Around the world in 80 days...on 2 wheels

18,000 miles on, Scot will cy­cle into Paris af­ter 11 weeks of 4am starts, a shat­tered tooth, a bro­ken el­bow, (only) 1 near miss with a car and ‘tor­ture’ at every meal

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Femail - By El­lie Forbes

HE is on the brink of achiev­ing what many thought was im­pos­si­ble – cy­cling around the world in 80 days.

On Tues­day, Scots ad­ven­turer and ul­tra-ath­lete Mark Beau­mont is due to ar­rive back in Paris to com­plete an 18,000-mile bik­eride that has taken him right round the planet.

Ahead of his tri­umphant re­turn – which should see him smash 43 days off the ex­ist­ing world record – he spoke to The Scot­tish Mail on Sun­day to re­veal the highs and lows of his gru­elling trip.

Cy­cling for 16 out of every 24 hours, he has cov­ered 240 miles a day. En route he has en­dured the freez­ing win­ter tem­per­a­tures of New Zealand, the pow­er­ful winds of Alaska – and scorch­ing heat.

And aside from ex­haus­tion and aching limbs, the ath­lete has faced some se­ri­ous set­backs – from smash­ing his face on the road and break­ing his tooth and el­bow in Moscow to cheat­ing death in Mel­bourne.

Now, the cy­cling le­gend is on his fi­nal stretch of the jour­ney – which brings to life Jules Verne’s clas­sic novel Around the World in Eighty Days – and is set to ar­rive in Paris on Tues­day.

Speak­ing with ‘just’ 1,000 miles to

‘I had a lot say­ing it was im­pos­si­ble’

go – fa­ther-of-two Mr Beau­mont, 34, said: ‘This has been a dream and a plan for years, an ob­ses­sion you might say, but it’s ab­so­lutely bru­tal out here. For the last two months, I have been rid­ing 16 hours a day, do­ing 240 miles a day and sleep­ing five hours a night. In mind and body, it’s be­yond any­thing I have ever done be­fore. But it has gone to plan – and looks like I might be able to get the 80 days, which most peo­ple doubted.’

Mr Beau­mont set off from Paris on July 2, and hav­ing crossed 14 coun­tries across Europe, Asia, Aus­tralia, New Zealand, and North Amer­ica – where tem­per­a­tures have var­ied be­tween 24C and mi­nus ten, with ter­rain which has var­ied from ex­cru­ci­at­ing 4,000m a day climbs to dead straight roads stretch­ing for 90miles, he is now mak­ing his way back to France.

He con­quered the world on his bike ten years ago, where, un­sup­ported, he set a then-record of 194 days.

He said: ‘What I did ten years ago, at the time, was con­sid­ered a big step for­ward. But this feels much big­ger than any­thing else I have done. There was a huge amount to prove. I had a lot of peo­ple say­ing it was im­pos­si­ble.’

Mr Beau­mont starts cy­cling at 4am and has to de­vour 9,000 calo­ries a day con­tain­ing around 30-40g of pro­tein, the equiv­a­lent of about four to six eggs, in each meal. This is made up of numer­ous break­fasts through­out the morn­ing of yo­gurt, fruit, smooth­ies and scram­bled eggs – and then hefty evening meals based around a car­bo­hy­drate of pasta or rice.

He said: ‘When I get off the bike, for 20 mins at a time every four hours, I get a painful deep tis­sue mas­sage whilst I throw down food. I’m look­ing for­ward to hav­ing a meal and not be­ing tor­tured at the same time, as well as get­ting a proper night’s sleep and not get­ting up at half three in the morn­ing.’

Mr Beau­mont said his high­lights were cy­cling through Mon­go­lia and the Gobi Desert – as well as re­vis­it­ing places he had cy­cled through ten years ago.

But he also de­scribed the many dan­gers he has faced. He said: ‘On day nine, just east of Moscow, at half five in the morn­ing, in heavy rain and dark­ness, I cy­cled over what looked like stand­ing wa­ter but it was ac­tu­ally a hole. I hit the road with my face and left arm, and broke one of my front teeth. I could just feel bro­ken teeth and taste blood and I gave my­self a hair­line frac­ture in my left el­bow. Try­ing to heal a bust el­bow while rid­ing 16 hours a day is not ideal.

‘Also, the sup­port ve­hi­cle had a se­ri­ous crash in Mel­bourne where a lo­cal driver tail ended it and wrote off both ve­hi­cles.

‘If I had been on the road just a me­tre to my right, the driver prob­a­bly would have killed me.’

ROAD RUN­NER: Mark Beau­mont bar­rels across Rus­sia in his epic bike ride

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