A WEEK of cycling 20 hours a day awaits an Emsworth cyclist set to cover more than 1,000 miles.
Simon Hayward, 45, is embarking on the Trans Alba Race on Monday, a self-supported cycle around Scotland spanning 1,065 miles with 57,500 feet of climbing.
Riders are responsible for all their navigation and logistics while remaining completely self-reliant throughout the event.
Simon said: ‘These races are really unpredictable because you don’t know what’s going to happen and how your body is going to react.
‘I'll be carrying everything I'll need for at least five days of riding in fairly remote North West Scotland on the bike. Food, water, tools, clothing for all possible weather conditions and sleeping equipment.’
Competitors are able to use any assistance that would be available to everyone else, so Simon said he could use bed and breakfasts but they can be time-consuming to check in and out of so sleeping by the roadside tends to be more beneficial.
Simon said: ‘The challenge of ultra distance cycle racing is in the constant need to keep moving forward.
‘Easy to begin with but after 300 miles when everything, especially backside, feet and hands, starts to hurt the battle becomes more mental than physical.’
Hoping to cover more than 200 miles each day, Army reservist Simon will have to pace himself while living on a diet of petrol station foods.
Simon, who is currently serving with 295 Battery, Royal Artillery based in Hilsea, said: ‘Since finishing a full career in the British Army and joining the Army Reserve my cycling has been supported by work. On occasions I'm even paid to ride my bicycle!
‘It's unlikely that I'll win the race, there are some international class endurance riders taking part. But I'm looking forward to the challenge despite knowing it'll become incredibly tough before I finish.’
For those wishing to keep up with the challenge as it happens, Simon’s progress can be tracked on the official website throughout the race at www.transalbarace.com