In the early hours of this morning (7 May) the 1966 record for non-stop cycling on a tandem from Land’s End to John O’Groats was broken by endurance cyclists Dominic Irvine and Charlie Mitchell.
With the support of a close team, the duo managed to complete the epic challenge in a remarkable 45 hours 11 minutes and 2 seconds,averaging 18.7mph and beating the record by a staggering 5 hours. The pair set off on their challenge at 6:30am on Tuesday 5 May.
Officiated by the Road Records Association (RRA), the incredible feat, which involved 842 miles of non-stop cycling, usually takes experienced cyclists around ten days to complete.
Dominic commented: “The last couple of days have been an amazing blend of euphoria, fatigue, camaraderie, along with an enormous sense of achievement. We’ve been working towards this for years and it’s been a privilege to be part of such an incredible team of people. Charlie and I were the ones riding the bike, but it really was a team effort and a huge amount of work from everyone has gone into making this record attempt a success. We are extremely grateful to Dr Simon Jobson at Winchester University who developed our training plan, the guys at Orbit Tandems who specially designed our amazing bike, our nutritionist and all the medics, route-planners and support crew who have given up their time to support us, proof that success is a team game.”
The previous record, which was unbeaten since 1966, was held by Pete Swinden and John Withers. They completed the cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats in two days, two hours, 14 minutes and 25 seconds (50 hours, 14 minutes and 25 seconds). Olympic gold medalist, James Cracknell (along with Jerone Walters and Rebecca Romero) have tried and failed to break the record twice.
Nigel Harrison, a member of the support team accompanying Dominic and Charlie throughout the challenge, said: “The whole team has worked amazingly well together, overcoming issues including strong headwinds at times, rainstorms, traffic jams and severe fatigue, whilst maintaining totally focussed on keeping one bike, two riders, two vehicles and eight other team members all safe, fed and watered while on the road. It’s a fantastic feeling to have finally achieved something that we’ve all worked towards for so long.”
This is Dominic’s third attempt at breaking the record (previous attempts in 2012 and 2014), falling agonisingly short on both occasions. As well as an endurance cyclist, Dominic is founder of Epiphanies LLP, a leadership and development consultancy.
Follow @orbittandems @a3crg and @domirvine on Twitter for the pair's post ride thoughts.