We all remember last year when Christina Mackenzie broke the LEJOG women’s record.
She's at it again this year!
No not LEJOG, this time the North Coast 500.
For those of you who don’t know, the North Coast 500 (NC500) is a 516 mile route around the north coast of Scotland, which starts and ends at Inverness Castle.
Unequivocally one of the most scenic routes to ride your bike but perhaps at a slightly more leisurely pace to what Christina will plan to accomplish in mid May as she challenges the Guinness World Record of 35hrs covering 10,000m (32,808.4ft for those who like to work in ft) elevation over those 500 odd miles. I know. Isn’t for the faint hearted. Combined with the unpredictable Scottish weather the challenge will have its fair share of uncertainty.
We caught up with Christina to chat through her thoughts and also to give you a little more insight behind this incredible woman:
Why this record?
This record is “local” to us and it’s another iconic course that generates so much interest due to the challenging circuit and beautiful landscape.
What is going to be your biggest ‘enemy’ for this challenge?
The hills will be the biggest enemy for this challenge, along with unpredictable Scottish weather which can be everchanging and will pose a huge challenge if it becomes unpredictable.
Describe how or if your training has changed for this challenge. What is a typical training week for you?
I am averaging 20 hours a week training, this is varied and includes gym work along with big rides which include lots of hills. The training for this is similar to my previous challenge, building on my current fitness and more specific.
Having achieved and endured so far…what have you learnt that you’d do differently for this challenge?
Less faffing, there is no time to lose therefore each stop will need to be as scheduled without going over any allocated time. Every second counts, especially when not moving.
Who do you admire most in life?
Why? My parents, they had their own challenges in life and dealt with everything in a manner that I can only hope to replicate. Looking back now I have so much admiration for what they achieved through commitment and determination.
The Scottish weather can throw everything at you, how do you cope with this?
The only way to cope is training in the extreme weathers, unless there is snow or ice on the roads that’s where you’ll find me. In this weather the mental battle begins, firstly making yourself go out in it then secondly, keeping your head in the wind, rain and cold when you just want to go back home to the warm.
How do you go about preparing mentally for this and previous challenges? My coach sets me training to prepare me physically and mentally, in the build up to any events he includes some tough back-to-back days where my body is fatigued. Mentally that is also tough when you are tired and sore but need to keep preserving, more so over these winter months when the weather is also a challenge.
With your focus firmly fixed for your challenge, what do you miss that gets sacrificed during these preparation stages?
In preparing and training for these challenges, I need to commit 100% therefore, it means completing all the training that is set out for me and to get myself in the best possible shape means my diet and recovery also need to be finely tuned. This means no alcohol, eating good food and getting enough sleep. To compensate for this, I ensure spending time with friends and family, otherwise it can be a lonely training phase.
Are you planning to raise money like before? If so, who for? Why this cause?
Yes, I am raising Money for Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland. They provided support to me, helping me understand the grief I was experiencing through the loss of my parents and loved ones. The support I received from Cruse helped me manage my grief from day to day, giving me the reassurance and confidence to accept, allow and adjust to life again. Below is a link to the justgiving page I have set up: Christina Mackenzie is fundraising for Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland (justgiving.com)
Who are your main sponsors for this event?
I am fortunate that Williamsons Foodservice and D Mackays & Sons have kindly offered to support me again on this event. Williamsons are a family company based in Inverness, my mother worked in their Stornoway branch for 20+ years. Mackay is also a family company, based in Stornoway and are all keen cyclists themselves.
GEAR SPEAK…WHAT IS YOUR:
Bike: Liv Avow Advance Pro 2
Shoes: Shimano RC7
Helmet: Endura Drag2Zero Aeroswitch Tri Helmet
Clothing: Pactimo throughout - Women’s Rally Flyte Suit, Women’s Summit Stratos 12 hour Bib Shorts, Women’s Summit Aero SS Jersey, Women’s Alpine Jacket, Women’s Divide Wind Vest, Women’s Thermal Tight. All these items keep me comfortable in each weather environment and is a great fit with style.
Fuel: Mountain Fuel products and cheese & ham wraps.
Fave food: Pizza
Fave drink: Prosecco
A place you’d like to visit most: Florida
Waltz or Argentine Tango? Neither, I have no co-ordination and can’t dance!
Fave place you’ve ridden your bike: Majorca, Sa Calobra
Anton de Beke or Giovanni? Neither, I’m more Gino D'Acampo as passion for food more than dance.
What one piece of music would you keep on repeat? Rod Stewart - Guilty Pleasure.
At Pactimo we are super excited to be working and supporting Christina for this challenge! It’s just so fantastic to get opportunities to work with amazing individuals, like Christina, who juggle life, work and training to push themselves to achieve fabulous moments not only in their life but also those who share it. See you at the start line Christina!