My Week: James Cracknell

The Olympic gold medal-winning rower attempts to break a world record in cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats
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The Independent Online

Monday

It's dark and raining when I cycle out of Land's End with Rebecca Romero. We're trying to break the world record for riding the 874 miles to John O'Groats on a tandem.

Our target's 51 hours and we start off with confidence, but are under no illusions that we have a very long way to go. Tandems are hard to ride because every movement affects the other person. I'm not sure if it's duplicated, but I have absolute trust in Rebecca, which you need when you're going down hill at 50mph. By midnight we've gone past Warrington and we're on target, but Rebecca's knee has been hurting for a while.

Tuesday

We cycle through the night – the longest break we've had was about 20 minutes. It's long and tough but we're still on course after more than 500 miles and 28 hours. But Rebecca's knee is getting worse (not that she's showing it) and at about 9am the doctor radios to us to pull over. Rebecca wants to carry on but the doctor pulls her off the bike. We're devastated but Rebecca's an Olympic cyclist and it would have been stupid to jeopardise her career so I totally understand. She'll go back into full training so won't be able to have another crack at it, but I'd love to finish the ride. I suppose there's always Ben [Fogle].

Wednesday

I'm back with my wife, Beverley, and the kids down in Devon, where we've got a new place. Bev's got a piece about me in one of the papers today. It's always hard reading about yourself in the same way it's hard watching yourself on TV, and I've never had a problem with anything that's been written. But she said that when I went off to row the Atlantic with Ben I was "leaving her at home with a two-year-old I barely knew". That was hard to read.

Thursday

We do a bit of surfing with my son Croyde and daughter Kiki. We go rockpooling and play a bit of beach cricket. I like hitting the ball but I'm a lazy runner between the wickets. My parents come down and then there's the DIY. I was doing some writing the other day and we had some guys in doing some work and I felt quite unmanly. So today it's hanging some blinds: tomorrow a very tricky corner curtain rail. Failure isn't an option – bodging, on the other hand...

Friday

Some mates come down and Bev has some family visiting. It's a lovely day but sadly I also have to do some work. I'm doing something with Head & Shoulders where I give endurance tips for people who find it difficult to balance fitness with family and working life. I've been lucky to create an avenue where fitness is my working life but I know that when I was rowing it was very hard. So I'm putting together some advice. I'm pretty sure cycling Land's End to John O'Groats won't be on the list.

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