BEAUMONT REFLECTS ON AMERICAN EPIC

On Thursday afternoon, Mark Beaumont pedaled into Ushuaia, the capital of Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego region, and saw the sea. Reaching the world’s southernmost city signalled the end of his American odyssey, 13,080 miles and 268 days after leaving Anchorage in Alaska.

During the trip, Beaumont also scaled the highest peak in North and South America, Mount McKinley and Aconcagua.



Both relieved and ecstatic at the finish, Beaumont admitted that the achievement hadn’t sunk in yet, though he could appreciate his good fortune on the road.



“As well as pushing it for nine months, I feel lucky for getting the miles done without any accidents – I had three crash on the world trip,” he said, referring to the then-record world circumnavigation, which spawned a hit BBC documentary and book.



In the wake of that success, making a documentary was the drive behind this expedition. So, instead of clocking miles, Beaumont was more focused on taking in experiences – though he still averaged 70 miles a day.



“When I went round the world, it was 100 miles a day and I was filming for a documentary as a secondary goal. With blogging online and whatnot, this was a much bigger job.”



Over the course of his journey, Beaumont ran the whole gamut of emotions, from fear to elation and disillusionment.



“Up in Canada, you’re pedalling along with bears and bisons on the roadside – on the bike, you feel pretty vulnerable! Further down, the Atacama Desert was one of the most awe-inspiring places I’ve ever biked. There’s just nothing, it’s an immense place to get to,” he gushed.



His lowest ebb came in Ecuador. “There were some very bad roads in the high ridges of the Andes. I was really battling there – it was the only point in the expedition where – though I didn’t think about giving up – I did realize how far I had to go, thinking ‘this is not possible.” Beaumont had to endure food poisoning and bicycle problems for this stretch.



With all that time in the saddle, Beaumont had a good chance to dream up his next unique expedition. However, he’s keeping schtum for now. “I’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s coming up next… but I tend not to publicise it till I’ve got the means to make it happen,” he said coyly.



To read Beaumont’s ‘Riding the Americas’ blog, visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/cyclingtheamericas/



The first part of the The Man Who Cycled the Americas documentary airs on BBC1 on March 23 at 10.35.

Mark Beaumont East Lothian ride

Beaumont on a training ride in East Lothian





CAVENDISH TAKES FOURTH IN FIRST SPRINT FINISH OF 2010


Mark Cavendish today finished fourth in his first sprint finish of 2010, the second stage of the Ruta del Sol.



The Manxman placed fourth at the end of the 182km stage from Otura to Cordoba, won by Spain’s Oscar Freire.



Cavendish has had a difficult winter with dental problems blighting his training, although with season objectives as far ahead as the World Championships, he is unlikely to be panicking just yet.



The Ruta del Sol continues tomorrow with a 162km stage from Marbella to Benahavis.





COPENHAGEN SANDS TRACK IN HOPE OF WORLD RECORD

Not strictly British news, but it could well be of interest to British track riders preparing to win medals at the upcoming Track World Championships in Copenhagen.



Ballerup Super Arena in Copenhagen is currently being sanded to make it look brand new for the World Championships from March 24 to 28.




The sanding will not only bring back the light colour to the wood but also make it more even and faster.



The organisers expect world-class performances and maybe even world records. This could mean the downfall of the magical 4.11-114, set by Chris Boardman in 1996 in the individual pursuit, with Jack Bobridge and Taylor Phinney both having come close to breaking it recently.



Copenhagen track arena

Sanding in process in Copenhagen