Scottish cyclist sets Guinness World Record & Road Records Association as the fastest female to travel from Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) by bicycle
Many of us who might decide to attempt Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) would normally complete it over the course of 5 days to a week.
We'd break each day up with some quaint and idyllic accommodation on route which would include homemade food, a hot shower and warm bed every night before taking on the next day of miles in the saddle.
Not Christina Mackenzie. She completed the 839 miles of LEJOG in 51 hours, five minutes and 27 seconds breaking the previous record by nearly two hours.
And why not? She is living her best life by focussing on a challenge that not only tested her during the actual attempt, but also each day she trained for the massive undertaking. Christina’s sheer determination, focus and passion to work hard every day (in Scottish weather!), demands respect and admiration.
TOTAL DISTANCE: 839 MILES | TOTAL CLIMBING: 10,000m / 33,976ft
PREVIOUS RECORD: 52HR 45MIN 11SEC
NEW RECORD TIME: 51HR 5MIN 27SEC
Pactimo is delighted to be support Christina’s custom clothing needs for her 2021 record-setting ride, and met with her before the attempt to learn more about her passion for the sport and drive to set the LEJOG world record.
TELL US WHO YOU ARE.
I am a 43-year-old female with a passion for long distance cycling and likes a challenge. I'm from Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides and live in Stirling, Scotland.
AND YOUR OCCUPATION?
Swimming Development Officer for Falkirk Community Trust.
HOW LONG YOU HAVE BEEN CYCLING?
I bought my first road bike in 2012 to participate in triathlon, I have been focussing on cycling as a solo discipline since 2018.
WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED CYCLING DISCIPLINE?
Time Trial - Long distance.
TELL US ABOUT SOME OF YOUR OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS.
I am the current GB 12hr TT National Championship, past SVTTA 12 & 24hr TT record holder. Winner in 2014 & 2016 of The Race Donegal, a 24hour multisport event. 6 times Ironman finisher and top 10 female finisher in the Celtman extreme triathlon.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ON THE BIKE?
So many different aspects, the freedom, the competition, the company, the places it takes you and overall keeping fit.
WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE WORLD YOU HAVE RIDDEN YOUR BIKE?
Bermuda, in 2013 at the International Island Games representing the Western Isles competing in triathlon and time trial. We achieved Team Gold in the Triathlon, Bronze in the Time Trial and Silver in the Half Marathon. Bermuda is stunning, just like you imagine with beautiful beaches and fabulous weather, it did take some time to acclimatise, it wasn't a hardship though.
YOU ATTEMPTED LEJOG IN 2019, WHY AGAIN?
Good question as I thought after the attempt, I never wanted to do that again. Shortly after, I was approached from a former Scottish Cycling national champion offering to coach me to do it again. After discussions with the team, we decided with the experience we gained from 2019 and under Gary's coaching it would be a great opportunity to make the most of it.
WHAT WAS YOUR TIME IN 2019?
My time was 55hours 17mins.
HOW MANY MINUTES OF SLEEP DID YOU GET?
25minutes of sleep, that was about the halfway point at the top of Shap, Penrith.
HOW MANY CALORIES DID YOU BURN? HOW MANY DID YOU CONSUME?
I burned 30,000 calories, due to a digestive issue I did not consume as many as I should have.
HOW MANY WATER BOTTLE REFILLS DID YOU HAVE?
I had a botte refill every hour, the team had a busy time doing the refills as they were so frequent as needed.
HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU CHANGE YOUR CLOTHING?
Three times, through the night and for the following day. It got down to 5 degrees at night on the A9 cycling up to Drumochter. The Pactimo Summit Stratos Bib Shorts were definitely the best shorts I have worn, both for training and during the attempt. The shorts felt like a second skin and have so much comfort after hours on the bike.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR YOU DURING YOUR ATTEMPT IN 2019?
Nutrition and facilities. I had an issue with acid reflux that stopped me being able to digest the food and consume the amount and frequency of calories I needed. A big challenge for the team was finding services that I could use, we had some of these planned but due to unforeseen circumstances some were closed or inaccessible at the time we needed them.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO RECOVER?
It took a week before I wanted to sit on a bike again, I raced in the National TTT 3 weeks later, by then I felt I was close to full recovery.
WHAT IS YOUR DATE THIS YEAR FOR THE CHALLENGE ATTEMPT?
The earliest possible start date is 25th July, we have a 2 week weather window opportunity, we'll be hoping for a favourable south westerly wind.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY IN 2021 IN YOUR ATTEMPT TO THE 2019 ONE?
We have added a motor home to our support, this will save time stopping at services and looking for facilities to use. I have also changed my nutrition, so hopefully will avoid any digestion issues this time. My training has been different from 2019, with a variation including core and strength training.
WITH 2 YEARS SINCE THE ATTEMPT IN 2019, WHAT HAS CHANGED IN TERMS OF YOUR TRAINING?
I have a new coach that has included a variety of training from Vo2 and threshold training which I would not have done in the past. I have also included a gym session to help strengthen my core and key muscle groups.
WHAT DO YOU USE FOR YOUR PACING?
Time is the goal, so I will follow a schedule that is based on average speed, I will also be closely monitoring my heart rate and power to ensure the consistency throughout.
WHAT IS THE LONGEST TRAINING SESSION YOU HAVE COMPLETED TO DATE?
I have a training weekend coming up with 3 x 200 miles, this will help me build up fatigue over the long distance and still have enough time to recover so I can continue the training build.
WHAT ROLE DOES YOUR SUPPORT TEAM PLAY?
We have a support team of 6 who all play a crucial part of the team, from organising, planning, mechanics and social media prior to the attempt. Then on the attempt itself they all support assisting with feeds, navigation, traffic management, social media and moral support. It really is a team effort, as the rider I could not do this without the support of the team, they are all friends so having the trust and confidence in them is so important to me.
ARE YOU DOING THIS TO HELP SUPPORT A CHARITY?
Alzheimer's Scotland Western Isles, my mum was diagnosed with vascular dementia and the charity in Stornoway were so helpful offering support and guidance, they really do an amazing job so it's nice to be able to give something back to them and so they can help others in the same situation.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO MOST WHEN YOU FINISH?
Pizza and a glass of bubbly.
WHAT’S THE NEXT CHALLENGE AFTER THIS ONE?
There are some other RRA/GWRs I would like to attempt, watch this space.