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Kurt Searvogel rode 75,437 miles to beat Tommy Goodwin’s 1939 achievement of 75,065.
When Tommy Goodwin rode 75,065 miles over the course of one year in 1939, it was a feat of gargantuan proportions. So it stands to reason that, for 76 years, his world record went uncontested.
But in 2015, a handful of ultra cyclists who had become obsessed with smashing Goodwin’s record convinced the Ultra-Marathon Cycling Association to formally authenticate any attempts at beating the record.
On Monday, Kurt Searvogel, a 52-year-old software developer from Sheridan, Arkansas, broke the decades-long record when he clocked in 75, 437 miles in a few days shy of a year. Searvogel rode through sun, rain, sleet, snow, and wind, through Florida, Arkansas and Wisconsin, averaging a mind-boggling 209 miles a day. To put in perspective, his cumulative ride, in a straight line, would take him three times around the circumference of the earth with a half mile to spare.
Searvogel rode at an average speed of 19 mph, riding 12 hours per day and famously refuelling on double cheeseburgers, potato chips and Pina-Colada flavored energy drinks. Apparently he also found the time to get married in October, before hopping back in the saddle for a leisurely 175 mile honeymoon ride.
To say that riding an average of 209 miles per day at an average speed of 19 mph would be difficult is a gross understatement. I occasionally have trouble riding the 20 blocks uphill to my apartment after a particularly taxing day at the office. But Searvogel isn’t done yet. He still has four days left to round out 365, having begun the challenge on January 10, 2015, so he’ll be taking the next few days to see just how high a bar he can set for the next person to smash. Let’s see if this record holds for another 76 years.
Hilary Angus is the Online Editor at Momentum Mag. @HilaryAngus