Sir Chris Hoy has spoken of his need for a new challenge in retirement that led his wife to push him to cycle to the South Pole.
“When it was first suggested I thought ‘No way!’. I hate the cold and it sounded like too much hard work. You hear these stories about people losing their fingers when they’re exposed to the air and you think, ‘God, what will happen when I go to the toilet?’” he told the Sunday Times.
But the six-times Olympic champion and holder — with fellow cyclist Jason Kenny — of the record for most gold medals won by any British athlete, clearly didn’t have enough on his plate, despite a retail cycling range at Evans and other projects.
His wife Sarra pushed him on, despite the knowledge that he challenge will come shortly after the birth of their second child.
“I’m going because I’ll get more sleep in a tent at the South Pole than with a newborn,” said Hoy.
The aim, to cycle 423 miles from the Amundsen coast over snow drifts hiding deep crevasses, up a 3,000ft mountain range, then along a plateau to the South Pole, is hugely ambitious, not least because Hoy wants to beat the current world record of 10 days.
The plan still does not have a financial backer to make the numbers add up, or a team-mate for Hoy.
We recently reported how he tried out his new fatbike for the expedition in Iceland. “It was one of the best days I’ve had on my bike in years. It was wobbly and difficult — it brought back that feeling of being a kid again.
“It reminded me of the joy of cycling just for the sheer hell of it.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.