DUNS cyclist Dougie Robertson joined record breaking around the world cyclist Mark Beaumont last week to launch Scotland’s first ever 24-hour cycling endurance track event, in aid of ENABLE Scotland, a charity he’s no stranger to.
The race will take place on October 5 and 6 at Knockhill Racing Circuit and cyclists will come together in an attempt to cycle the world in 24 hours - by covering the 18,296 mile distance cycled by Mark when he made his world record.
Dougie, who is a member of Berwick Wheelers cycling club and long term supporter of ENABLE Scotland got on his bike at Knockhill with Mark and clocked up a few trial laps.
The endurance event is being billed as the ‘ultimate cycling challenge’ and teams of four and solo riders are being invited to race day and night around the 1.3 mile circuit.
And Dougie, although keen to get his fellow Wheelers involved, already has designs on completing the mission on his own.
“I’m planning on getting a team together for the challenge but I have a real fancy for doing it myself,” he told ‘The Berwickshire’.
“Obviously, given the amount of time you’re expected to cycle I’ll need to have a break so I can get a rest and get some food and drink inside of me but I’d like to think I could complete it.
“I’m going to ask the other members at our meeting this week and I think they’ll be up for it although fundraising snookers some people; it’s a big ask to raise a lot of cash.
“I think I must have the knack for talking people out of money!”
And it’s a skill that has certainly served Dougie well over the years and his fundraising was probably the very reason ENABLE singled him out to appear alongside Mark Beaumont at the challenge launch.
“I’ve done quite a bit of work for ENABLE over the years - I’d say I’ve raised about £50,000 over the course of 13 years.
“Most of it has come from doing static bike rides in Morrisons, Berwick where I’d do about 140 miles in one sitting.
“Although you’re doing it indoors and on the flat it’s actually a lot harder than the races I do with the Wheelers; it requires a completely different approach.
“I was really honoured to be asked to appear at the launch by ENABLE but I’d like to think thanks to all the fundraising I’ve done I’d be quite high in their thoughts when it came to choosing someone.
“A lot of people fundraise for them though and out of everyone they could have chosen I’m really pleased it was me.”
Getting to cycle alongside Mark was a once in a lifetime moment for Dougie and it wasn’t one he prepared for lightly at all.
In order to impress the world record holder he embarked on an impressive ride of his own.
“When you meet someone like Mark Beaumont you can’t not have something interesting to talk to him about,” Dougie continued.
“So once I found out I was going to be at the launch and I’d get the chance to meet Mark I decided to ride from Eyemouth to Ayr and back in one day- 267.55 miles to be precise.
“I looked at my car clock before I set off and it read 2.01am and when I looked at it on my return it was nearly 10pm. It was worth it though and Mark seemed quite impressed!”
If Dougie and his Berwick Wheelers club mates decide to enter the 24 hour challenge at Knockhill they will be with in a chance of securing an invitation to be one of the first to cycle the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome when it opens this autumn. Top fundraisers will also win the chance to cycle the Velodrome.
Speaking about the event, Mark Beaumont said: “This is a completely unique and brilliant challenge - cyclists to become ‘Le Mans’ style circuit racers for 24 hours. I love such imaginative physical and psychological two wheeled challenges! I am certainly excited to be launching one of Scotland’s most extreme cycling challenges, especially as it is raising the profile and essential funds for ENABLE Scotland, a fantastic Scottish charity.”
ENABLE Scotland’s Assistant Director of Funding, Hazel Mcilwraith believes this will become an annual event which will attract cyclists from Scotland and beyond saying: “This is the ultimate cycling challenge for individual riders and teams. As well as embarking on an incredible personal challenge riders will also be doing something amazing for ENABLE Scotland - helping us continue supporting people who have a learning disability and campaigning to ensure every child, young person and adult is given every opportunity to make the most of life.
“I think people will see this as their one big challenge of the year and it will attract people from all walks of life.”