76,156 Miles: Kurt Searvogel Breaks Highest Annual Mileage Record
If you recall, we ran an article early last year about a couple of attempts at the long-standing (since 1939) record for most annual miles. That record, 75,065, was held by Tommy Godwin, a Brit who was 26 when he set the record, long since thought to be unbreakable.
There were three serious attempts at the record last year, and as you might imagine, it’s the sort of pursuit that requires pristine luck above all else. Turns out, that luck held out for only one of the three. We won’t get into the details about the other two, but one, Steven Abraham, 42, has restarted his pursuit after behind hit by a moped while riding last March, breaking his ankle.
Kurt Searvogel’s luck held out, and the 53-year-old polished off his 365th day just over a week ago, on January 9. His total: 76,156 miles, eclipsing Godwin by 1,091 miles.
In an article on WBUR radio’s website just after breaking the record, but before his year was done, Searvogel recounted his daily routine: Wake up at 5 a.m., eat breakfast, be on the bike by 6, ride until 8 or 9 p.m., averaging 14 to 15 riding hours a day. Sleep enough to keep going. Repeat.
Plodding Along at 209 Miles a Day
The UltraMarathon Cyling Association is the official keeper and arbiter of the record, which has been dubbed the Highest Annual Mileage Record (HAM’R). Here’s the HAM’R Leaderboard on the UMCA site, which contains all manner of data in plotted graphs, etc., that is pretty interesting to look at.
If you take a peek, you’ll see that Searvogel rode at what might be described as a metronomic pace. He had only one “big day” of more than 300 miles and a very few below 100. But he lived right above the 200-mile line on the graph. His daily mileage plot snakes along between the 200 and 250 mile points on the graph. Indeed, his daily average was 208.65.
And he actually seemed to get stronger as the year wore one, raising his annual average speed to 8.69, compared to Godwin’s 8.57.
Diet of Champions
If you’re curious what Searvogel ate to fuel his incredible pursuit, well, let’s just say it was sort of the opposite approach he took to planning his daily route, scrupulously avoiding the wind and other detail-oriented pieces to the puzzle you might expect from a software engineer. (All of this is detailed in an Outside profile of Searvogel.)
The Outside piece sums up his diet nicely:
About that diet: if you came looking for some secret raw-paleo-superfood concoction to give you an edge in your next Ironman, move along, there’s nothing to see here. “He doesn’t eat anything that you think he should eat,” Snyder tells me. “Pop Tarts, Little Debbies.” Apart from a sports drink called Spiz (one of his few sponsors), Searvogel’s diet is like a gonzo version of the documentary Super Size Me: McDonald’s sausage biscuits for breakfast, Hardee’s burgers for (the first) dinner, donuts in between, washed down with cans of Mountain Dew Kickstart. “It’s all about calories,” protests Searvogel. “Actually, it’s about being happy. You eat what makes you happy. You’ve got nothing else—why be miserable with what you’re eating?”
One Final Piece of Luck
So there you have it. Get up early. Ride 14 to 15 hours. Sleep some. Eat a ton – even a ton of what most of us would surely consider garbage. Avoid the wind. Be lucky.
One final piece of luck Searvogel had during his attempt: 10 months in, he married his ride manager, Alicia.
Focus Bicycles Recalls Izalco Max Bicycles Due to Fall Hazard
This recall involves the 2014-2015 Focus Izalco Max bicycles with Acros-brand headsets. The headsets are black with the word “Acros” printed in white on the upper headset.
The headset could cause the carbon-fiber fork steer tube to crack, posing a fall hazard.
The firm has received 11 reports of incidents outside the United States, including one reported injury in France. No incidents have been reported in the United States.
Full details at the Consumer Product Safety Commission.