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‘People thought I was wild’: Ipswich’s 3am cyclist rides 700 miles, carries bike up mountain

PUBLISHED: 07:42 06 August 2020 | UPDATED: 08:15 06 August 2020

Alex Pilgrim, from Ipswich, carried his bike to the top of Scafell Pike in Cumbria - having already cycled hundreds of miles. Picture: ALEX PILGRIM

Alex Pilgrim, from Ipswich, carried his bike to the top of Scafell Pike in Cumbria - having already cycled hundreds of miles. Picture: ALEX PILGRIM

Archant

“If you put yourself through the hard stuff, life becomes easier” - that is Alex Pilgrim’s motto after he rode a mammoth 700 miles and carried his trusty bike up England’s tallest mountain.

Alex Pilgrim, from Ipswich, says completing the huge cycle ride was not just a question of physical training, but mental preparation too. Picture: ALEX PILGRIMAlex Pilgrim, from Ipswich, says completing the huge cycle ride was not just a question of physical training, but mental preparation too. Picture: ALEX PILGRIM

The 22-year-old had been cycling the streets of Ipswich in the dead of night in preparation for the gruelling charity ride in aid of Muscular Dystrophy UK, rising at 3am to fit in a two-hour ride before work every day.

MORE: Meet the 3am riser who cycles Ipswich in the dead of night

The soon-to-be Royal Marine needed every bit of preparation, describing a 40-mile stretch through the Peak District as “absolute hell” on his way to Scafell Pike in Cumbria.

Once he got there, he stunned onlookers by carrying his wheels for the whole nine-hour, 978-metre mountain trek in sweltering heat - saying: “I wanted my bike to see the top of the mountain with me.”

Alex Pilgrim, from Ipswich, took plenty of equipment to help him through his mammoth cycle ride. Picture: ALEX PILGRIMAlex Pilgrim, from Ipswich, took plenty of equipment to help him through his mammoth cycle ride. Picture: ALEX PILGRIM

He said that “people thought I was wild” - but, as if that wasn’t enough, he then rode 350 miles back home and defied all the odds to cycle 160 miles in one go.

Even just part of the challenge - which Alex finished 48 hours early, in eight days rather than 10 - would be an impressive feat, yet all together was nothing short of extraordinary.

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However Alex, who was joined for part of the journey by school friend David Hooley, said: “It is more about training your mind than the body.

Alex Pilgrim has been waking up early, at 3am, for his night-time cycle ride around Ipswich. Picture: ALEX PILGRIMAlex Pilgrim has been waking up early, at 3am, for his night-time cycle ride around Ipswich. Picture: ALEX PILGRIM

“My toes were in agony - but if you put your mind past that, in the end you become a stronger person.

“If you put yourself through the hard stuff, life becomes easier.

“I’m not one who likes to wake up early in the morning - but I disciplined myself to keep doing it through my training.

“Early morning routines will enforce that when you do the hard stuff regularly, other things will become easier.”

Alex Pilgrim was joined by friend David Hooley for part of the ride. Picture: AMELIA HARFORDAlex Pilgrim was joined by friend David Hooley for part of the ride. Picture: AMELIA HARFORD

Alex, of Wherstead Road, Ipswich - who works as a tug driver at Felixstowe Docks - was due to join the Royal Marines this year but had his entry delayed due to the coronavirus crisis.

He embarked on the ride on from Monday, July 27 in honour of his father Carl, who has limb girdle muscular dystrophy.

Dan McNally, head of regional development at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “Cycling 700 miles over 10 days is no mean feat, and we are hugely impressed by this effort.”

To donate to Alex’s fundraising effort, visit his JustGiving page.


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