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Knockhill cycle challenge

Graeme Obree is no stranger to epic cycling challenges.

He has twice held the famed hour record and is a former double world champion in the individual pursuit on the track.

Last summer saw him clock a new record of 56.62mph in the prone cycling position at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge at Battle Mountain, Nevada. Now the Ayrshire sporting legend is gearing up for another impressive feat.

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Obree, 48, and his son Jamie, 20, are set to take part in the third annual Cycle the World Challenge. The 24-hour event sees solo riders and teams of up to six people compete on the 1.3 miles Le Mans-style track at Knockhill racing circuit in Fife.

Alongside their team-mates Graeme Mitchell and Jeremy Newell of the Artemis Charitable Foundation, the Obrees aim to raise more than £10k for Enable Scotland. The charity, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, offers support to parents in Scotland with children who have learning disabilities.

"There is always a brilliant atmosphere and camaraderie at endurance events like this," says Obree. "You are united by the common enemy that is 24 hours of hard effort."

Obree has designated himself the official timekeeper of the team. "I'm thinking that if Jamie does a couple of hours, the other guys in the team do an hour or so each and I sit about co-ordinating things and drinking coffee," he jokes. "Seriously, though, the plan is to divvy it up and all of us take a shot. I'm really looking forward to it."

He is famous for munching marmalade sandwiches in his early competitive career but Obree has a different culinary regime in mind. "If you are doing an effort like that it's a right good excuse to eat lots of cakes," he says. "Think of all the calories you're burning, you can eat nice stuff without worrying about putting weight on. My favourite is carrot cake with the creamy bit in the middle and maybe some tablet too. Then afterwards it will back to broccoli and the normal, boring healthy diet."

Others lending their support to the event are rugby icon Kenny Logan and top Scottish cyclist Callum Skinner. "The history of cycling is populated with extreme challenges," says Skinner. "Events like the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia had stages that were of epic proportions. Hopefully, cyclists will support this brilliant event raising lots for Enable Scotland in the process."

Enable Scotland's Cycle The World (cycletheworld.org.uk) gets under way at 10am on Friday at Knockhill in Fife.

To donate to Team Obree, visit justgiving.com/Graeme-Obree

SUSAN SWARBRICK

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