Last year, Mark Beaumont smashed the record to cycle round the world by circumnavigating the globe in 79 days. This year, he released a book. I haven’t given any spoilers as he tells us he succeeded in first few pages. Instead, he said he wanted to write a book to show how it was done, rather than could it be done. What did it take to cycle 16 hours every day for 79 days?
The answer was easy – be a dick.
On nearly every page the clear impression he gave was that he had to be a selfish dick who cared for nothing and nobody but riding his bike from before dawn to after dusk.
Shout at support crew? Scream at the camera man for not getting the right shots? Tear apart the team manager for taking the wrong road?
He did it all. And you have to, kind of, respect him for it.
Not the attitude but his honesty in revealing that’s what he became in order to be someone who could focus on cycling every unrelenting waking moment.
As such it’s refreshing to read a book which shows how far an athlete has to go in order to be the best at something. And the cost it has on their relationships and support in order to do that.
Was it worth it? It’s difficult to tell, without actual spoilers about the end of the race, but I would recommend reading the book and finding out.
Interestingly, we went to a talk by Mark a few weeks ago in Glasgow. He revealed at the start that after his previous adventures – cycling the world, the Americas and Africa – he was always approached after every show by people who wanted to emulate him. But this time, he said, not one person had asked him about racing the world. Which perhaps shows, that while many people will dream of a BIG ADVENTURE, very few people dream of becoming dicks in the process.
Kind of a nice thought, actually. Most folk just want to be nice.