Welcome To Cycling The Americas
Hi, I'm Mark Beaumont. Last year I broke the round the world cycling record, which was made into the BBC series The Man Who Cycled The World.
Now I want to fulfil one of my other great ambitions - cycling the American Cordillera - the longest mountain range on the planet. It's going to take me around 8 months and you can be with me every step of way because I'll be travelling with latest satellite technology which will let me go online from anywhere on the journey and post updates, pics and video reports.
Cycling the world was difficult but this journey has the potential to be even harder. This time I'll be cycling at altitude and I'll also be climbing two highest mountains in the Americas, Denali (also known as Mount McKinley) in the North and Aconcagua in the Argentinean Andes.
As I write I am just ten days from the start in Anchorage and as you can imagine there's a lot going on. The final months of training and preparations for the Americas expedition have gone well. As with the training before the World Cycle, I have found that a lot of cross-training is the best preparation. This involves twice-weekly gym work, fell and road running, time on the bike and a lot of core strength and flexibility work.
It's going to be vital to be able to adapt from mountaineering to cycling then back again. This time my training has also meant getting used to an 80lb rucksack on my back and time spent at altitude - altitude sickness is one of the great unknowns as it has nor respect for your fitness.
Last week I was in Chamonix in the French Alps working with a mountain guide. After time spent learning rope techniques and carrying out lots of equipment checks, we headed up to 3600 meters for essential technical training where I learned how to use crampons and axes on mixed rock and ice routes. These will be much needed skills on both Aconcagua and Denali.
After two nights and three days at altitude, living on the glaciers next to Mont Blanc, I felt acclimatized and much more at ease with the exposure of high mountain climbing. Some very strong winds - and temperatures as low as -20 degrees Celsius - gave me a good insight into what it is likely to be like in Alaska where it may be twice as cold! Some of the routes which we climbed were very testing and certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone. However, once done they left me with a great sense of sense of achievement and confidence.
My text home on the last day read "Just off the mountain. Climbed the Petite Aiguilles Verte today 3600 metres. Tough mixed route but feeling much more confident on crampons and steep slopes. Back early as weather turned bad."
With just over a week until I fly to Anchorage there is a slight sense of trepidation, which I think is only natural. However, in truth, I can't wait to get back out on a great journey and am excited about the ability I have this time to share the expedition from the road.
This blog and all the social networks will keep you in the picture daily and help me push the boundaries for what is possible in an online expedition.
So do get in touch to let me know that you are on board for the journey from its very beginning all the way until we reach the south tip of Argentina in early 2010. I have to admit that this is my first time using blogs and social networks, so whether you are a seasoned veteran or a novice like me please follow me on this 15,000 mile adventure.
I would like this website to be so much more than just my stories and hope it will become a space for you to feedback, ask questions, or share your tales of journeys cycling the Americas and beyond.