Sterry rides into the record books
A FATHER-OF-TWO has ridden himself into the record books as the first solo cyclist to ride the complete length of the South Downs Way from Eastbourne to Winchester three times.
Reigate-based Richard Sterry, 45, completed the record-breaking 300-mile triple in 37 hours 4 minutes.
With 34,700 feet of climbing – that's higher than Everest – he pedalled day and night negotiating 288 gates, consuming 33 energy gels, 23 litres of energy drink, energy bars, flapjacks, bananas, apples, cans of macaroni, spaghetti bolognese and ravioli to sustain him.
Sterry, who until five years ago had never ridden beyond 30 miles, is one of only 13 mountain bikers to have completed the South Downs Double in less than 24 hours.
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"I completed the double in 22 hours 55 minutes and a sub 36 hours was the overall target. I missed it by a handful of minutes but I am so thrilled to have just done the triple," Sterry said.
Sterry admitted the demands he placed on himself were immense as he stepped up his training to 20 hours a week under the guidance of the AQR [A Quick Release] coaching team.
"It's a solo ride and the risks are huge," he added. "I know riders will want to have a go at the triple challenge but as a word of caution – it is really dangerous.
"If I had not had the medical support I would not have done it. If I had gone ahead without that back-up, I could have put myself in a very dangerous position and done serious damage to myself."
With just one puncture on his Scott Scale 29er – bought from Petra Cycles at Oxted – which he picked up in the first mile, Sterry admits he had moments of "torture" the worst 60 miles from the end when he felt "wobbly" on the bike, his body temperature dropped, he started shivering and feared it was all over.
"My body was collapsing," he admitted. The experts covered him with space blankets, provided hot tea and cakes, and monitored his blood sugar levels before allowing him back.
"If it had not been for them I may never have made it. I was determined to finish so when I saw my son Dan and he rode the last mile with me, that was really special."