Round-the-world cyclist Mark Beaumont has completed his 13,000-mile, nine-month trip down the longest mountain range on the planet.
The 27-year-old set off in May to cycle the length of the American Cordillera, which runs from the Alaskan Ranges past the Rockies to the Andes. Starting in Anchorage, Alaska he made his way to Ushuaia at the foot of Argentina.
As he approached the end of his epic ride yesterday he kept his followers updated via Twitter, writing: “Screaming downhill now! … I can see the ocean! Still a long way off but I can see the finish … Right, I am on a dirt track now trying to reach the water … I have made it!”
He later added: “Wasn’t expecting to be so blown over by making it! … It was the perfect spot to reach. On a pebble beach looking across a huge bay with snow peaked mountains all around – unforgettable … I feel elated, exhuasted & very, very hungry!”
Along the route, Beaumont, from Bridge of Cally, Perthshire, left his bike behind to scale the two highest mountains in the Americas – Mount McKinley and Aconcagua. Travelling alone for weeks on end, he battled extreme temperatures, altitude, isolation, food poisoning and fatigue.
On his blog, he wrote: “I’m ecstatic to be here, it has been my dream and focus for so long – but also a small part of me is sad that the simple but tough life of bike and camera has come to an end, again, at least for now! Most of all I am looking forward to seeing friends and family who I haven’t seen since last May and getting to see the documentary which I have been filming all along!”
Beaumont held the world record for the fastest true circumnavigation of the world by bicycle after covering 18,296 miles in 194 days and 17 hours in 2008. However, last year his record was beaten by three weeks by fellow Briton James Bowthorpe.
On his blog, he said: “This journey has been so different than cycling around the world. I have gone at a pace which has allowed me to experience the world I was passing, and the scale of the online blogging has transformed the whole experience for me. I would like to thank everyone who has been following and especially those who have commented and contributed regularly.”
The BBC have filmed parts of his journey for a documentary called The Man Who Cycled The Americas. The first part will be shown on 23 March at 10.35pm on BBC1. So, is this the end of Beaumont’s adventures? Not likely. He’s already promised on Twitter: “It won’t be my last expedition!!!”
Days in the saddle: 268
Distance travelled: 13,080 miles (21,050km)
Average number of miles travelled each day: 75 (121km)
Countries visited: 12
Weight of kit carried: 40kg (88lb)