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Beyond the limits - James Mark Hayden interview

Frissítve: 2021. febr. 11.

The engagement with cycling didn't go easy for James. His first cycling memory (from the age of 4) is about flying over the handlebars. The second one was touching the ground with his face first. Basically he had more broken parts and fractures in his early years, than most of us in an entire life. For some it could be a sign to give up activities which are considered painful. But not for James. He started dirt jumping and tried himself in sports like skiing, boxing, rugby, rowing, football, weight lifting, and BMX. He was looking for something. Looking back it seems he was seeking his limits. These painful early days were the guarantee that he can hold on when he encounters them one day.

He actually lived in Budapest as a child for 4 years. He has some cool memories of sneaking out with a friend and riding bikes across the city (at the age of 9). James Mark Hayden is an English pro ultra endurance athlete, sponsored by Canyon, Ride with GPS, and Endura. He won the Transcontinental Race twice in a row. In 2019 James and Sofiane Sehili finished first, neck and neck in the Italy Divide, after a great battle between the two of them. Also in 2019 he led the Silk Road Mountain Race when he was attacked by two horsemen in Kyrgyzstan. He had to go back to the last checkpoint and wait almost a day. Finally though he finished 4th. He came in second in the 2020 Atlas Montain Race, just 4 hours after Sofiane.

When I approached him with the idea of an interview he positively responded within 2 hours.

- Can you say 3 words James, which describe you the most?

- Determined. Thoughtful. Integrous.

- Where do you live and what do you do for a living?

- Right now, in Catalonia. We moved here just before Brexit. And I ride bikes currently.

Catalonia 2020. It seems there are some sweet gravel roads...

- What is your philosophy of life?

- Life can be complicated and overwhelming, I think it’s important to focus on that which you can effect. I know life is short and have found an acceptance in the reality of my finite existence. Therefore, I try to live a life true to myself, one where I can look back and say that I made the most of the rich experience in a way honest to me. It is easy to get caught up in the modern ideals of life, finding the courage and vision to rebuff this is hard, but important. We get one go, make it yours.

- What is your earliest cycling memory?

- When I was around 4 years old. I had a little bike with stablisers, I rode it off a ledge and flipped over.

- Where and when was your first ever bikepacking trip?

- Probably around 2013. It was October and I went touring (I’d call it touring) into France. It was cold and it rained every day. I lost my rain jacket on the second day and it seemed like the end of the world. We all must start small and grow!

- Is there anything you don’t like in bikepacking?