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Here's what it takes to ride 2,179.66 miles in one week

Emma Cole
22 Sep 2021

Josh Quigley sets a Guinness World Record and looks to a future in road racing

Scottish endurance cyclist Josh Quigley set a new Guinness World Record on Monday for the greatest distance cycled in seven days.

Quigley, who is 29 and from Livingston, clocked up 2,179.66 miles (3,508km) and broke the previous record held by Australian pro cyclist Jack Thompson by two miles.

He began his epic feat on Monday 13th September and finished at 4am seven days later, having cycled an extraordinay average of 311.38 miles a day on a 65-mile route between Aberdeen and the Cairngorms.

Quigley is no stranger to epic endurance challenges, having set the fastest time for cycling the North Coast 500 route last September, but says this record was particularly special.

‘I think this one is more special than anything else I have done because of the nature of the challenge.

‘Everyone knows what it is like to ride a bike and what a big day is like, but to do the most miles in one week is pretty heavy. It feels like a pretty cool thing to have.’

Quigley is the youngest and first Scottish person to hold the record.

The attempt: bacon cravings and party atmosphere

Guinness World Record rules dictated Quigley had to ride a UCI road-legal bike and he completed his attempt on a Pinarello Paris with tubeless tyres, which was serviced each night by his mobile mechanic.

He was supported by a team of 10 who worked in four hour shifts to keep him going, namely to manage his various cravings which ranged from bacon rolls to cake, sweets and Lucozade.

‘I was just shouting out random things to them that I wanted and one of the major challenges for the team was to manage this. I would get different cravings every day and they were amazing at dealing with that.’

For the most part, Quigley’s record attempt suffered minimal hiccups, with no mechanical problems and the Scottish weather holding up save for one night of heavy rain.

His record was also aided by the crowds of supporters who cheered him on as he rode through villages.

‘All the people in the local area who were out supporting me were just incredible and I cannot thank them enough.

‘It could have been soul-destroying riding up and down the same route for 18-20 hours every day but all the supporters along the route made it so special.

‘There were people in fancy dress, music, horns blaring, it was like the Tour de France with a real party atmosphere.’

Despite everything going quite well, there was a major test for Quigley in the form of sleep deprivation.

‘Sleep was the biggest challenge of the whole thing.

‘Doing 250-300 miles isn’t a big challenge as I am obviously really fit at the moment but doing it day in and day out, back-to-back, when you are completely sleep deprived was a whole other level.

‘On the third day and towards the weekend I could really feel it and had a few 20 minute power naps in the back of the van when I needed it.

‘In the last two days I rode for 38 hours without sleep so since finishing everything has been a bit of a blur.’

In January this year Quigley had a serious accident whilst training in Dubai, and sustained a broken collarbone, arm, shoulder and seven broken ribs.

During his recovery he wanted to find a local challenge to aim for and help him get back in the saddle.

Having followed previous seven day world record attempts, Quigley felt it was the perfect challenge but his first attempt in April was thwarted by a knee injury.

The conditions for his September record allowed him to put the struggles behind him and get his name in the record books.

Looking to the future, and the Tour de France

Following his epic achievement, which Quigley says is ‘the kind of thing you only do once but I would probably do again’, the endurance cyclist has his sights set on road racing.

‘I want to transition to road racing and get to the Tour de France.

‘I’d love to ride for Ineos Grenadiers as they are a British team, I’ve done some work with them and reckon I would be a natural fit.

‘My goal now is to train and get signed in 2022.’

Quigley is a talented and determined cyclist, whose grit and endurance has landed him in the history books several times, so who knows what he could achieve on the road.

We look forward to finding out.

Image credits: Thomas Haywood 

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