UPDATE: We are delighted to say that Kate was successful in all three of her cycling record attempts! Read the news story.
World champion triathlete attempting three cycling world records
I went vegan in 2013 as an experiment to see if it improved my running. I used to have asthma and found that I couldn’t get any faster as my throat was constricting. Through trying out various things I found myself eating a vegan diet almost by accident, as that was what my body performed the best on.
At the time I was working seven days a week, training from 4am until way past sunset – but I was still waking up refreshed. I could have a hard day of training and the next day wake up with no aches or pains. I’m still finding that – I’m 42 and recovery is super speedy.
Three world records in one
I’ve taken on lots of different athletic challenges in my life – I became World Triathlon Champion in 2014, and summited Mont Blanc with my 71-year-old father in 2019. Right now, I’m training for a static bike World Record on 26 May, during which I’ll be attempting three world records all in one go, for distance covered in 1 hour, 12 hours and 24 hours.
I choose my challenges based on what brings joy to my life. I’ve got to enjoy it! And it’s also got to be challenging. I’m all for removing the glass ceiling off our potential, so if I don’t find it hard enough or scary enough then it’s not the right challenge.
No female currently holds a record for the 24-hour static bike, but a man does. I’m always looking for ways to bring awareness to equal opportunities and equal exposure. We need diversity in sport, as well as business and wider society. I know there are women out there performing at super high levels, but we don’t tend to hear about them.
The one-hour world record attempt is purely about being vegan, and saying ‘Don’t you dare ask me about my protein!’ Because if I can break a one-hour world record attempt and then cycle another 23 hours, this conversation needs to be put to bed.
I work with a coach, and together we’ve developed a training plan that suits me. I’m currently completing about three or four sessions a week, with each session being a maximum of nine hours.
When I was training for the triathlon, I was very strict with my diet and ate only whole foods. I’m a little more flexible nowadays because I do like to eat crisps and takeaway pizza sometimes. I make sure I give myself days off. But the bulk of my diet is made up of things like oats, grain-free pizzas which I make myself, tarka dal which is a lentil based curry … I eat a rainbow of colour and make sure that my plate is healthy and rounded in terms of nutrients. I’m bulking out at the moment because I burn a lot of calories on the bike, so I’m more than happy to have two desserts or extra servings when I want.
The Limitless Challenge
When my father and I summited Mont Blanc, I was on a massive buzz and just felt like anything was possible. So I created the Limitless Challenge, which combines three huge athletic feats in a 12-month period. I’m going to start off cycling the Race Across America, which is over 3000 miles and is known as the world’s toughest road race. Two months after that I’ll be swimming the English Channel, which is at minimum 21 miles depending on currents. Then I’ll be going to Nepal to summit Everest.
Exercise is clearly a big part of my life! It keeps me on track mentally, and it means I’m always striving to go bigger. I don’t get caught up on the details of life, the day-to-day worries. I’ve got a bigger picture and a purpose, which keeps me accountable. Keeping active clears my mind and lets me focus on what’s important, as well as putting a smile on my face.
Follow Kate at @katestrong01
Has going vegan helped you to thrive? If you have a story to share, please get in touch.