Yorkshireman Mike Hall has obliterated the round-the-world cycle record, arriving back in Greenwich on Monday just 91 days and 18 hours after his departure from the same point in February.
His monumental 18,000-mile ride, which works out at almost 200 miles a day, eclipses Alan Bate’s previous benchmark of 106 days by a full fortnight. Yet he still managed a wry apology to supporters at the finish line for being late after arriving later than planned just after midday.
Hall, who had a double reason to celebrate after turning 31 on the day of his return, didn’t have it all his own way during the race and a video he posted back in April in Australia demonstrated the physical and mental toll it was taking. He somehow managed to pull himself together and haul himself across the US and up through Europe.
“I think I had a lot of the emotions in the last few weeks on the roads,” he said. “It was quite difficult and I think it builds up – the stress.
“So I kind of released all that in the last few days. Now I just feel pretty calm, actually. There’s been some moments, some kind of breakdowns, but I keep the breakdowns on the bike, I don’t stop for those”.
He believed there was further scope to shave even more time off the record and reckons “around the world in 80 days” is a legitimate target.
Those legs must ache…
Hall becomes the latest in a long line of cyclists who have broken the record, which was kick-started in 2008 by Mark Beaumont, whose time of 194 days seems an age away. The man he replaces as the record holder, Alan Bate, received support at various points of his attempt, which makes his achievement all the more remarkable. The previous “unsupported” benchmark was Vin Cox with 163 days.
Monday brought to a close the World Cycle Racing Grand Tour, which saw 12 riders from around the globe depart from Greenwich Observatory on 18 February in pursuit of the record. Various accidents and incidents have befallen many and only four others are still on the road.
But it was clear from the outset only one man was capable of getting anywhere Bate’s record and in circumnavigating the world in under 92 days, Hall has ridden his way into the record books.