James is 26 and lives with his long term girlfriend Isabelle. He is studying towards a degree in Civil Engineering, alongside pushing himself in Ultra-Distance bicycle races.
Since a young age I have tried my hand at most things going. Some people would, and have called me non-committed. I would argue I have always been searching for the one thing I can be great at, the thing worth sinking my life’s energy into, sacrificing my time and my body towards.
One of the first, well honestly both of the earliest memories I have with a bicycle involve self inflicted pain. The first, going over the handlebars and hitting myself in the face during the process, I’m pretty sure I was still on stabilisers here! The second, going down a grass track (perhaps a little fast) sliding out the front wheel and heading head first into a ditch of nettles. I actually did the same thing again a few years later but on a quad-bike, not really sure I learnt the lesson to avoid nettles. I spent quite a few years riding dirt jump at Chicksands and have a few good concussions to my name. I broke my leg completely in a skiing accident and have fractured ribs snowboarding. It may seem as though I’m accident prone, however step into my world and you’ll find I simply don’t understand the meaning of the word ‘limit’. I push myself beyond, stretching and extending the tightrope of my ability, willing to lay my body down to achieve.
Recently since taking up road racing in 2013 with Catford CC Banks at the upper echelons in the UK, memories include, but are not limited too, breaking every bone in the right side of my face, fracturing my pelvis and arms, sprained and smashed ankles, patellar tendentious. My body is now a historical timeline of scars, I’ve fought a hard war with the bicycle and honestly I’ve lost a few battles, but I think I’ve tamed the beast and will win the war. I did win a race or two in good fashion along the way.
In 2015 I moved away from road racing and into unsupported ultra-distance adventure racing, covering huge distances alone in a first one there wins fashion. I’ve taken my bike riding back to the basics and the essence of why I started, the need to explore. I’ve had a sense of adventure and desire to explore since a young age, when living in Budapest aged 9, I persuaded but honestly more forced my then mate to sneak out and ride our bikes across Budapest. Luckily I’ve always had a 6th sense for directions!
Isabelle, my long term girlfriend has fallen foul to my desire to explore. When walking in the Lake District on our holiday, I felt the gabled path was a bit mundane and decided that if we went off the top of Bowfell our own route way we would have more fun. Anyway, half hanging off a vertical drop, Isabelle seemed to disagree! With some luck, we managed to backtrack and get out of that one all intact, character building exercise indeed.
What’s life without a little adventure?