British adventure cyclist blitzes NZ on 80-day circumnavigation record tilt
A record-breaking round-the-world cycling attempt blitzed through New Zealand last week, after departing from Invercargill.
Scottish adventure cyclist Mark Beaumont is aiming to shatter the world record for the fastest man-powered navigation of the globe - standing at 123 days - after setting an earlier record himself a decade ago, at 194 days.
The Artemis World Cycle 80 is attempting to emulate the achievement of Jules Verne's fictional character Phileas Fogg - who circumnavigated the globe in 80 days by hot air balloon - although this time by bicycle.
Beaumont and his team flew into Invercargill on August 14, before departing immediately on the Kiwi leg of his odyssey.
The 5-day, 1500km New Zealand leg was part of stage 2 of a 29,000km total, taking the seasoned adventurer through Europe, Russia, China, Australasia and North America, before returning to his July 2 Paris departure point - the Arc de Triomphe - before September 21.
Cycling Southland general manager Mark Hotton, who helped welcome the record-breaking team to Invercargill, said Beaumont's ride was "a pretty intense attempt."
"He's cycling 16 hours a day for 400km, and literally landed at the airport and jumped on the bike. He's aiming to beat the current world record by more than 40 days, which is just a staggering feat of endurance."
Beaumont's online blog recording his exploits describes some of the highs and lows of his extreme journey.
"It's taken its toll mentally, physically and emotionally. The changing weather conditions, logistics and time zones have all played their part. But, despite it all, I've actually loved every minute," he said.
New Zealand had required him to "dig deep," although he had been heartened by the support he'd received from Kiwi cyclists along the way.
"We've actually made a day on schedule now, which is an amazing buffer to have at this stage. It was an absolute high to reach Auckland, having had a peloton of riders keeping me company on my final day in New Zealand. The support's been pretty mindblowing."
Beaumont and his team began day 51 of his ride in Alaska on Sunday, marking the start of stage 3's 9400km to Halifax, Nova Scotia.