Ring of happiness around record-breaking ride by Duns cyclist Robbie

One of Berwickshire's best-known sportsmen has set a new record in a charity venture to aid causes close to his heart – with an extra-personal touch into the bargain.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 12:54 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th June 2021, 12:55 pm
Robbie Mitchell (picture by Zbigniew Adam Nowak Photography)

Racing and long-distance cyclist Robbie Mitchell has shorn more than two hours off the fastest time for solo pedalling around the North Coast 500 (NC500) tourist route – setting a new sub 30-hour target for future challengers.

The 40-year-old, from Duns, recently completed the 516-mile route – with a 32,000-foot ascent – around the Black Isle, Caithness, Easter Ross, Inverness-shire, Sutherland and Easter Ross in 29 hours, five minutes and 42 seconds.

He has also raised over £3070 for a charity supporting educational causes around his home area of Durness in northern Scotland.

It’s only five years or so since Robbie, an agricultural engineer, took up competitive and endurance cycling but he enjoys the individual time trial nature of the training. “You are only really racing the clock or yourself,” he said. “I like that because you really get out what you put in.”

Previously an avid motorsport enthusiast, he teamed up with driver Garry Pearson to win the RSAC Scottish Rally championship in 2016.

A member of Auchencrow Thistle Club, Robbie knew the NC500 presented a huge team effort. But he had determination, plus confidence in his training. “I knew it was a realistic challenge but it would be tough just to match the record, never mind beat it,” he said. The first 16 hours, containing most of the hills, might have been difficult but were actually quite controlled, so that was where he made his time up. But, after Durness, across the north coast to John O’Groats, he endured a “horrible headwind” for six or seven hours, which was “tough”.

Nevertheless, he was thrilled with his accomplishment. “I promised myself I wasn’t going to leave anything on the road and I would absolutely empty the tank,” he said. Unknown to anyone, Robbie carried an engagement ring in his pocket, next to his tracking device – and the next morning, he proposed to his partner of 14 years, Ann Lindsay – who accepted. “She is well deserving of it and it was extra motivation for myself,” he added.