Photo credit: Le Col
LEJOG is a well known cycle touring challenge covering the length of Great Britain from Land’s End to John O’Groats. It’s a fair challenge – I daresay plenty of us would think twice before riding the standard challenge over nine days.
But we would think more than twice before riding the length of the country in a little over 2 days. Indeed, the prospect of that challenge would seem more like an impossible feat rather than an achievable challenge.
It’s a good thing there are women like Jasmijn Muller in the world, who will seize such a challenge with both hands.
We spent Bank Holiday Monday meeting Jasmijn and listening to her story. It left us awestruck.
In 1954, Eileen Sheridan set a LEJOG record of 2 days, 11 hours and 7 minutes – a challenge which stood for decades. In 2013, Jasmijn heard Eileen speak about her record at an event in South West London – an encounter which inspired her tremendously.
Listen to Jasmijn talk about why she is embarking on this challenge:
Since that encounter, a signed picture of Eileen has been positioned on the wall above Jasmijn’s turbo trainer to inspire her to train hard and achieve her own long distance cycling goals.
the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances
Jasmijn hopes to break the current solo women’s record for LEJOG of 52 hours and 45 minutes, set by Lynne Biddulph in 2002. That record has stood unchallenged since 2002, but Jasmijn believes that she can break it – and while she’s at it, she intends to keep cycling for the 1,000 mile record which currently stands at 64 hours and 38 minutes. It’s safe to say that regardless of whether Jasmijn succeeds in breaking the record, it will be a phenomenal endurance feat. I can’t imagine even staying awake for 64 hours – never mind cycling for that length of time.
My biggest question for Jasmijn was about the physical implications of such a challenge – specifically, is it a case of powering through the pain, or are there steps to take to avoid it in the first place? On a 1,000 mile ride all I can think is that the saddle pain would be unbearable. You can here what Jasmijn had to say about pain and the prevention and treatment of saddle sores here:
Jasmijn’s LEJOG/1000 mile ultra endurance challenge will take place in September, though the starting date is a movable feast which is dependent on the weather. To break the LEJOG solo record, Jasmijn will have to keep going like the famous Duracell Bunny she references in her blog, duracellbunnyonabike. It is a challenge of physical and mental power and endurance, and it is also a challenge which relies on meticulous planning and execution by her whole support crew if she is to succeed.
There are a few ways to get involved if you want to support Jasmijn in this amazing challenge. One way is to buy one of the official LEJOG record caps: emblazoned on the peak is the message, ‘BE THE EGG’, Jasmijn’s mantra when the going gets tough: “the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances”. Jasmijn would be thrilled to see these caps along the LEJOG route and the proceeds from cap sales will help to finance the record attempt. All surplus will go to Cancer Research UK.
You can follow Jasmijn’s preparations through her blog, Facebook page and her dedicated LEJOG Record website. During the LEJOG record attempt, you will be able to follow her progress 24 hours a day through live tracking software. Followmychallenge will be showing Jasmijn’s progress on a map, including elapsed time and distance, weather data and her performance against the existing record. Check back here, too, for our updates.
Jasmijn’s top tips for avoiding saddle sores:
Even if you are using your favourite chamois cream, your favourite bibshorts and your favourite saddle – and even if they have all been comfortable in the past – it’s no guarantee that you’ll stay comfortable.
- Don’t be tempted to shave. Some people are ok waxing, but you are probably better off leaving things natural and avoiding any chance of follicles getting infected;
- Try using an antiperspirant roll-on in the week before a big ride to help prepare the skin;
- Mix it up in the saddle – don’t remain in the same position all the time. Sit up straight for a while, and pedal out of the saddle on climbs;
- If you are able to do so, change your shorts. Sweat build up can be a real problem, so if you have the chance to change into fresh shorts, take it;
- If you do get a saddle sore, seek treatment as quickly as possible.