Now back in the UK from his gruelling Trans Am Bike Race, a 4,000+ mile unsupported cycle challenge across the US, we caught up with our CEO Andrew Redmayne to find out how he got on.
Andrew, welcome back – you’ve achieved something quite incredible
I finished the Trans Am Bike Race (or challenge in my case) in 53rd place, out of a total 118 entrants – so fairly respectable. Of the 118 entrants there were 49 non finishers which gives an indication of just how challenging the race was – I was laid up for three days just 750 miles into the race due to a knee injury so I am just glad to have been able to get back on the bike and finish.
It must have been quite a challenge?
There were three main challenges – physical, mental and dietary.
The physical was probably the easiest if you don’t mind pain too much! I learnt a lot about myself and the need for patience in overcoming the mental challenge – especially around managing expectations when things weren’t going well. I was not prepared for the dietary challenge though and whilst thinking I would look forward to eating junk food without guilt – I was wrong! When you are trying to replace 7,000-8,000 calories a day it was a real shock to find that in the middle of a 4,000+ race the diners and food stops all had the same fried food offerings, which wasn’t so much fun after the first few days. I lost about 5kg in the 5 weeks and dramatically improved my general level of fitness.
There must have been some memorable moments along the way?
I had some fantastic experiences, some of the wildlife and scenery was excellent, and I met some great people. I had one accident involving a drunk driver who was arrested at the scene though – he couldn’t stand up – and two other near misses as US drivers are just not used to cyclists.
The weather range I experienced was dramatic from 2°C and sleet in the Rockies, to 43°C and 100% humidity in Missouri (we were unlucky in running into a patch of severe heat warnings) and I was completely unprepared for the 25+mph headwinds that blow for 6+ hours at a time on the straight roads of Wyoming and Colorado. The violent electric storms in Kansas were to be watched out for and I had a great, if not scary, experience being pushed along at 35+mph for 10 miles on the front of one of these storms. Finally, I managed to fall asleep on the bike in my final push for the finish and crashed the bike knocking myself out 120 miles from the end – luckily neither the bike or I suffered any real damage.
Sadly there were four other more serious road accidents involving other racers one of which resulted in a fatality, R.I.P John Egbers.
How did you find the distance and route?
All in all I covered 4,164.9 miles and climbed over 166,000ft – I had a shock in finding that the toughest climbing came after the Rockies in the Ozark mountains of Missouri as I thought it was all downhill from the top of the Hosier pass at 11,569ft. I averaged around 126 miles a day over the 33 days I was cycling.
How did you find the support back home?
I have been overwhelmed by the interest shown and support given by family, friends and work colleagues without which I would not have been able to take on the challenge – let alone finish it so thank you. With a bit of luck over £20k should be raised for MIND to support the great work they do.