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Record-breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont joins the Countrywide Great Tour

PUBLISHED: 14:22 23 July 2015 | UPDATED: 14:22 23 July 2015

Mark Beaumont

Mark Beaumont

Archant

Record-breaking cyclist and adventurer Mark Beaumont will join the Countrywide Great Tour later this month, as the epic circumnavigation of the British coastline by bike comes to the end of the second of its nine-week journey.

Beaumont, who held the world-record for cycling around the world, taking 194 days and 17 hours to cycle an incredible 29,446-kilometres, will join the Countrywide Great Tour on Wednesday 29 July for the 113-kilometre Day 26 route from St Andrews to Musselburgh in East Lothian.

For Mark the 113-kilometre leg will be a lot less than the 150-kilometres a day he averaged during his world-record in 2008, but comes 26 days into a 64 day adventure for the group of cyclists riding the 6,700-kilometres around the British coastline.

In addition to his round-the-world cycle, Beaumont has also rowed across the Atlantic and cycled the length of both Africa and the Americas, the latter of which adventures were both made into BBC documentaries.

Ahead of joining up with the cyclists of the Countrywide Great Tour, we spoke to Mark about his adventures, and his tips for first time adventurers.

Q - What was your motivation to cycle round the world?

Mark - I thought I would only get one chance to go on a big cycling adventure after I left University, so though that it might as well be as big as possible… hence the World!

Q - What advice would you give to someone overcoming a huge personal challenge?

Mark - The hardest part of any challenge, especially a physical journey, is having the commitment to start. It is a cliche, but a small fraction of journeys that are dreamt up, talked about, shared on social media and even planned, actually become a reality. So I encourage everyone reading this to make this happen - don’t be another person with a good excuse that your big adventure had to be postponed, indefinitely.

Q -What was the toughest moment of your travels mentally and what got you through it?

Mark - Capsizing mid Atlantic was definitely the toughest mental and physical fight of my life… but sticking to the bike, I had a seriously tough week in Ethiopia a few months ago. The broken roads lasted for nearly 400 miles and when it rained these turned to resemble a pigs field, so I was left walking with my bike sometimes carrying it. And then I got food poisoning, so was incredibly weak, but had to keep pushing over 100 miles a day. In moments like this I become obsessed with momentum, keeping going, no matter how slowly.

Q - What drew you to take part in The Countrywide Great Tour?

Mark - I have cycled across more than 60 countries, yet have explored remarkably little of Britain by bicycle, so was immediately attracted to the concept of pedalling the coastline. Whilst I can only complete a few stages this year, I certainly plan to come back and complete more of the Countrywide Great Tour in years to come.

Q - Can you relate to the challenges some of the riders will be overcoming, whether they are riders for a day or the full 64 day circumnavigation?

Mark - I started endurance riding 20 years ago, at the age of 12, and can still remember when 50 miles was a scary target. Now I push 200 miles a day to get the same buzz! Endurance riding is all about comfort zones, and so the great part is that almost anyone can physically cover these distances, with support from the team and enough willpower. So whether taking on a single day, a week or a couple of months on the road, you will experience highs and lows, and the joy of seeing the world at the speed of a bike.

Q - Why should people considering the full 64 day 6,700km Countrywide Great Tour next year take part?

Mark - 64 days for the very undulating coastline of Britain is a serious undertaking and it would be well advised to take on a series of smaller challenges to build up experience, so joining for a few stages of this years tour would be a good idea. And for those wondering if they are capable of a mammoth 4,200 miles, just imagine that accolade, more than the coast to coast of America and an incredible lifetime goal.

Q - What will be your next big challenge / Adventure?

Mark - For the rest of this year I have a book to write about cycling Cairo to Cape Town and training for another big World Record attempt on the bike in 2016… which should be announced later in the year. But over the summer months, I look forwards to some training miles around the coastline of Britain!

To follow the latest from The Countrywide Great Tour or join Mark Beaumont on Day 26 (Wednesday 29th July) between St Andrews and Musselburgh follow the links on our website; www.thegreattour.co.uk


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