Cancer survivor James Golding has a bigger fish to fry.

James Golding has survived cancer (twice) and being hit by a truck. But can he survive his latest challenge, racing his bike across America?


By Tim Brink |

Cancer – twice.

Cancer not enough? Hit by a truck while cycling – once.

James Golding could be forgiven for not bothering any more with dreams of racing his bicycle across America (although his 2020 attempt was sidelined by Covid, just as a further kick in the proverbials).

“It [cycling] will break you down. It will make you cry. It will make you the happiest you have ever been.”

Not bothering is not in his make-up, though. In the past decade, Golding has overcome and achieved more than most would in a lifetime. His first battle against cancer was in 2008, a cancer ward ICU-bed battle where he was given a 5% chance of survival. That was just the beginning. He has gone on to cycle many of the world’s toughest events, raising more than R60-million for a variety of charities, and suffered countless setbacks along the way. One thing has always remained: his drive and determination. This death’s-door drive has led him down the cycle-path of ultra-endurance cycling.

It started as a recovery aid. one day he saw an old bike owned by a lodger lying around his home in Rugby in the middle of England and decided to go for a ride, having not cycled for years. It proved to be a huge release – and a revelation. “I went to the local reservoir and rode for five miles,” he explains. “I hadn’t felt so free for a very long time. It gave me a way to escape the treatment and to be active after months of being bed-bound, then in a wheelchair and using a zimmer-frame.” Gentle half-hour rides soon made way for bigger ambitions, as cycling transformed Golding’s recovery journey. “It [cycling] will break you down. It will make you cry. It will make you the happiest you have ever been.”

READ MORE 23 Solutions To Your Top Cycling Struggles

In 2017 he rode 2,842.2km in one week to break the 7-day Guinness World Record. That is 400km a day. After cancer, nothing is impossible?  His next challenge: being the first Brit to win Race Across America.

But first… to qualify. Paper qualifications mean nothing to the organisers of the world’s toughest bike race – 4 500km, non-stop across the USA. They, understandably, want concrete proof you have not just the watts, but the grit to tackle their beast.

The winners of RAAM roll it in 8 days, the survivors have just 12 days to finish, or face disqualification. Sleep is optional, at best, a feared adversary for most. RAAM is simply the most brutal bike race there is. Why would a cancer survivor take it on, in the first place, let alone try and win it?

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