Olympic individual pursuit champion Rebecca Romero and double gold winning rower James Cracknell are to make an attempt on the Land's End to John O'Groats mixed tandem record on August 3, 2009.
Romero and Cracknell hope that beating the current End-to-End record of two days, three hours, 19 minutes and 23 seconds – set by Andy Wilkinson and Lynne Taylor in 2000 – will encourage teams and solo riders to sign up to ride over 900 miles in nine days next June.
Cracknell, who since retiring from elite rowing has rowed across the Atlantic and trekked to the South Pole with British TV presenter Ben Fogle and completed numerous long-distance cycling events, readily admits that the Deloitte Ride Across Britain – organised by his own company Threshold Sports – is inspired by the 3000-mile Race Across America (RAAM).
"I was seriously considering entering the RAAM," Cracknell told BikeRadar, "For a number of reasons it didn't happen, but then I got to thinking that it'd be spectacular to have a similar event in Britain."
Cracknell hopes that the first Ride Across Britain will attract around 500 riders. It will consist of nine stages averaging around 110 miles and, rather than taking the most direct route from John O'Groats to Land's End – the opposite direction to Cracknell and Romero's ride – has been mapped specifically to take entrants through some of Britain's most scenic areas.
Cracknell says that he wants the event to appeal to a large number of cyclists. "We want general sports fans and cyclists of different abilities to take part," he said. "Whether you're a regular rider or a just a ‘Sunday cyclist' the supportive nature of the event and opportunity to participate in teams means that it's very accessible."
At the end of each stage – which will include two pit stops for refuelling and relay changes – riders will stay in base camps. Cracknell hopes that these ‘tented villages' will add to atmosphere as well as providing food and accommodation they will also allow competitors to get to know each other and catch up with friends and family.
To find out more about the Deloitte Ride Across Britain event visit www.rideacrossbritain.com.