Exclusive Interview | Jonathan Shubert Sets a New Cycling World Record!
Jonathan Shubert did the unbelievable and established a new World Record! On February 13th, just after 5am, he cycled into the Omani city of Salalah and clocked in at 47 hours and 21 minutes after completing 1,200km from the capital city, Muscat.
Rewind to this time last week and I found myself in the support vehicle as an integral team member accompanying the incredible Jonathan Shubert on his ambitious World Record attempt.
Already an amazing endurance cyclist and athlete, we had faith in his attempt to cycle the gruelling 1,200km from Muscat to Salalah. But, incorporating variables like exhaustion, dehydration, and heatstroke, this was a challenge that brought Jonathan close to his own limits and very close to the planned time of under 48 hours.
Intense highs and lows throughout that 47-hour-and-21-minute journey brought us from being work acquaintances to good friends. Today, I sit down with Jon for the exclusive interview after his massive achievement.
An exclusive with Jonathan Shubert
ub-cool: First of all congratulations! We are so incredibly proud of you! How are you feeling? Has it sunk in yet?
ub-cool: You had to put your body through an incredible feat of endurance to achieve this. Tell us a little about your highs and lows?
ub-cool: Did everything go to plan? Sickness, heat exhaustion, routes etc.
Jon’s health rapidly deteriorated on Day 1 due to heat stroke; a factor that hadn’t been anticipated.
ub-cool: You’ve mentioned that you crashed your bike, can you tell us a little more about that?
“I looked at myself and didn’t see any bones sticking out so I knew we had to get on with it. I didn’t realise until just now that after the crash there was still another 10 hours of riding to go!”
ub-cool: While on the road, what was the most enjoyable part of the challenge?
“But there were things that picked me up and that was seeing people come out to see me on the road. From Muscat to Salalah and all the remote places in between, people were following my progress and finding me on route to cheer me on.“
ub-cool: What was the most dangerous aspect?
“You could argue that was dangerous but you could also argue that the heat was dangerous. The heat is what brought me closest to death!“
ub-cool: Did you ever feel you may give up? Did that moment ever creep into your mind? Did it happen more than once?
ub-cool: You don’t listen to music or talk when you are cycling for these long hours on end. What were you thinking of to get you through the long hours?
“It’s that motion of my legs going round and round helping me to think and it takes my mind off things – it’s like my drug.”
ub-cool: Were you able to take in the scenic views or were you too focused ? If yes, what did you see that is memorable?
“It was beautiful to watch the camels, rocks, and sand roll past. Even by the coast at night I saw a crab scuttle across the road. It was the little things like that which kept me going.“
ub-cool: Near the end you were so confident on timings you even stopped to allow your support crew to have a coffee in the early hours of the morning. What was going through your head then?
ub-cool: What does it take to plan an ambitious World Record attempt like this?
“It absorbed my life for at least a month, and that doesn’t even include the training I had to do on a bike!”
ub-cool: Looking back, would you change anything? A different route, more/less training, packed more food, etc.?
“I wonder if everything had gone to plan, how much quicker I could have achieved it. There is definitely room for improvement on that record.”
ub-cool: Would you ever attempt it again and improve your time or be happy for new cyclists to undertake challenge by using the coordinates you have set?
ub-cool: You are back to work now as a school teacher in Muscat, what did your students think of your achievement?
ub-cool: So what is next for you?!
Jonathan Shubert: This is the tricky one. I think it might have been something I pushed to achieve because I know my time in Oman will eventually come to an end.
“I would like to go and see what the world has to offer, perhaps cycle back through the Arab world and eventually back to England. I will probably just keep peddling until I find what I’m looking for.”