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Cycling an entire lap of Iceland in one ride

Endurance athlete Jake Catterall recently took on the challenge of a 1,300km ride around Iceland. Photos: Thomas Jullien

Will Strickson
8 Jul 2021

Jake Catterall is no stranger to endurance events, his Instagram bio proudly lists some of his achievements including a 200km run, two Ironman events and a 5K time that would rival Tom Pidcock. But even for a man of his experience, some challenges are daunting.

Catterall decided – of his own free will – to ride an entire lap of Iceland in one go, over 1,300km without stopping.

Hats off, though, because he did it. Pushing through the island's less than ideal weather conditions he ploughed on to complete the ride in 63 hours: that's over two and a half days.

The total distance according to his Strava came to 1,339km, with 9,557m of elevation, an average speed of 25.3kmh and over 25,000 calories burned.


Obviously it was never going to be easy, but from his account, it didn't seem like Catterall had luck in his favour.

Within six hours of the 19:00 start he was falling asleep on the bike. He was riding in a strong headwind going into mountains for the first 300km. The temperature dipped below 3°C and he got caught in a storm that brought strong rain and side winds. He lost vision in his left eye for around 100km.

'I'm a big believer in mental strength and I'm stoic at heart, so I started to deploy all of my learning from the year of training I did,' Catterall says.

'One way I got out of this dip was to find a mantra that would fuel me with energy. I was in agony and asking myself a lot of questions and kept coming back to the same statement: "Dude, you just have to break through this part, and you'll be fine."

'Break through was the mantra I needed. I started to repeat it over and over again, I said it 10,000 times, every other pedal stroke.'

He had the whole thing filmed too so if you want to check out more of his journey, head to his Instagram page: jakecatterall.

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