Mark Beaumont, LDC ambassador and ultra-endurance cyclist, is currently on target to achieve the impossible. As we write this, he is on his final stretch of one epic endurance challenge – an attempt to cycle around the world in 80 days.
Mark has been LDC’s ambassador for more than a decade and it was important for us, both as sponsors and friends of Mark, to show our support on the road. Following close liaison with his team, we were parachuted into the project on day 77 and given the opportunity to experience ‘a day in the life’ of a truly remarkable athlete.
Mark is a machine. He has been cycling 16 hours a day since he set off form Paris on 2nd July, sleeping only for four to five hours a night. To say the conditions are tough is an understatement and it’s become clear that Mark’s journey has only been possible with the ruthless efficiency of the incredible team that surrounds him.
Mark is the central cog in a well-oiled machine, and it’s staggering to see how the meticulous choreography of his eight-strong team works in practice. They maintain an unwavering focus 24 hours a day, ensuring all his needs are met - be that food, physiotherapy, navigation or mechanical support - because irrespective of the conditions that surround him, Mark must focus on the most important task in hand: to never stop cycling and to never waste a single minute in his hunt to smash the world record!
Our day with Mark began in a small roadside motel in Pamplona, Spain. We set the alarm for 3.45am. The first challenge was finding him. Strong headwinds on day 76 meant he was 50 miles off target, so we jumped back in the van to drive south to Olite. Here, we assembled our bikes and waited.
Mark passed through the village at 6.30am and our day of experiencing life as a world record breaker began. We were in the saddle for 13 hours on Saturday, covering more than 190 miles, climbing more than 2000m and riding alongside Mark as he travelled through to Biarritz in France and on to Sanguinet, just 20 miles south west of Bordeaux.
Mark had already covered 60 miles by the time we joined him, so while our day began with a gentle hour to warm-up, it was during our second four hour non-stop session that enormity of the task in hand became clear. From here, we cycled for 12 hours with only a couple of short 15-minute breaks and throughout the day tackled driving rain and steep hill climbs. Conditions were cold, there was a small tumble, and we felt the pain. For the last three hours, we were only just hanging on and by the end we were exhausted.
It’s difficult for non-cyclists to compute just what Mark is on target to achieve. Few people have cycled more than 200 miles in a day, and to cover 240 miles every day continuously for two and a half months is truly off the scale as a feat of endurance.
This was an incredible experience. Both he and his team are true professionals, utterly focused on the task in hand. His ambition and determination means that no time is lost at any point, and despite circumnavigating the world, Mark’s hardly seen any of it. His eyes have only ever been on the road ahead of him.
Mark should be incredibly proud of what he is about to achieve and it was an honour to join him on what was only a small portion of his challenge.
Please show your support to Mark and donate to his chosen charity to support - https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ldcfollowsmark.
We can’t wait to see him cross that finish line later today!
Richard Whitwell and Pete Latham, Investment Directors, LDC