I was absorbed by this book right from the start. You would think that by reading an account of the same distance cycled ( roughly) every day of the challenge would become a little 'samey'? Not at all! Every day was so different - the physical, mental, emotional challenges, the people who rode with him, team dynamics, the countries he road through, the team members and their dynamics within it, the mammoth task that the team had to get Mark around the world, the panic /nerves as they raced for flights and ferries, the science behind the time zone changes .... The list goes on. I have learnt so much about endurance riding. And I have to say that Laura Penhaul is one awesome multi talented woman! I can't praise this book enough. Love love love it. Incredible achiement by Mark and his team.
If, like me, you loved following Mark Beaumont's incredible world record breaking cycle around the planet in 80 days, then you will love this book! It really gets under the bonnet of the expedition and I loved reading about the planning stages (which sounded pretty intense on their own), the importance of the team and the mental and physical task of undertaking this huge feat. There's a great geeky stats section at the back where you can see the daily elevation etc. and it's really feels like following the whole experience again but just more in depth! The only thing I would say is that it could have done with an extra chapter with afterwards as it's interesting to know how you come down both mentally and physically from this experience. Loved it though, congrats to Mark!
Having eagerly followed Mark's record-breaking solo World and Americas adventures a few years ago, his Around the World in 80-Days quest had me glued every day to social media and to the daily video updates documenting his incredible journey. But social media and the videos only told us part of that story. The book explains what the videos couldn't. Mark reveals in this book the meticulous planning and preparation and how desperately close his record bid almost came to failure for the sort of events that you cannot really plan for like sickness, accidents, delays and complications at closed border crossings, tropical storms, the relentless headwinds, breakdowns in communication and the sometimes strained relationships that can develop between key team members when they are pushed right to the limit. How Mark is able to deal with all the uncertainties and 'what ifs?' that must constantly rumble through his mind with every passing mile, in addition to coping with the extreme tiredness and the agony of riding 240 miles each day for 79 days and yet he still manage to keep a ready sense of optimism about his chances, is an inspiration and a lesson to us all. Chapeau, Mark!
One would have thought that reading 78 days of biking would not be so interesting? Absoluteley not!! It was thrilling! Plus the drama of the difficulties along the way. What an amazing athlete! How did he have the will to keep going with so little sleep and so much pain? A great team with him. An amazing achievement which is not going to be beaten any time soon! Many congratulations!!!
Quite often one reads of incredible acts of endurance but this book is an amazing exposition of the honest turmoil faced not only by the 'rider' but also by the incredible support and logistics teams that enabled the achievement to be a success. A huge achievement on every level.
Even after following Mark's circumnavigation each day as it happened it's been fascinating to read in more detail what happened on the road each day. A real insight into how the human body can work in such extreme circumstances in terms of weather, distance and fatigue. However I can't help but think that he could have been even more honest at times and written more about his suffering, mental fatigue and opinion of those he met along the way. For more such details there's an excellent Q&A with GCN on YouTube.