World-beating Edinburgh cyclist Mark Beaumont to attempt to win back North Coast 500 bike record

Round the world cyclist Mark Beaumont is to attempt to win back his North Coast 500 bike record because it’s “hard enough for the outcome to be unknown”.

The Edinburgh-based rider will challenge himself to complete the 500-mile circuit in fewer than 29 hours – nine hours faster than when he set the record in 2015.

It will mean having to maintain an average speed of nearly 18mph regardless of the weather when he embarks on the bid in two weeks’ time.

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Beaumont told The Scotsman: “It’s a stunning part of Scotland and it’s incredibly difficult.

Mark Beaumont on his 2015 North Coast 500 cycle. Picture: Johny Cook
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“I’m not going into it thinking I can just crack that and get the record back.

"I want to do things where it’s hard enough for the outcome to be unknown.

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"I like things which are just out of reach and you’ve really got to put everything on the table in terms of performance and logistics to be able to do it.”

Beaumont said the NC500 was “still my favourite endurance route in the UK on road”.

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Mark Beaumont on the Bealach na Ba section of the North Coast 500 in 2015. Picture: Johny Cook

He said the hardest part would be a “absolutely stunning but brutal” stretch between Lochinver and Durness in the north west, which features most of its nearly 10,000m of ascent.

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Beaumont said: “Everyone talks about the Bealach na Ba, one of the most fearsome climbs in the UK – otherwise known as the Applecross pass – but it is just 600m up and 600m down.

"It’s a long, gradual climb so it’s not that scary for a professional athlete. You just push up it.

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“The roads further north are nowhere near as impressive in terms of climbing mountains, but they’re just constantly steep inclines and declines.

"You can never hold a pace or stay in a gear for longer than a minute.

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“It’s just unrelenting.”

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Beaumont’s new record attempt, on an Argon 18 time trial bike, will be filmed by Global Cycling Network for a GCN+ documentary to be released by the end of the year.

He said: “The record now stands at 29 hours and six mins, set by Robbie Mitchell in 2019.

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"I’ve watched in awe and with interest as the [35-hour] record I set in 2015 has been broken time and time again.

"I love seeing that – where people take something I have been involved in and raise it to the next level.

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"I’ve always loved the broadcasting element.

"It’s equally as important as the record breaking because you can leverage that personal ambition to inspire people to explore Scotland, get out on their bikes and push for their own dreams.

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"That’s a big motivation for me – and hopefully we can break the record and tell an inspiring story.”

Beaumont said he didn’t expect traffic on the single-track sections to slow him down.

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He said: “There’s never not room for you to get past on a bike.

"I’ve never had an issue on those roads.

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"Even if you have to slow down slightly to get past, there’s always space.”

Instead, he said weather was the key: "If it’s windy. that’ll be the biggest detrimental factor.”

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The GCN+ documentary will follow its other films charting his exploits including Around the World in 80 Days in 2017 and this year’s Race Across America attempt, which was abandoned after his cycling partner contracted Covid.

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