HE HAS cycled 2,700 miles, fixed 21 punctures and sweltered in heat of up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. But following a gruelling 22 days of training, rather than relax and put his feet up, James Ketchell is raring to start his next big challenge.
The adventure addict, from Riverdene, Basingstoke, completed his Coast to Coast mission on September 22, cycling from San Diego in California to St Augustine in the US.
The mammoth mission was simply preparation for his biggest challenge yet – an around-the-world triathlon in which he will climb Everest, row the Atlantic and cycle the world, all in 12 months.
James has already rowed the Atlantic and climbed Everest, but had little experience of cycling so he wanted to test his ability.
Speaking to The Gazette, the 30-year-old said: “One of the things that really hit me was the sheer size of the place. I was going hundreds of miles in New Mexico and I saw no one. No cars, nothing. If something goes wrong, there’s no one there to help.
“But the idea of the trip was preparation for my project next year. It highlighted a lot of issues. When you have been cycling for 50 miles and you look on a map and it says there’s a town where you can get water, you turn up and find it’s derelict. More in-depth research is needed for my around-the-world route.”
James said the hardest part was dealing with the heat, adding: “The first half was up and down and there was a lot of climbing up hills. At one point, I was passing through a dessert and it reached 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Trying to cycle is really difficult because it takes half your energy away from you being in that heat.”
James, above, also learned the importance of “living fast”. He explained: “When you are off the bike you are not moving forward and it’s very easy, because you are tired, to feel sorry for yourself and take half an hour to put your shoes on. But you can’t do that because you lose time.
“So living fast and doing things quickly and getting back on the bike is important. When I rowed the Atlantic and stopped, the boat moved forward whereas on a bike you don’t.”
James cycled between 60 and 155 miles a day, consuming around eight litres of water and 5,000 calories per day.
He told The Gazette he is now in a much better position to attempt his challenge next year, adding: “The first two parts of it aren’t big – I’ve done them before. But it’s throwing them all together and adding the around-the-world cycling into the mix is a game changer.”
James, who is now looking forward to climbing Mount Ama Dablam in Nepal in November to “sharpen my climbing”, said of his adventures: “It makes me feel alive”.
Any companies interested in sponsoring James can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org