He battled extreme fatigue, no sleep and sickness. But it did not stop a super-fit Alnwick cyclist from smashing a club record which has stood for more than 60 years – at his first attempt in a national 24-hour time-trial championship event.
And delighted Quentin Field-Boden admits achieving the remarkable feat is ‘the stuff that dreams are made of’ and he has been on a high ever since.
The 55-year-old from Allerburn Lea notched up an impressive 412.69 miles during the Mersey Roads 24-hour endurance challenge last month.
It was enough for the Tyneside Vagabonds (TV) rider to break the club’s previous best distance of 398.25miles – which had stood since 1949.
On top of that, he set a new North Group of the Veterans Time Trials Association record – previously set for his age group in 2011 at 407.51miles.
Delighted Quentin, who came 27th overall, said: “To break a club record that had stood for that length of time, at the age of 55, at my first attempt at riding one of these events, and to be met by wonderful people such as my wife Lorena and national record holder Andy Wilkinson at the end, is in cycling terms, for me at least, the stuff that dreams are made of.
“The event was a leap into the unknown and setting a new club record was not my original objective when I started as I believed that the 400-mile distance would be beyond me, certainly at my first attempt.”
Quentin’s efforts are all the more remarkable considering he clocked up the distance – further than Edinburgh to London by road – without any sleep during the 24 hours.
It was a gruelling challenge which took its toll both mentally and physically. But quitting never entered his head.
He said: “I had a very bad patch at about the 11 to 12-hour point. I was very concerned about my ability to continue.
“I was finding it virtually impossible to eat any solid food and I was feeling constantly sick. I actually stopped to be sick by the side of the road on a couple of occasions.
“I decided that the only way for me to continue was to stop trying to force myself to eat solid food and risk continuing with just drinks. As it turned out, this strategy helped me get through this phase.
“I never considered stopping, although that’s not to say I didn’t want to, because it was extremely physically demanding, tiring and uncomfortable.
“I can honestly say that at no point during the ride did I say to myself ‘this is lovely’.”
He added that his support team of wife Lorena, as well as Roger Clarke, Alan Dick and Andrew Taylor, all from TV, played a massive part in his success, helping him through his toughest moments.
“They worked so hard to make it possible for me to break the club record,” he said. He also praised Andy Wilkinson for his advice and support.
Quentin decided to take on the ultra-distance challenge through intrigue, after being part of the support team for TV’s secretary Roger Clarke, who entered the event in 2012.
Cycling enthusiast Quentin, who has previously ridden the entire route of the 2010 Tour de France, would consider doing another ultra-distance event, preferably one in a team. But he says some of these require significant funds.