Traverser La France En Vélo: Chris Ward

Chris Ward Creates World Record

Chris Ward set a new World Record for riding from the most northerly point in France to the most southerly point in France, arriving at Lamanère a shade before midnight on Friday 15th April 2016. The challenge, which is comparable to the Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) ride, covering some 1,500 km.

Chris Ward Wears Mavic Traverser La France en Vélo

A fresh-faced Chris Ward

The Grand Départ

After months of training and preparation with Richard Laidlow here at Sancture Sportifs, it was time to make the long journey north. The third member of the small but highly professional team was Chantal Kibbey, our in-house sports massage therapist. Her job had been to help prepare Chris for the challenge and now it was time to get him through the 50 or so hours on a bike in one piece.

Bray Dunes is cited as the most northerly point of France, and so had the pleasure of playing host to our very own ‘Grand Départ’. And so it was that at 10am on Wednesday 13th April, the challenge began.

The Ride

Everything had been carefully planned: the route, the prevailing winds, the bike, the desired average speed, the wattage and the nutrition. Overall things went pretty well from the beginning, despite some really nasty weather which left Chris feeling like he should be swimming rather than cycling at some points.

At 7am on Thursday 14th April, having ridden through the night and for 21hrs with only small stops, Chris reached his first major goal: the Lapierre Bike Factory in Dijon. So far so good and following some serious sports massage, feeding and a change of clothes it was soon time to get back on the bike and continue the epic journey.

Condrieu was the next major goal, where Chris would be greeted by plenty of friends and family seeing as it’s close to his home town. This would also prove to be by far the most difficult part of the ride.

Chris Ward No Pain No Gain

Chris receiving some intense sports massage. #NoPainNoGain ©Thierry Galmiche

A fairly major knee problem had arisen. It became so bad at one point that Chris was continuing on nothing more than intensive sports massage, pain-killers and sheer guts and determination. It did all get a bit too painful at one point and there was even talk of pulling out of the ride. After over 24 hours with no sleep and a lot of kilometres under the belt already this was understandable, but not really an option.

Chris and the team finally made the rendez-vous point at Condrieu, albeit a few hours later than scheduled. Although the magic 50 hour mark was now beyond reach there was a renewed resolve to complete the challenge and set the bar as high as possible, and to continue to raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis.

From Condrieu onwards things went more smoothly. The knee problem had been resolved thanks to some intensive treatment from Chantal and Chris was in a better place mentally thanks to some serious words from both Chantal and Chris, who put their sports psychology skills to good use. Having a large number of support riders along the route helped boost morale too.


Chris Ward Cycles through Amelie-Les-Bains

Chris Ward Cycles through Amelie-Les-Bains

As the sun set for the third and final evening of the challenge, the end was in sight. There was great support along the way and the streets of Amélie-Les-Bains were lined with well-wishers as Chris contemplated the final climbs to Lamanère, where he arrived just before midnight to the cheers of fans, friends and family. There was of course a free bar provided by La Brasserie de L’Ours!

Bike Ride Stats

  • Average Speed 30.1km/hr
  • Total ride Time ; 42 :15 hrs
  • Average watts 124watts
  • Average Heart rate 116bpm
  • Average cadence 71RPM
  • Approx Kcal’s  30 420
  • Total pedal révolutions 182 000

Raising Awareness For Cystic Fibrosis

In addition to setting a new world record and gaining a great sense of personal achievement, it shouldn’t be forgotten that the main motivation for this ride was to raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic life-threatening disease which causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breath.

cystic fibrosis tri challenge

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