Inverness cyclist has North Coast 500 record in his sights
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An Inverness amateur cyclist is looking to smash the North Coast 500 record – and raise vital funds for a local charity.
Gavin Dempster (32), who lives in the Holm Dell Park area of the city, will tackle the arduous 516-mile course, with over 33,000 feet of climbing, on Saturday September 12.
His aim is to not just beat, but shatter the four-year-old record of 31 hours and 23 minutes set by former pro-cyclist and Commonwealth Games medallist James McCallum.
That record ride on June 18, 2016, broke the initial solo record set by famous Scottish round the world cyclist Mark Beaumont by more than six hours.
The record tilt is accompanied by a fundraising effort for Highland Hospice.
Setting off at 8 am clockwise around some of the UK’s most isolated roads, Mr Dempster will be supported by Torvelo Racing team-mates, family and friends.
The Halfords bike mechanic and salesman is rated as one of Scotland's strongest amateur road riders and recently made a name for himself in the relatively new world of online
Placed third in the British National e-Racing championship in 2019, he more recently won the Tour of the Gila – an iconic real-world race that switched to the virtual world of e-sports amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Road racing is his forte, with a series of road and time trial wins decorating his CV. He has also tackled ultra-distance events and was placed fifth in the 2018 Transatlantic Way Race Around Ireland.
Mr Dempster said: “I joined Torvelo Racing last year, but was restricted by limited racing
opportunities due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I began to look for a new challenge in 2020, a new focus to fill the void.
“I knew it would need to be something a bit special after months of uncertainty and the allure of a special record, on a special route became too hard to resist.”
Since it was established in 2015, the NC500 has become recognised as one of the toughest challenges for endurance cyclists in the UK.
In 2015, the route was named fifth in the Top Five Coastal Routes in the World listing by Now Travel magazine, and is often described as Scotland's Route 66.
In August 2015, adventure cyclist Mark Beaumont established the solo record for the 516 mile-route, completing it in 37 hours and 58 minutes, broken a year later by Mr McCallum.
Mr Dempster’s progress on the day, with a 30 hour finish in his sights, can be followed here
Donations to Highland Hospice for the event are being accepted here