Cycling is one of those sports where, no matter how fast, how often or how far you ride, there’s always someone who takes it to another level, far beyond what you could ever imagine being able to do……and that someone, is Mark Beaumont.
If you’ve followed Mark’s ultra-endurance adventure challenges over the last ten years, you’ll have already seen him ride around the world in 194 days, ride from Northern Alaska to Southern Argentina and ride from Cairo to Cape Town. Breaking world records along the way, these three challenges alone total over 38,000 miles!
So, with a more time-targeted challenge ahead, Mark is attempting to ride the 18,000 miles around the world in just 80 days, which will see him needing to average over 225 miles each day. At a 16mph average, that’s over 14 hours of riding each day…for nearly 3 months!
With such a huge challenge to undertake, Mark doesn’t want to be worrying about his bike or kit, so Bikmo’s underwriter Hiscox stepped in to insure him, giving him peace of mind and allowing him to concentrate on pressing the pedals, fuelling his body and absorbing the beautiful sights of the world. To find out what motivates a person to push themselves to such limits, the gear and support required, and how he keeps the chafing at bay, Bikmo’s Dave met Mark for a coffee to find out.
First up in a series of articles, we look at the planning, preparation and motivation required to take on such a mammoth task. What are the fears, barriers and opportunities that excite Mark as he fine-tunes his prep before the start? We offered out the chance to ask a question to Mark, and our bike-geek customers came up with some crackers, summarised below.
What has been your training for such an event?
My training really began at Africa, which was the first training block in preparation for the round the world. I spent January in Spain to get solid big mile training block in, and to avoid the Scottish weather. I then transitioned to supported riding, completing 3300 miles in 14 days around Britain in April. This gave both myself and the team the confidence that it can be done. I’ve been averaging about 30/35 hours per week, often out on a CX/Gravel bike in remote Scotland where I live.
How do you prepare your body for being sat on a bike for hour after hour, day after day, week after week?
The main key is to try to prevent potential injury in the first place. Due to the position on the bike, I have done huge amounts of work on my core, both to reduce fatigue and to allow me to stay in the aero position as long as possible. I have been running once per week to build and strengthen the smaller muscles around me knees and ankles, and also reducing my upper body mass. At 87kg and 6’3″, I’ve had to manage my body fat to not allow it to drop below 8%, as this can lead to problems.
What aspect of the ride plays on your mind before you set off?
When riding 16 hours per day, the smallest thing can cause you issues. On round Britain, the hem on my shorts was slightly too tight, which can become the only thing you can focus on, so when we finished we made some updates. I’ve made adaptations to my nutrition to ‘burn fat like a rat’, but you always worry about food and the affects that caffeine and sugars can have on the body, and also by not getting enough. I must admit, the thought of navigating through cities as large and busy as Paris and Beijing does scare me a little, a it’s not as safe as the open road. I’m also both excited and intimidated at the thought of my journey through Russia, Mongolia and China, as I fear that this is potentially where most could go wrong.
Grab yourself a coffee, put your feet up, and listen to the full interview by playing the link below:
Mark began his Around the world in 80 days challenge on the 2nd July and, by the time of reading this, Mark will already be on his way to completing the first week. His support team, both on and off the road, are vital in keeping him focused and making the transition from his hours on the bike as worry-free as possible, and the Bikmo team wish them all the very best of luck.