You can now pre-order your copy of my new book Just For The Record: A Story About Going The Distance…
All the profits from my book sales will directly support The Garai Makaya Foundation & Documentary Film Project and a signed copy of the book will be sent to you as soon as it is published. I will keep you updated on the exact publication and delivery dates as the publication process progresses.
Please complete your pre-order on this link. I really appreciate your support. Thank you!
The new book is being adapted and edited from a journal I’ve been writing over the past decade and it will share everything I have learned and experienced in those 10 years of ultra-endurance cycling on an ElliptiGO bike. Although I use an ElliptiGO bike, the skills of long riding are the same, whichever bike you choose to ride. So this book will be insightful for everyone who cycles on any type of bike.
During the time that I’ve been writing my journal I’ve completed more than 120 century rides (that’s rides of 100-miles distance or longer), I’ve ‘Everested‘ (that’s riding the height of Mt Everest in a single ride, up and down a single hill), I’ve broken a world record for riding unsupported across Britain (850-miles from Land’s End to John o’Groats) and I’ve completed numerous other multi-day world record rides (up to and including my 1,720-mile ride twice across Britain, from Land’s End to John o’Groats and back again, to set a new world record). And I was the Guest of Honour & Keynote Speaker at the British Long-Distance Cycling Association (Audax UK) annual general meeting.
My book will give insights into the epic long-distance cycling adventures I’ve had and will show how ultra-endurance training has taught me who I really am (not who I think I am – but who I really am). Ultra-endurance riding has taught me to identify that fine hazy line which lies between quitting and failing and it has also helped me to cope with bereavement. My book will share the mental strategies I’ve learned through testing my true limits and will show how learning these strategies has improved every other aspect of my life.
The book will also show how I’ve managed to reach incredible levels of fitness without necessarily dedicating incredible amounts of time towards my training. The training approaches I use have now been shared with many others (through my work as a fitness coach and mentor) and they have helped those individuals to achieve very similar performance levels to my own. I’m confident you’ll love my new book and will find it both entertaining and informative!
By ordering this book even before it’s been published you’ll be supporting The Garai Makaya Foundation – a new charitable organisation I’m setting up to continue my late brother Garai’s fundraising work in Botswana. And finally, to peak your interest while you await your signed copy of the book, I’ve shared the prologue (below)…
This book is dedicated to Garai Makaya. A completely unique individual. A man who blazed a trail through the sky and brought light into the lives of so many. He was my friend, he was the best man at my wedding, and he was also my younger brother. He lived his life passionately - having the courage to always be true to himself, true to others, and true to his calling. I will never ever forget him…
I opened my eyes and noticed that I was lying semi-naked on the bathroom floor. I could also see that my wife Ivy was standing outside the bathroom and staring at me in apparent horror, while she continued to speak to someone on the phone. I’d actually wondered at that moment what I could have possibly done to cause her to look so alarmed (or possibly annoyed – because I couldn’t quite figure out what the expression on her face had signified). And then it had suddenly occurred to me that there’s nothing normal about lying half naked on the bathroom floor, as relaxed as I may have felt at the time.
My mind had quickly pieced everything back together at that point. I must have fallen in the bathroom. Ivy probably wasn’t annoyed – she was probably scared – or shocked. And whomever she was speaking to on the phone was probably someone from the emergency services. I could hear some of the things she was saying to the person – obviously still answering medical questions and using phrases like “Non-responsive”.
It had sounded (from what I was hearing from the bathroom floor) like I’d been unconscious for between three and five minutes, at that point. Being fully alert now, I’d immediately pulled up my trousers and zipped up, then thought more about what might have happened.
I’d slowly sat myself up – and as I did so I’d noticed a huge dent in the side of the bathtub (which my head had obviously made) and I was instantly appreciative of the use of softer plastic paneling on the side of our bathtub. Had the bathtub been more solid (like I sometimes wished it had been) I may still have been lying unconscious on the floor – and I might have really been dead!
Thankfully, I was still alive (and feeling slightly sheepish) as I’d made myself comfortable on the bathroom floor. I’d asked Ivy if I’d collapsed and she had silently nodded in confirmation – still apparently shocked that I was actually speaking normally (and, I assume, wondering what state of health I was in at this point).
I had later discovered that immediately after I’d collapsed my 8 year old daughter and 7 year old son had both run in and desperately tried to revive me – tapping on my cheeks, trying chest compressions and trying to speak into my ears at the same time. They had shown a determined focus – and had not panicked, although obviously terrified. The children had no first aid training, so they were basically trying stuff they’d probably seen on TV and hoping it would somehow work to save their Dad’s life.
My wife was not sure if I was dead or alive, so she had ushered the children out and asked them to wait downstairs in the living room, while she had called the emergency services. And when she was still speaking to them I’d suddenly opened my eyes and looked towards her, still lying on the floor.
For a bit more background, this incident had taken place in August 2013, not long after I had completed a cycling event almost 900-miles long, riding my ElliptiGO ‘stand-up bike’ across a period of 116 hours and 25 minutes to complete the flagship British Long-Distance Cycling event London Edinburgh London.
I had beaten the cut-off time for the event by just 15 minutes, following a series of challenges and unfortunate incidents along the way. And I had ridden the final 43 hours of the event without stopping, not even to sleep, in order to cross the finish line with those 15 minutes spare. It had been one tough ride – my toughest ride ever at that point in my life.
You have probably guessed that I am a long-distance cyclist. I use an exercise bike (without a saddle) to complete all my long-distance cycling challenges. It is called an ElliptiGO – or an ‘Elliptical Bike’. And I love riding long distances. I’m really quite passionate and somewhat ‘evangelical’ about it. But could too much of a good thing be bad for me?
How on earth did I end up lying nearly naked on the bathroom floor?
How could I do this to my own family? To myself even?
And, just as importantly, where would I go from there? How would I come back from this and continue with my ‘sport’?
Those thoughts had flashed through my mind in those moments immediately after I awoke on the bathroom floor. I had asked if it was okay for me to try and stand up and Ivy had asked the man on the phone and then nodded to indicate his approval. So I got myself up carefully and wondered how I’d feel.
Strangely, I’d felt great! I felt like a new man! I had been feeling terrible just before the ‘fainting incident’? Tired, sleepy and exhausted. But after five minutes’ lying on the bathroom floor I was totally rejuvenated. I honestly had felt perfect at that moment – which had surprised even myself.
The truth is, looking back now, I realise that was a moment of rebirth – a key turning point for me. I was a ‘new man’ when I rose off that bathroom floor, firmly on a new journey – although I didn’t realise it at the time. But there were still so many questions that had needed asking at the time. I think the best thing to do at this point is to explain how I started out on this journey that I’ve been on – a journey which also took me to that place, on the bathroom floor – and also to explain where I went after I got up from that bathroom floor.
Luckily, I have been keeping a detailed diary, which I can refer back to for the information and facts. And that’s where this book stems from. It is basically my diary. It tells the story of my journey into long-distance cycling, a journey which I have discovered was not too different from my life in general. By learning the mind control skills required to cycle really long distances I was learning to get myself through the journey of life. These were skills which would become very useful to me in the years which had followed that bathroom incident…
You can read the rest of the book when you receive your signed copy & if you’d like to make a direct donation (of any amount) to support The Garai Makaya Foundation & Documentary Film Project please use my fundraising event page. Thank you!