Over the past few months, I have gradually ramped up my training. Early starts and late nights have been spent sweating in the dark, in my “pain cave”. Indoor training has its merits, and the virtual world of Zwift is often far more appealing than the muddy, wet, wintery real world. In March, a trip to the volcanic slopes of Tenerife added some variety. More recently, the arrival of spring has meant that I’ve been able to venture outside more often.

But training for training’s sake is not hugely inspiring. It’s quite detached from the final goal, too. So I asked myself, “What’s the best way to train for breaking a world record?”

The answer was simple: “Try and break another world record.”

Therefore, on Saturday morning, I depart the Netherlands, beginning a curious record attempt. The record I’m trying to break is for the most number of countries cycled through in seven days. It currently stands at 14, but I know that the unverified record is 15. And this is what I’m trying to break.

My route begins in the Netherlands and my final destination is Macedonia, some 2,250km away. If I make it, I will pass through 17 countries. You can follow my progress via live tracker (starting on Saturday).

Trying to break the record is just a bit of (very painful) fun. But it ought to be excellent training and preparation for what will be required for me to break the length of Europe record in May. More info about that – as well as African Parks, for whom I’m fundraising – can be found here.

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