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Immerse yourself in the UK's toughest endurance race with Shimano's beautiful GBDURO documentary

Emma Cole
14 Dec 2021

How Mark Beaumont won the grueling off-road end-to-end race

Shimano’s 20-minute documentary Maiden Race showcases British long-distance cyclist Mark Beaumont’s epic GBDURO victory.

The 2000km self-supported bikepacking race from Land's End to John O'Groats on road, gravel, and single-track, is arguably the toughest endurance race in the UK.

Currently the round-the-world record holder, Beaumont won the grueling GBDURO in August 2021 and finished in 135 hours, 24 minutes (approx. 5 ½ days).

250 competitors applied for the 60 places available and navigated notoriously tough terrain including Snowdonia National Park, the Yorkshire Dales and the Scottish Highlands.

However, by the time the riders left Wales on stage 2, over half the field had given up.

By the finish post in the very north of Scotland, only 14 riders were left.

‘Truly one of the most punishing rides on bike, body and mind, there were no easy miles across such relentless terrain,’ says Beaumont.

‘The film itself shows the wonderful culture of gravel and ultra-endurance racing.

‘I loved how the youngest competitor was 19 and the oldest 59, that five of the top ten finishers were women and everyone, regardless of their day job, their background or their ability level, was taking on a magnificently difficult race as a way of exploring, pushing their boundaries, and ultimately creating timeless memories.’

Mark rode an Argon18 Dark Matter with Shimano GRX Di2 groupset (2×11, 48-31 crankset, 11-34 cassette), plus PRO Discover 30 degrees flared handlebars, Pro Missile Evo ski-bend extensions with Di2 remote TT/Tri bar-end shift buttons, and a PRO Stealth offroad saddle.

Shot by film-maker Markus Stitz and narrated by Beaumont, the film highlights the challenges and drama of the victory as well as the commitment to the race ethos from the film crew.

Stitz and his crew used only public or human-powered transport to record all the footage, following the GBDURO ethos of no flying, leave no trace, and no outside assistance.

‘I wanted this documentary to show the beauty and diversity of bikepacking racing,’ explains Stitz.

‘The gritty moments when the going gets almost impossible, but also the grandeur of being outside in occasions that make up for the hard work.

‘The best moments happened in the most remote places, and those moments are captured here to tell the story of GBDURO 2021.’

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