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Mark Beaumont: 'I don't want the next 20 years of my career to be the same as the first 20'

Emma Cole
4 May 2022

The Scottish ultracyclist on a brutal ride around Britain, fell running and his next 20 years

‘My X factor is my ruthless consistency and ability to suffer.’

That pretty much sums up Mark Beaumont and his various ultra-endurance adventures which have taken him all around the world, and then some.

The ultra-endurance cyclist, and around the world record holder, rode 3,500-miles around Britain supported by a team of 18 in 2017 which he did as a training ride for his around the world record attempt.

The documentary, Around Britain, shows the highs and lows of the ride, and whilst it has been five years since he cycled around Britain, the ride is still very much in Beaumont’s mind.

Image credit: Moonsport

 

‘It was such an awful, brutal ride and I massively underestimated it,’ explains the now 39-years-old Scottish cyclist.

‘The coastline of Britain is pretty unrelentingly hilly. There are sections where you get respite, like coming down through the Scottish Borders, and Northumberland, but then the Yorkshire Dales are brutal.

‘I chose Britain because I wanted people to be able to relate to it and get people excited by a dream.’

But it proved to be the opposite of a confidence boost ahead of his world attempt: ‘It scared the hell out of me. I didn’t go fast enough or far enough each day.’

Teamwork and tolerance

Image credit: Moonsport

In several moments throughout the documentary, Beaumont becomes visibly frustrated with his team. ‘I get the blinkers on, sleep deprivation does that to you,’ he explains.

‘And you do become quite intolerant of distraction. You become very much about your momentum. So when people are not working off the same hymn sheet, or giving what you’re giving, I get very frustrated.’

Beaumont is taking on Race Across America (RAAM) in June, a 3,000-mile supported ride across 12 states, and will have many of the same team for this next challenge.

Image credit: Moonsport

Two team members of note are army veteran Mike Griffiths and physiotherapist and performance manager Laura Penhaul.

‘I like working with Mike because he's got a military background. He's very straight talking and we're kind of on the same page.

‘Laura is the same. She's very straightforward. Not everyone's used to that sort of high performance, quite disciplined environment, it's not as cuddly and soft as some people might like.’



Building resilience

Image credit: Moonsport

Now 39 years old, Beaumont is clearly conscious of avoiding injury.

‘I genuinely think when you get into the ultra-endurance space, the most important thing is not necessarily your power to rate or your strength, it is your resilience to injury,’ he explains.

‘I mainly fell run because it's bloody good fun, and I enjoy going out with my pals but also because fell running is great at building up all the small muscle balances around your knees and your ankles.

‘I'll fell run at least once, if not twice a week, which a lot of cyclists would think is crazy, because it's not complementing cycling, but I'm ultimately trying to make myself as tough as possible to the wear and tear.’

Notably, whilst Beaumont won’t be seen picking up weights in the gym, he is no a stranger to a plank.

‘And the other big thing is, especially when you're in the time trial bars, just having a really strong neck and core,’ he adds. ‘So, I don't do weights, I never touch weights, but I do quite a lot of body circuits.’

Cycling for the love of it

Image credit: Moonsport

For Beaumont, cycling is quite simply, the best.

‘I ride my bike because I love riding my bike. I've been doing this my entire life. And I absolutely love it. I would ride the bike if nobody was watching. I would ride the bike if I wasn't on television and nobody knew about it.’

But Beaumont isn’t interested in ultracycling events such as the Transcontinental Race (TCR) or the Two Volcano Sprint because they encompass places he has already cycled through.

‘I love the TCR and everything it stands for but it doesn't jump out to me because it feels like a part of what I've already done, explains Beaumont.

‘The thing with anything ultra-endurance, you've got to have a burning desire to do it because it is really, really hard. If the motivation isn’t there I am not going to do it.’

The changing narrative

Image credit: Markus Stitz

Whilst Beaumont is clearly a cyclist at heart, his path is changing.

‘For the first 20 years of my career, I've tried to really push the envelope as an ultra-endurance athlete, and I'll always be an athlete, I love adventuring. I love going out to wild places, and I hope in some way, it helps other people go out and chase their ambitions. But I don't want the next 20 years of my career to be the same as the first 20,’ he explains.

‘I've now made a conscious decision to try and do something utterly distinct and it is motivated by the stuff that worries me.’

By worries, Beaumont is referring to the changing climate.



Investing in climate technologies


Image credit: Markus Stitz

The ultra-endurance cyclist is part of a company called EOS Advisory which backs innovative technologies addressing global issues such as climate change.

‘I've got more awareness than most in terms of how the world is changing. The world that we live in, and the issues that are happening are not yesterday's, they continue to degrade the planet,’ he says.

‘I've decided to back companies which are focussed on science and technology, these tend to be B2B that might be creating the fabrics or the processes, but they're not actually the brands.

‘For example, the investment that we are making at the moment is a replacement for microplastics.’

These investment decisions are part of a wider picture of creating a global sustainable future.

‘We need transitionary technologies because there's no point in just investing in future technologies, pretending that the world that we live in doesn't exist.

‘If over the next 5, 10, 15 years, the big pollutants, industries like oil and gas, can clean up their act, they can create the change and be a part of the solution.

‘So we have to find technologies and integrate them into the big industries of the day, so that in 20 years’ time, they have evolved.

‘It's not a revolution, it's an evolution. And it starts with business.’


Image credit: Markus Stitz

But what about Beaumont’s own personal footprint? Does he offset it?

‘The honest answer is no. I do want to but I've got big questions about how you do that. I don't think planting more trees is always the answer. I think offsetting is one part of a much bigger equation.’

You can watch Mark Beaumont’s Around Britain documentary on GCN+ here.

Fancy some adventuring of your own? Read our introduction to bikepacking.

Featured image credit: Moonsport

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