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Durness native to attempt to break NC500 cycling record later this week


By Caroline McMorran

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A CYCLIST who hails from Durness is set on Thursday to undertake a fundraising attempt to break the NC500 cycling record.

Robbie Mitchell (40), who now lives in Duns, will endeavour to beat the current record of 31 hours, 19 minutes and eight seconds set by Josh Quigley.

Robbie Mitchell.
Robbie Mitchell.

The attempt will be undertaken under the supervision of the World Ultra Cycling Association and Robbie will be followed by an official vehicle.

He is using the challenge to raise money for the Edinburgh Sutherland Association which supports good causes across the county.

An experienced cyclist, Robbie has been training hard to ensure he is fit for the gruelling challenge.

He said: "The challenge has kept me focused throughout this mad time we have all been through over this last year.

"I am under no illusions of the scale of the challenge and realise that everything will have to fall into place for me to be in with a chance of getting near the time required. I have a great team around me that have been with me through the years.

"I hope my challenge will inspire others, especially young folk in Sutherland, to get on their bikes."

Robbie intends to make a midnight start on Wednesday into Thursday and anyone interested can follow his progress on a live tracker.

He said: "I keep getting asked if I can stop. Of course I can but the clock won't stop.

"I can use a many different bikes as required throughout the ride - anything goes, just no ebikes, recumbent or tandems. Again, any time stopped to swap bikes or kit doesn't stop the clock.

"I can only receive help or food from my support van, from the registered helpers. They are allowed to hand up food and drink from the moving van although this is limited to four times per hour and a maximum of one minute at a time.

"In all honesty, as anyone who knows the route will understand, this isn't an option on large parts of the route, given the single-track roads, so we will use pre-planned places.

"The route itself is well known now but I have to follow and pass through the list of waypoints, where progress will be recorded by the officials in a separate follow vehicle.

"As far as I know there are only two shortcuts on the route, one in Durness where you can choose a short steep climb or a longer steady loop -probably half a mile difference. The second is in Tongue but this time the waypoint dictates the longer option on the main road.

"Also, in the past people have turned into John o Groats and round the mini roundabout at the signpost. As the waypoint is actually at the T junction beforehand, I don't intend to do this unless I feel the need for a picture after 400 miles!"

Edinburgh Sutherland Association president Andrew Mackenzie said: "I am delighted that Robbie has decided to support the association. I encourage everyone to sponsor Robbie as he bids to be our very own record-breaker."

Mark Beaumont originally set the benchmark time for the 516 loop, then James McCallum took several hours off the time in 2016 before Josh Quigley took the record.

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