda James has set himself this time around, here's his 18-day schedule (beginning Thursday 15th July).

Day  Event    Location                Distance
1    Cycle    Santa Monica Pier, CA   263 miles
2    Run      Death Valley, CA        80 miles
3    Cycle    Jubilee Pass, CA        250 miles
4    Cycle    Kingman, AZ             250 miles
5    Cycle    Holbrook, AZ            250 miles
6    Cycle    Albuquerque, NM         250 miles
7    Cycle    Amarillo, TX            250 miles
8    Cycle    Oklahoma City, OK       250 miles
9    Cycle    Tulsa, OK               250 miles
10   Cycle    Springfield, MO         250 miles
11   Cycle    St. Louis, MO           250 miles
12   Cycle    Indianapolis, IN        250 miles
13   Row      Toledo, OH              85 miles
14   Row      Cleveland, OH           100 miles
15   Row      Erie, PA                80 miles
16   Cycle    Buffalo, NY             250 miles
17   Cycle    Binghamton, NY          250 miles
18   Swim     Manhattan, NY           15 miles

The challenge is being featured on the Discovery Channel in October, and you can also keep up to date with James' progress live via his Twitter feed at We'll keep you updated here at too. Best of luck James!


Dave is a founding father of, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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Blackhound | 13 years ago

Looks a tough schedule! And not much time to recover for his next adventure:

handlebarcam | 13 years ago

Would like to see his planned route, sounds more interesting than the usual RAAM-style shortest route form coast to coast, but his web site only shows where he has been. Having cycled in America a bit myself, I think this will be a frequent occurrence. Get 20 miles outside a major city, and enormously fat people driving pickups, with burgers and big gulps on their laps, stare a you like you are the one living a perversely unnatural life.

Martin Thomas | 13 years ago

Blimey! That's a punishing schedule. Sometimes I wonder whether James likes himself all that much...

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