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A professional psychologist spent his entire life believing he had no ability or interest in sport. Then, in his forties, he became a champion ultradistance athlete before breaking the world record for the fastest bicycle crossing of Europe.
This journey - made entirely alone and without any support crew - went from the northernmost point in the Arctic down to the very southernmost point in Spain. Averaging 377 kilometres each day and with up to 18 hours in the saddle at a time, the total distance of 6367 km was covered in well under 17 days, knocking more than two days off the previous record. It was a journey of ultimate self-reliance.
Endless Perfect Circles is not just a tale of sleep deprivation and eating terrible food in supermarket car parks, it is also a celebration of how tough sporting challenges offer ordinary people a path to self-improvement. Weaving his own experiences together with psychological insights, Ian Walker demonstrates the rewards we can all find from setting ourselves difficult personal goals and working out how we will rise to meet these.
''When I ride, my mind is both crowded and empty. The practical part of me churns, thinking all the time about navigation, shops, food, weather and lodging, seeking information about those raw essentials of life and planning dozens of contingencies. But when I look back on any given ride, even one lasting many days, I would struggle to tell you a single thought that passed through my head, because the rest of my mind has been liberated. All of life's needs have been simplified by the pure act of riding.''