Jack ‘The Ultracyclist’ geared up for 1,067km Munda Biddi record dream  

LogoLogoNAT

One man, one bike, and one record attempt to cover 1,067km in two days unsupported with no sleep.

That man is Jack ‘The Ultracyclist’ Thompson who is set to undertake that challenge on the iconic Munda Biddi Trail in Western Australia departing on November 24.

While most people take between a week and 10 days to complete the longest continuous bike trail in the world that links Perth and Albany, Jack is hoping to break the current Fastest Known Time Record of two days, 17 hours and 22 minutes held by fellow Perth rider Craig Wiggins.

Munda Biddi Dreaming is the name of the project and the concept behind that, my dream was to come back to Australia and break a record and we are going to instil that notion of a dream on the children (we visit after the ride) but it’s also the Aboriginal link to the dreaming, because I'll be riding on Indigenous land,” Jack said.

Jack, who grew up in Perth and is now based in Spain, has made a name for himself pushing the boundaries of the body and mind conquering ultra-endurance cycling challenges, including the 7-day Guinness World Record, covering 3,505km.

“I was cycling and racing - I grew up with a dad who was a keen cyclist. It got to the point where he decided he had enough money to retire and he set himself a goal of cycling around the world. We grew up with a dad who was off doing adventures and I guess that paired with, I’ve got an obsessive personality disorder, but that sort of fed the beast,” Jack said.

“I just started doing longer and longer rides and they really kept my own mental health in check, and it sort of just evolved from there. Now its work and a career.”

At the top of his many achievements is climbing 1 million metres of elevation in one year, which involved ‘Everesting’ 52 different climbs.

Everesting is one of the hardest cycling feats where a rider will choose a hill and in one single activity repeat climbing it until they have reached the elevation gain of Mount Everest – 8848m.

That challenge also saw him raise $500,000 for three mental health charities, a cause he said has a strong focus on as an athlete, having been diagnosed with clinical depression at age 13, and overcoming a drug addiction.

Following his Munda Biddi record attempt, Jack will head back north towards Perth and visit schools along the trail, speaking to roughly 5,000 primary and secondary students about mental health and the power of cycling.

map
Jack will head south from the start of the Munda Biddi Trail at Mundaring. Image: Munda Biddi Trail Foundation

“Oqea a mental health start-up app has come on board as naming rights sponsor, their tagline is “connected wellbeing” that fits really nicely with this story, connecting a rider with the community and providing a mental health workshop to children in the southwest,” Jack said.

“Using my experience over the last couple of years, the ups and downs with depression, and just not being in a good head space myself I thought I’d share some of the wisdom and tips and tricks I’ve learnt over time, and give back to the kids in the hope I can inspire them, help to get them riding bikes, and help to get them enjoying the trail that exists on their doorstep.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to try and showcase what’s possible on a bike, and inspire kids to set their own little goals, whether it’s the Munda Biddi or riding to the beach, just doing something on the bike.”

map
The trail ends in Albany. Image: Munda Biddi Trail Foundation

Goalsetting or having a dream and achieving it is one of the mental health tips Jack will share the students. It’s something he says has helped him through his life.

“For me having the goal or having something I’m working towards, is one of the most important things for keeping me on track, because it gives me something I’m working towards,” he said.

“I struggle when I’ve got nothing because I sort of feel like I’m floating around a little bit. I know it’s not always healthy to have a crazy goal, but I even have small goals, like in the morning I’ll do my stretching before I have my breakfast.”

It’s this mentality too that helps him get through when the going gets tough on the bike.

“There’s times I’m like ‘why am I doing this’, sometimes I have an answer, sometimes I don’t.

"It comes down to those little goals, I break it down into little manageable chunks,” Jack said.

Ahead of his upcoming record attempt, being in the right headspace and training your brain was just as important as physical preparedness, Jack said.

“What I find is a lot of it is physical but a lot of it is also mental, and just actually feeling like you are mentally prepared gives you a lot of confidence,” he said.

“I’ll do a couple of weeks where I do some really big rides, and it’s not to find the fitness just to convince I’m in a good headspace for this, and I’m ready for this.”

One thing he can’t train for though is no sleep. He will be attempting to ride without sleeping in order to break the record, but Jack says there will be plenty of time for rest once the ride is complete.

“This one I’m going to try and do no sleep, two and a half days roughly. You have to manage your effort – if you go out really hard, it gets to night time, and you think I’d like love to have a few hours sleep.

“But I figure it's two days, two nights, I won’t sleep. My season is over after this, so I can sleep for as long as I want after this.”

With no need for sleeping equipment, Jack will instead fill frame bags attached to his bike with food. And he will need a lot of it to fuel for the long journey. He plans to eat every 30 minutes and with some stretches of between 200-300km without anywhere to resupply, having enough food on him is essential to achieving the record.

“If it was 24 hours I’d do mostly gels and bars, but for something a bit longer you want something more that will satiate you, so i'll take things like cheese, Vegemite rolls, with lots of lots of butter, you need that fat.”

While there is water along the trail, located at huts, as a backup he will also carry a LifeStraw so he will be able to safely drink water from streams if necessary.

He will also carry a GPS in case of an emergency situation.

“I’m nervous but I’m also really excited to see to ride a trail that basically exists on my doorstep,” Jack said.

pic

ABOUT THE BIKE:

  • Specialized Diverge STR – with front and rear suspension
  • 47mm tyres – tubeless
  • Frame bag, top tube bag, rear rack system
  • Dynamo hub front wheel – the hub converts power to electricity that can then be used to charge lights, phone, bike computer.

Photos: @inglorious_arnav

AusBike Square Ad

Stay up to date

Our free newsletters provide the latest cycling news and events direct to your inbox

Subscribe Now!
AusBike ad
Major Partners
ShimanoGWMSantiniARA Group