Ultra Endurance Sportler Jonas Deichmann about his challenge from Nordkapp to Cape Town
“We have now crossed the Arctic circle and are pushing towards Russia. Constant headwind so far but legs are good and spirits high.” With these words, Ultra Endurance cyclist Jonas Deichmann gave us his first update just a few days ago on his latest challenge. Since the beginning of September 2019 he has been on the road together with his cycling partner Philipp Hympendahl.
From cape to cape: cycling 18,000 km from the North Cape to Cape Town. In 75 days. Jonas Deichmann wants to smash the current world record of 102 days – riding from the tranquil Norwegian town of Nordkapp, the northernmost point of Europe, via Turkey and the Arabian Peninsula through East Africa to the southernmost point of the African continent, the vibrant metropolis of Cape Town. He will have to spend 11 to 13 hours in the saddle every day to cover an average of 240 km per day. For this extreme tour, he’ll need to consume about 10,000 kilocalories every day. That’s an awful lot of pasta!
“Getting to the starting line is the hardest part”
Defying Arctic winds; encountering lions and giraffes; feeling parched riding across the Sahara: “I just feel alive when I do something like that,” says Jonas Deichmann who is of medium build with a rough beard and sunburned skin. Jonas has now been on the road for 12 years. What does he miss most when he’s on tour? “A good coffee in the morning.” That’s a modest answer. In the past two years, Jonas Deichmann has set two world records, the Eurasia Challenge and the Panamerica Solo. When asked how he trains for his adventures, Jonas replies that he rides hard to complete 100,000 meters (328,084 feet) elevation gain in the Alps. “The hard moments make the best memories.”
“I just feel alive when I do something like that”
“Going alone into the wilderness and discovering exotic destinations”. Jonas has always enjoyed being alone in the wild and loves discovering exotic destinations. Since childhood Jonas has loved the adventure. As a student, he traveled around the world by bike and became fascinated by ultra-endurance events. Then, in 2017, Jonas set his sights on a big goal: he wanted to break the Eurasia world record. He found sponsors, gave lectures, and the plan came together. “That’s when a hobby turned into my life,” he says. Jonas set a new Eurasia record of 14,331 km in 64 days. He sees the Cape to Cape as the next “logical step” after cycling 23,000 km in 97 days in last year’s Panamerica Solo tour across the Americas. His latest idea is to cycle through Europe lengthwise and end up at the tip of South Africa.
“I’ll make it in 75 days.”
Jonas says: “I can do it in 75 days”. No questions, no doubts, no hesitation. Jonas says that 90% of extreme challenges are won in the mind because the body gets tired after six days of torture. How to start? Just do it, that’s his motto. You learn on the way. “Getting to the starting line is the most difficult thing.” And then what? Think positive. No matter whether you’re caught in a downpour or face headwinds or suffer from the heat. Set small achievable goals. Think about the nearest gas station where you can get chocolate. Focus on the time to your next destination, not on the mileage. Remember that you can’t influence external factors.
When you hear Jonas talk, you quickly realize he’s a professional speaker. He has his answers down pat. When he’s not cycling, Jonas gives lectures about his travels and about the motivation that drives him to excel. His equipment is “optimized right down to the last ounce.” His minimal luggage weighs a total of only five kg (11 pounds). He uses the Supernova Airstream 2 with Tail Light and Power Bank whether it’s for an ultra event or a 24h race. Deichmann initially chose Supernova because of its top reputation. Having tested the lights personally in extreme conditions, he knows he can rely 100% on his Airstream system – which is essential because he’s often in places where there’s no workshop for miles. Jonas charges up his Power Bank whenever he stops at a restaurant. While most long-distance riders use Supernova dynamo front lights, he has found that the Airstream Power Team is ideally suited to his extreme adventures. This combo has never let him down. He uses the Airstream during daylight as well, especially if there’s a lot of traffic. With this Supernova light, he can turn night into day whenever he needs to.
“When I think of Africa, I imagine adventures.”
The route looks easier than the one across the American continents. But Deichmann is aware of inherent risks: borders may be impassable, and medicines may be hard to come by. “If possible, I want to avoid major breakdowns and accidents,” he says matter-of-factly. Jonas is fearless. He knows, first-hand, what it’s like to carry on with broken ribs. But Jonas Deichmann is committed to his cause. And what’s the first thing he’ll do when he arrives in Cape Town? “I’ll jump into the sea!” He did the same when he won his previous records, and this has assumed a kind of symbolic status. We look forward to the selfie!
You’ve become curious? Follow his trip on Instagram!
Text: Myriel Hauser Ι Pictures: Jonas Deichmann, Pål Laukli, David Saintyves, Thiebaut Veroz Ι Quotes: Jonas Deichmann