A Q&A WITH SEAN CONWAY AHEAD OF HIS WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT

Before extreme adventurer Sean Conway sets off to attempt the fastest cycle across Europe, we get the answers to some important questions...

What has been your toughest challenge so far?

Every challenge I do always seems to be slightly tougher than the last one, purposefully. That's usually why I chose it. My goal in life is to get a world's first, a world's furthest and a world's fastest. The three F’s. I have a first and a furthest but I have failed 4 times at a world's fastest so cycling across Europe the fastest is another attempt at a fastest, which is the hardest.

What do you listen to for motivation?

I listen to a lot of audiobooks and then any upbeat guitar music. I need a good tempo to keep the legs spinning.

Ahead of your world record attempt, what are you most nervous about?

Injury. I am feeling strong however I got injured trying to attempt this same record last year. That's my worry. Pushing it too hard at the start.

Excluding your bike, which three pieces of equipment could you not do without?

Well I have to say boringly my phone. I use it for everything that in the past would have added KG’s to my setup like, maps, photos, journal, video, voice recordings. In the past I had a device for each of those weighing in at nearly 4kg’s. So that's number 1. 2 is I have to have my headphones to listen to music and audiobooks. It also stops me hoarding various clicking sounds on my bike that would drive me mad. I once cycled 3000 miles with a loud click on every pedal rotation, a broken bearing. Headphones soon fixed that. 3rd on the list is my adventure mascot the Little Flying Cow. He joins me on everything and I couldn’t travel without him.

What has been your most memorable encounter from your travels?

It has to be swimming with phosphorescence in the Irish Sea when I swam the length of Britain. That was pretty amazing.

How important is timing during your expedition?

Very. When you’re trying to do a world's fastest every second counts. In fact most of these records that last about a month long get won or lost on 15 minutes a day. So I either need to cycle 15 mins faster or stop 15 mins less.

What inspired you to grow such a magnificent beard?

Well it was necessity rather than inspiration. I grew it to shield my face from getting stung by jellyfish when swimming the length of Britain.

What is the thing you miss most whilst away?

Fresh vegetables. I mainly live of cold service station food and go for high calorie fat and carb food like crisps, peanut butter, oatcakes etc. I miss fresh food a lot.

What are you most looking forward to during your cycle across Europe?

Truthfully, nothing. I’ll be miserable for most of the time, these records are extremely tough. The only reason I do them is in a year's time, once I'm back and over the trauma of being cold, wet, miserable and tired I can usually look back and go; Yeah, actually, that was worth it. But generally at the time I don’t really enjoy it.

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