British cyclist intending to break the World Record by covering 10,000 kilometres in 50 days has finished the Egyptian distance of his bid. Mark Beaumont left the country on April 15, as planned.
The ambitious undertaking began on April 10. The adventurer, who plans to add the fastest journey from Cairo to Cape Town to his list of World Records, started at Cairo Tower at 7:00 am. Officials from the British Embassy attended the send-off, there were also media representatives, including BBC and 30 cyclists from GBI Egypt and Train for Aim, who accompanied Mark out through the streets of Cairo to the toll gate at the Sukhna Road. The cyclist then had a great tailwind to the coast.
However, the very first day of his Africa Solo adventure was marked with a front tire blow out as he made a lunch stop. The sidewall of the tire had split, so he had to use his spare tire. Mark continued on to Zaafarana only to find his hotel, which took him 19 kilometres back. By this way, the distance he covered that day made 203 kilometres, 12 kilometres less than planned.
“Thanks to the team from the British Embassy in Cairo for their help with press and overseeing the start – and for all the cyclists from GBI Egypt and Train for Aim who joined for the first 40 kilometres. Also lots of ex-pay and Egyptian well-wishers on the start line – a wonderful send off. Feeling good on the bike. Split the sidewall after 100 miles which is a worry, so already riding on spare. And overshot hotel by 19 kilometres yesterday! Nothing worse than going back!! Had to stay at the hotel that I had told Egyptian police. Good tailwinds so far. That may change when I cut inland tomorrow”, Mark Beaumont wrote on his website.
Setting off at 5:30 am on April 11, Mark made up the lost distance and reached Hurghada despite a fierce side wind, covering 266 kilometres. The police followed him from the northern checkpoint to his hotel.
The next day Mark’s adventure started at 5:20 am ending in Luxor. It was not the hills or the distance but the wind was very sapping of Mark's energy, though he still managed to cover 280 kilometres.
Luxor to Aswan was an easier ride – flatter and shorter distance of 213 kilometres. In Aswan Mark was met by Mohamed Aboudu who was in convoy with him to Abu Simbel on Tuesday, April 14. Later that day he arrived at the Eskaleh Hotel for his last night in Egypt.
On April 15 Mark took the 6:00 am ferry and arrived in good time at the border crossing where it took a couple of hours to clear the paperwork and be on his way to Wadi Halfa, Sudan.
In only six days the athlete covered 1510 kilometres of 10,000 and left behind one of the eight countries on the route to his final goal – a new World Record, which is currently held by South African rider Keegan Longueira who finished his cycling tour in 59 days and 8 hours.
However, Mark Beaumont asserts, “this is not a race in a sense”. “I’m gonna go as fast as I can; it’s about going a pace for I can cover the miles each day – the next day, the next week for five weeks in a row and keep back going. My biggest worry is getting injure, is not being able to complete,” he said in his interview to BBC.
The athlete was undergoing six-month training in Cyprus, though he realizes that “it’s gonna be tough” travel as he will be forced to pedal through African countries during the noontide heat to be able to reach his aim.
The project is financed by LDC, Drum Property Group, Martin Currie, The Wood Foundation, Weir Group, Endura and Koga. Mark’s ambitious plans are supported by Oasis Travel, Tour d’Afrique Ltd and Lady Egypt Tours.
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