Ironwoman Christina ready to break LeJog cycle record this summer
“Anything is possible,” is the mantra to which Christina Mackenzie lives her life.
Making the impossible dreams come possible is something this elite level athlete has been doing around the world for years yet the 42- year-old refuses to slow down.
Last summer Stornoway-cyclist Christina pedalled into the record books as the fastest Scot and the third fastest female – from anywhere – to race from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
The epic endurance race, which is known as LeJog, is a thigh-destroying, bum-busting 839-miles and while she performed magnificently to finish in 55hrs 17mins and 19 seconds.
For most athletes that is the kind of result they would revel in forever. For Christina though it was a missed opportunity to break the all-time women’s record set in 2002 by Lynne Biddulph.
And like an itch she can’t scratch she is going all out to smash the record this coming summer as she confirms plans to get back on her bike in July and take on the long-standing LeJog record.
“After lots of consideration and team meetings I am delighted to announce that I will be attempting to break the Guinness World Record and RRA record to become the fastest woman to cycle from Lands’ End to John O’Groats in under 52hrs 45mins,” Christina told the Gazette.
Christina had been on schedule to break the record last time out as she maintained a record breaking pace until Helmsdale just 48-miles from the end. For the first 700-miles she powered at above her target pace before two days in the saddle and more than 700-miles of tarmac in her thighs and the infamously steep climbs of Helmsdale, twinned with a gruelling headwind, proved to be too much as she slipped below target.
Having pedalled 766-miles in 48-frenetic hours it is no surprise her pace slowed a little and it is a testament to her iron will and determination she refused to give up and she continued to the finish at John O’Groats.
This time around she has enlisted the help of a crack coach with experience of LeJog and any local businesses who wish to support Christina with her record attempt are invited to get in touch.
“I would love for local companies to come on board and be part of of our World Record Breaking Team and put the Hebrides on the map and do the Islands proud.,” she said.
“There are branding opportunities on the support vehicle which will follow me over the full ride, on my rider branding and on the crew clothing for anyone who would like to help support this attempt.
“I would be very grateful for any assistance and I will also be raising money for the Alzheimer Scotland Western Isles myself through this.”
Christina Mackenzie is no stranger to medals, records and the middle step on podiums around Europe at cycling, triathlon and ironman events. She has been out-sprinting, outlasting and outperforming top calibre athletes at events around the country, and beyond, for several years now, collecting titles, medals and records like stamps and forging a reputation as the Hebridean Ironwoman, but her new attempt to break a world cycling record which has stood for 18-years might be her greatest achievement yet.
“Last time I was gutted I didn’t break the record,” she continued.
“I knew this would be a tough ask and was going to be the challenge of a lifetime and I would go through some dark times and I did but at the end I felt I had let my team down and disappointed all the people that had assured me I would smash it and had every confidence in me to break the record. I continued to try and increase my average speed on the flats and descents in the hope this would balance out and a possibility it may still get me to JoG’s before the deadline but time was running out and I knew it was.
“I hurt all over, my body wanted to get off my bike and put it in the van and head back to the hotel. Thankfully my mind is stronger than my body and I continued the final painful 39 miles over Helmsdale and Berriedale, slowly and painfully to get to Wick, where I had a sleep deprivation moment but my team safely chaperoned me to the finishing line.”
“I’ve been in training since September again for this with the plan to attempt it from July 22 - weather depending,” she added, “and I’ve also been working with a new coach called Gary Hand.
“He is a tremendous coach, a former Scotland Road Race Champion and he has experience of LeJog having guided James Macdonald to the World Record for solo male return. He was also part of a team supporting a top ten solo male finisher in Ultra cycling event called the Race Across America.
“So I’m in very good hands and I’m confident I can go even faster this time and break the record. I’ve been working really hard, I know what to expect now after last year’s attempt and I will make sure I capitalise on invaluable experience and lessons I learned.
“Of course my brother Bruce will be on hand and a huge support as always and my team from Stirling Bike Club will also be with through the journey.
To support Christina on her 2020 record breaking attempt please email [email protected]