Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Cyclist fails to complete epic ride

Chris Hopkinson was hoping to set a new record for the quickest 1,700-mile race from Land's End to John O'Groats and back again (Martin Cox PR/PA)

A cyclist has been forced to abandon an attempt to set a new record for the quickest 1,700-mile journey from Land's End to John O'Groats and back again owing to severe weather and other difficulties.

Chris "Hoppo" Hopkinson had hoped to better the current time for the so-called "Lejogle" of five days, 21 hours and eight minutes, set in 2010.

But strong winds and exceptionally cold temperatures sabotaged his plans. He also suffered temporary loss of sight in one eye, the breakdown of a support car, stomach problems and other difficulties.

The 45-year-old music teacher from Richmond, North Yorkshire, cycled just over 850 miles to John O'Groats, from Land's End in three and half days compared to the normal 10 to 14 days for an accomplished cyclist.

He had originally expected to arrive back at Land's End on Sunday but called the record-breaking attempt off on Friday night at John O'Groats.

Mr Hopkinson, a father-of-two, was using the record attempt to raise awareness of the Royal Signals Benevolent Fund.

After preparing for more than a year, the rider, who took up cycling as a way of commuting to work, was hopeful the gruelling challenge will aid his attempt to complete this summer's epic west-to-east Race Across America (RAAM).

Mr Hopkinson said: "Obviously the support teams and I are all disappointed to have missed this target but we can now focus on the race across America in June.

"We feel that as a team we can all put in a solid performance to reach our ultimate goal of a second RAAM finish and to reclaim the British record."

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