At 04.53 am on 13th June, under a dark rain-filled sky, the clock started as I began my race from Land’s End in Cornwall, to John o’ Groats, Scotland, the furthest points end to end of mainland Britain. My goal was to break the Guinness World Record for fastest female to handcycle the length of Britain. The female record standing at just short of 11 days, the male at 10, my goal was 9 days, covering 100 miles a day using my arms alone.
Nerves and apprehension were high, but once on my bike I knew what I had to do. The weather was not on side, a week of storms, multiple changes of weatherproofs was not what I’d envisaged for the longest days of summer. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from world class sport, it’s this: ‘control the controllables’. I couldn’t control the weather, only my mindset.
I can honestly say I enjoyed every moment whilst cycling Britain’s main roads north. The support from drivers and strangers on the roadside was incredible, and for me, reminiscent of London 2012 when Britain united for a summer of sport of our own. Off the bike times were the hardest, the moments I wasn’t moving forward, when my body and mind fought back. My bike and me were one, a metronome making our way from the very end of this island the very top, the simplicity of cycling, the complete focus of performance and the race.
Each day grew in miles, I felt better and better and with that never wanting to stop as the sun set. My final push saw me riding through the night, a 22 hour day on the bike covering over 200 miles, my only sadness having to finally stop. I didn’t want to end this incredible journey.
To begin with, I feared my 9 day target may have been out of reach. I never once thought about the finish until I knew it was in sight in those final hours.
I sprinted into John o’ Groats on 20th June at 03.11 am. 6 days, 22 hours and 18 minutes since leaving Land’s End, 2 days ahead of target and breaking the female world record by nearly 4 days, the male by over 3
A new world record.
"My bike became my possible; my dream I made my reality; my goal, planned, prepared and focussed became my success. Though not won in those final minutes or hours, as no true success story ever is. Nor ever by a single individual. Thank you to Corinthian Wealth Management and St James’s Place Wealth Management for being part of this record breaking, winning team."
Mel spoke at Corinthian Wealth Management’s International Woman’s Day event in March 2019.