A father-of-four who cycled 3,000 miles across America four times has opened up about how physical challenges helped him overcome his personal struggles.

Jim Rees, 58, has competed in Ironman Triathlons around the world and in The Race Across America, or RAAM, an ultra-distance road cycling race across the United States.

Jim’s first RAAM was in 2005 as part of a four-man team and then he did it solo in 2007, 2008 and 2009, becoming the only British rider to finish three consecutive solo races faster each year.

In 2009 he completed the race in 10 days and 20 hours, sleeping a total of 13.5 hours - just one to two hours of sleep per day.

Watford Observer: Jim ReesJim Rees

Race Across America, a one-hour documentary charting his resilience, can be watched on YouTube.

Cycling up to 400 miles a day, Jim hallucinated along the way, almost falling off his bicycle several times.

By the end of the race, as Jim was hallucinating and delirious, he had to wear a brace to keep his head in place and at one point the crew had to take him off his bike and allow him to sleep.

He said: "When I woke up, the crew then informed me that I wasn't going to finish within the cut-off time, and that inspired me to really pull a ridiculous performance out by that stage.

"I was cycling something like 10mph for the whole race up until that point, and to finish the race I had to cycle 16mph and I was lucky to have completed it within the cut-off time - but only just, I finished within eight minutes of the cut-off time."

Watford Observer:

Now he has written a book called Vicious Cycle, which offers an examination of people’s behavioural patterns and how habits can shape a person’s life.

The book, which blends memoir and practical handbook, offers how tos for breaking these vicious cycles and “creating a life you can be proud of” through sharing stories of hardship, determination, and a relentless drive to succeed and grow.

Over the past 20 years, Jim has focused on maximising potential at an individual, team and organisational level, working with a number of FTSE top 500 companies across the world.

He uses his experience and knowledge to help leaders in the corporate world and works as a coach, known as The El Guru.

He says his book is not only for cyclists and extreme athletes, but also for anyone wanting to improve themselves.

Jim, who was born in England and grew up in Australia, was abandoned and adopted while a baby, which he says has made him more determined.

He explained: “Having been adopted, I struggled with my identity - I wanted to be an example of what is possible.

“I started riding a bike aged 10. For me it signified freedom, no hassle.

“Through sport I found that I was more connected, so I carried on doing it.”

Jim is now a hero to many professional cyclists, Olympic athletes, triathletes and has a large following in the USA due to his outstanding achievements as "a normal guy with a mortgage and a family, who's not an Olympic cyclist, but can go and do something that most people think is impossible".

The ultra-cyclist urges people to read Vicious Cycle to understand his full story.

He added: “This book is good timing for a lot of people - we are all sort of in this together but we are not – we have all had different experiences in the pandemic.”

In a review of the book, Race Across America CEO Fred Boethling said: "Many books have been written about the RAAM experience but Vicious Cycle stands out in that it is a compelling read, offering a unique perspective, by a particularly well-qualified author.”

Five time Olympian Mark Foster said: “I still get blown away by the obstacles Jim had to overcome as a child and his reflections about how his childhood created patterns for him as an adult.

“Vicious Cycle is a brutally honest story of his journey using his insights and blind-spots to show others what they might be missing and how to see it!"