Jon was born in Cumbria on 17th July 1965. The son of a mountaineer and rock climber, it seems that Jon was destined to follow a life of adventure and daring. As the oldest of four and therefore the natural leader amongst his siblings, Jon was also to become a leader in his adult life. From the age of 7, Jon was brought up in the Purley and Coulsdon areas of south London, where he attended Attwood Primary School, and Purley High School for Boys. In his early teens Jon developed an interest in bikes and a passion for cycling.
It was a massive blow when Jon was diagonised with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1983, at the age of 18. He underwent major surgery followed by radiotherapy treatment, at the end of which he fought his way back to full health. Knowing that he was lucky to be alive, Jon was determined to live everyday to the absolute max. This determination and courage was to be the foundation for his incredible cycling career.
Jon joined the Croydon section of the CTC (Cyclists’ Touring Club) in his early teens. In 1989 he joined the Norwood Paragon Cycling Club in south London, a club that has been home to Olympian and World Championship riders.
It was with this club that Jon became what is known in the cycling world as a ‘First Category Roadman’. This meant that Jon was regularly taking part in road racing events where he was in the saddle for anything up to 5 hours (80 to 120 miles). This was just the beginning, as Jon went on to excel in record-breaking 12 hour and 24 hour racing events. Some of these achievements included:
1991: A solo 12 hour record of 273 miles.
1991: A team 12 hour record, a record that still stands.
1997: Backup rider in the National ‘24’, a national 24 hour event, where he completed some 376 miles.
Jon also established all of the club’s mixed tandem records with his partner Allison Butler, most of which still stand. During these years Jon also acquired numerous cups and trophies from club events. After Jon moved to north London, he joined the Willesden, the Bishops Stortford and then the Team Quest clubs, but he always remained a Paragon member.
If you were a fellow Paragonian or a member of any of these other clubs, and accompanied Jon on any of his cycling ventures, then we would love to hear from you. Please email Vanessa Jennings at: email@example.com
Audax Rider Extraodinaire
Jon was an audax rider extraordinaire, audax being a cycling sport known for its challenging, long-distance endurance rides. The most famous of the audax and other challenging rides are held in France and the French Alps and Jon participated in many of these as well as UK events, including:
Paris-Brest-Paris: A grueling 1200km route that must be completed within 90 hours. Jon participated in this as both a solo rider and on tandem.
Daylight 600: A 600 km route which starts from Edinburgh and visits the West coast of Scotland.
La Marmotte: A 174km route in the French Alps, which features more than 5,180 meters of climbing, and finishes at the top of the Alpe de d’Huez.
Brevet des Alpes: A 225km course starting and finishing in Vizille with 4,650 meters of climbing up into the French Alps.
L'Étape du Tour: Stages of the Tour de France.
Cycling Tour Organiser
Jon set up ‘Jennings Fun and Fitness Tours’ to organize cycling tours abroad. He ran three training venues in the South of France, and one in Portugal, and also organized trips to watch the Tour de France. The highlight of his organized tours was probably a tour of the Andes. If you accompanied Jon on any of these trips, then we would love to hear from you. Please email Vanessa Jennings at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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