Taking on the 19-year-old Land's End John O'Groats record

How Christina Mackenzie went from cycling newbie to a record breaker in just a few short years

Christina Mackenzie on her 2021 LeJoG ride
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

When Christina Mackenzie fell short of breaking the end-to-end record in 2019 she said she’d never attempt the mammoth ride again. But then she did and obliterated the record in the process.

Don’t take this the wrong way, I ask nervously, but you’ve got quite an obsessive personality, haven’t you? A laugh, thankfully, is how the tricky question is received. “You’ve picked up on that one well, haven’t you,” chuckles Christina Mackenzie. “You’re absolutely right, though: if I sign up to something, agree to a challenge, I will make sure I am committed to it, do everything that is needed.”

It is a week after the Scotswoman set a new Land’s End to John O’Groats women’s record of 51:05.05, breaking Lynne Taylor’s 19-year-old record by 100 minutes, and she’s sat in her Stirling home, five kilograms heavier due to stubborn water retention, and regaling how she went from not even being a cyclist a decade ago to being the fastest female to ride from the bottom to the top of the UK. 

>>You can vote for Christina Mackenzie for CW's 2021 Outstanding Achievement award

LeJog record

Christina Mackenzie rides through the Peak District on her record ride. Picture: Andy Jones

(Image credit: Andy Jones)

“Obsessive personality,” she muses with a laugh. “I suppose I have, really. I have always had an urge to push myself further: I bought my first road bike in 2012, started with sprint triathlons and within a year was doing Olympic distance and Iron Mans. I then went from 24 hour time trials to riding for 50-odd hours. You can see the pattern, can’t you.”

Spend a few minutes in the company of the 44-year-old and you realise that Mackenzie’s sporting trajectory is as predictable as a join-the-dots drawing exercise. One thing, inevitably, leads to the other.

However, she ran into a roadblock in 2019. Riding at record-pace on her first LEJOG attempt, she suffered in the final quarter and finished two hours short of Taylor’s benchmark. Being an indefatigable athlete, however, she was soon plotting how across three July days in 2021 she would ride 839 miles and write a new chapter in cycling’s long distance annals.

You can read the full article in the October 7 issue of Cycling Weekly, on sale now. You can buy Cycling Weekly magazine in the shops and online (opens in new tab) (free postage) or you can subscribe, save on the cover (opens in new tab) price and get it delivered to your door every Thursday.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Chris Marshall-Bell
Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.