I’ve just finished reading this book and if you like reading about extreme endurance and personal challenges then you’ll enjoy this as much as I did.
The book follows his 195 day journey 18,000 miles around the world in 2007 and 2008, smashing the world record by an incredible 81 days. The book is broken down into legs – broadly Europe, Asia, South-East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, US and the race back through Europe.
Mark seems to be disarmingly honest about the problems he faced, the battles with himself and sometimes the guilt he felt trying to stay cocooned and focussed in his own “zone”. He is open about the times where his lack of preparation let him down (in the US and Spain for example), and how much he depended on the base camp his mum had established. It offers a unique perspective into the day-to-day challenges faced when riding such vast distances and manages to both inspire you and yet put you off at the same time! Mostly the former I have to say.
It’s a long book (nearly 600 pages) and as Mark was attempting to break the record there was little time for sightseeing or sustained interaction with the cultures and places he travelled through, so it does read a little bit like a logbook. If you don’t enjoy that style this may not be for you. Having said that it still has a good proportion of heart-warming cameo stories of the kindness of the human race. And also some of the dangers, although not in the places you may expect. The last sections are about his race to the finish and even though you already know the outcome he still manages to give it some suspense and tension.
It’s not perfect. I’d have liked more about his preparation, and more about how he adjusted post-ride, but I thoroughly enjoyed the read and I have nothing but admiration and respect for him.
You can follow Mark on twitter here
You can buy the book here