Review of Mark Beaumont’s ‘The Man who Cycled the World’

Unsurprisingly with lots of snow still lying on the pavements our club Christmas Handicap Race was postponed for tonight. We are hoping to try again on Monday 3rd January.

I didn’t fancy taking my motorbike to work today as some of the roads still look quite icy. So I caught the train in and ran home.

I decided to do a longer route home and finished up just over 9miles. I ran with my Yaktraxs on. They are working really well on the snow/ice on the pavements and cycle track. Murdo warned about their limitations on sheet ice so hopefully all those using them will be careful.

It was quite foggy and dark for the majority of the run. When I arrived home I noticed half the Yaktrax on my right foot was on top of my foot instead of underneath! When I took off my shoe I realised that one of coils has broken.
I ran the whole way on snow except for the odd road I had to cross. So not sure if I need a large size rather than the medium. I may have which them as they are stretched quite tight. I think I can still use them but I’ve only ran 25miles with them on!
I’ve just finished Mark Beaumont’s book, ‘The Man who Cycled the World.’ I heard Mark speak a couple of times in October and was looking forward to reading the book and it didn’t disappoint.

Mark set out from Paris on 5th August 2007 to break the world record for cycling around the world. I’ve watched the BBC documentary’s but in the book Mark obviously has more time to go into details of how he achieved it.

The book is split into the various sections of the route which really helps with the flow of the material. Cycling through Asia or Australia or America are very different and Mark deals with that well.

Interestlingly Mark found some parts of the Western world (America and Spain for example) more difficult partly because he hadn’t researched as thoroughly as other countries that he anticipated would be more difficult or raise more issues.

Even though Mark rode unsupported and was on his own for the majority of the trip it was clear that his Mum back at home played a massive role in helping him achieve his goal. In the final chapter of the book his Mum writes about it from her perspective which was helpful.

Ever since I’ve got into ultra running I’ve been fascinated by endurance events and seeing just how far we can push ourselves.

Mark set out to ride 100miles a day for 18,000miles. The record at the time was 276days and Mark felt he could do it in 195days. Throughout the book it is clear that Mark was so focused on achieveing his 100miles a day. He didn’t have time to really explore the countries he rode through.

The odd time he took time to look around or stay with people where the times he lost his focus and fell behind time.

I think the thing I enjoyed most about the book was the way Mark wrote about the mental and physical challenges of riding 100miles a day, day after day, week after week and month after month.

The daily routine of riding that far, finding enough food and water to fuel him and then somewhere to stay or camp were the only things that really mattered.

He didn’t focus on the end but concentrated on each day and trusted that the big picture would take care of itself. When he set off from Paris his first major objective was to get to Istanbul (2,200miles).

Then once he got there his next objective was Calcutta and so on. Then within each leg he just looked after each day, making sure he was keeping to time and distance.

I related to that on a smaller scale. When I set off to run the 95mile West Highland Way Race my first objective is Drymen (12miles) but within that I have four 3-4 mile mini-sections to concentrate on.

Mentally it’s the only way to do it as to concentrate on the big picture is too overwhelming whether it’s cycling 18,000 miles or running 95miles.

I found there were lots of gems in the book which I could learn from and appreciate. For example Mark was very good at dealing with the things that he could influence or change and leaving the things he couldn’t to his Mum!

When I heard Mark speak I wondered just how you go about organising a trip like this and I was pleased to see that the book answers those questions really well.

So I would thoroughly recommend the book. It’s easy to read and you really get caught up in the challenge of trying to break the record for cycling around the world.

It was a great achievement and has set Mark up to be able to fund other expeditions. I look forward to reading his next book which describes the America’s trip he next.

Mon 20th Dec Run Details
9.13miles in 1hr 13mins 42secs (8.04pace)

This entry was posted in Easy run, Mark Beaumont. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Review of Mark Beaumont’s ‘The Man who Cycled the World’

  1. I'll need to add that one to my Amazon list. I'm reading Sharon Gayter's book just now, which is actually really good. Will lend you it when I finished.

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