It started in 2010 with James’ single-handed Atlantic row, three years after a serious motorcycle accident which the doctors said would put an end to his dreams of adventure. “An accident will do one of two things to a person,” says James. “You will either feel sorry for yourself or you will turn something negative into something positive. After the crash I set my sights on rowing the Atlantic. I needed a reason to put in all the effort and months of day-in-day-out rehab. The row gave me that reason.”
The 110-day crossing itself was no picnic, with severe weather and rough seas to contend with alone. James also ran out of food 230 miles short of the finish line: He doesn’t say “I’m starving” anymore.
In May the following year, James summitted the highest mountain in the world: “It was a very surreal feeling standing on top of Everest, and I stayed there for about 15 minutes.” The descent was not so smooth: “I was carrying a nasty lung infection and after summitting realised I was only half way. On the way back down I had trouble with my breathing but luckily Dorje helped me down.”
After a ‘practice’ ride 3000 miles across America the following year, James then took on the final leg of his ‘ultimate triathlon’: cycling around the world in 2013.
The cycle was completely unassisted and ultra-light, with James only carrying a handlebar bag and saddlebag, with basic essentials such as a bivvy bag, sleeping bag and roll mat, camera, phone and one change of clothes. “The most important part of kit was probably my phone,” admits James, “as I would use it to navigate, book accommodation, stay in touch with family and update social media!”