rid­ing to the top

Ther was no de­bate who should re­ceive our Out­stand­ing Achieve­ment award so in­spi­ra­tional was Michael Broad­with’s record-break­ing ride

Cycling Weekly - - CW AWARDS -

The fact Michael Broad­with is only the third man to set a new men’s bi­cy­cle mark for Land’s End to John o’ Groats in 35 years tells you most of what you need to know about how dif­fi­cult it is to do. Then fac­tor in that Broad­with, a maths teacher from Hert­ford­shire, is an am­a­teur rider. With no multi-mil­lion pound team set-up to ab­sorb the fi­nan­cial stresses and deal with the lo­gis­tics, it was all down to Broad­with and his sup­port team of fam­ily, friends, and friends of friends.

So chal­leng­ing and oner­ous is the plan­ning stage, not to men­tion the tense wait for a weather win­dow, that ac­tu­ally start­ing the ride at Land’s End comes as a blessed relief. And yet to break that record, every rider knows that they will en­dure dark nights of the soul along the way.

In Broad­with’s case, it was more a dark night of Sher­mer’s neck — the af­flic­tion he suf­fered dur­ing the lat­ter stages which saw him ride much of the fi­nal

200 miles with his head propped up on his hand. And this was af­ter suf­fer­ing hours of tor­ren­tial rain and cold that, with the neck prob­lem, laid his morale so low his wife had to talk him back on to the bike af­ter he stopped. Through­out his cy­cling ca­reer, Broad­with has shown him­self to be an in­cred­i­bly ver­sa­tile rider — a man who sim­ply loves to ride his bike, as well as en­joy­ing a suc­cess­ful ca­reer and be­ing a ded­i­cated fam­ily guy.

Sec­ond ca­reer

Fol­low­ing mod­er­ate suc­cess in his early twen­ties when he was sixth in the Na­tional 10 and on the Bbar-win­ning Arc­tic-shorter Rochford team in 2006, he took a break from se­ri­ous cy­cling to go trav­el­ling and to have a fam­ily. It wasn’t un­til 2013 that he be­gan what he calls his “sec­ond ca­reer”, which has seen him con­cen­trate on fewer events with fam­ily in mind.

But what his rac­ing cal­en­dar lacks in quan­tity it more than makes up for in terms of hard­ship en­dured and miles rid­den. He has made the Na­tional 24-hour his own, hav­ing won it three times since 2015 and still tak­ing bronze this year, only a month af­ter rolling wide-eyed into John o’ Groats at four in the morn­ing with a time of 43:25.13, hav­ing taken more than 30 min­utes off the record.

He calls LEJOG the “jewel in the crown”, and any­one who rides, or is in­ter­ested in longdis­tance time tri­als would surely agree. That jewel now be­longs to Broad­with — an out­stand­ing achieve­ment in­deed.

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