Gerald Eddlemon – 24 hour Outdoor Track Attempt – Sept 25-26, 2021

//Gerald Eddlemon – 24 hour Outdoor Track Attempt – Sept 25-26, 2021

Congratulations to Gerald Eddlemon “Gerry” for setting these 9 WUCA records in the following Categories:
Male, Standard bike, 75-80 age-group. Note 5 of these records were his and he just broke them

Distance Event Kilometers Time Avg Sp (Km) Avg Sp (Miles)
100 Kilometer outdoor track 03:46:57.15 26.44 16.43
200 Kilometer outdoor track 07:57:03.82 25.15 15.63
300 Kilometer outdoor track 13:08:41.86 22.82 14.18
Distance Event Miles Time Avg Sp (Miles) Avg Sp (Km)
100 Mile outdoor track 06:15:29.15 15.98 25.72
200 Mile outdoor track 14:22:21.67 13.92 22.39
300 Mile outdoor track 1:00:52:55.27 12.06 19.40
Timed Event Miles Kilometers Avg Sp (Miles) Avg Sp (Km)
6 Hour outdoor track 96.060 154.594 16.01 25.77
12 Hour outdoor track 174.347 280.584 14.53 23.38
24 Hour outdoor track 289.140 465.326 12.05 19.39

Rider G.K. Eddlemon’s Narrative Summary for Sept. 25, 2021 WUCA Record Attempts
127th through 135th WUCA/UMCA Records (pending certification)!
Note to reader: I’ve yet to recheck my arithmetic for total number of records, but I believe these are the correct figures.  And yes, some of these records were set in some of our smallest states, others in some of our larger states, e.g., Alaska and Florida, and in the One-Week Time Trial (HWMR).  If we throw out the short ways across the smallest states and provinces (DL, RI, Prince Edward Island), that leaves 127 WUCA/UMCA records.

 

Nine time and distance trial record attempts were made concurrently:
UMCA Time/Distance Trials:  100-Km; 200-Km; 300-Km; 100-Mile; 200-Mile; 300-Mile; 6-Hour; 12-Hour; 24-Hour
Name of Rider:  Gerald K. “Gerry” Eddlemon
Start date and time:
Sept.25, 2021 at 11:00:00  AM local (EDST) time.

 

Exact Start Location:
About 30 meters east of intersection of ~1.1 mile long Lock Access road for Melton Hill Dam and boat launch driveway just east off US Hwy 95, near Oak Ridge, TN.  Actual length of one WUCA/USTAF-certified lap = 2.19940 miles.  Because it’s impossible to follow the shortest measured course around the sharp turns at either end of the track, actual distance ridden is approximately 0.7 – 0.8 miles longer per 100 miles (i.e., 0.7 – 0.8% longer).
Conditions:  Sunny, light-to-brisk winds, mid-forties degrees F at start. Billions of gnats and other insects in the evening could have made riding most unpleasant – the entire track is adjacent to the Clinch River, but I had learned the hard way from training at the site to wear an improvised mask of very fine nylon mesh (O.K., O.K., so it was a section from one thigh of “Queen-size” panty hose purchased specifically for this ride – someone wanna make something of it? ;-).  Unfortunately, this time I didn’t want to take the time to stop, put on the bug netting, and restart, so I ate more bugs than I really cared to.
The asphalt road surface is not the smoothest, but I obviously considered it acceptable, especially for hilly East Tennessee.  The principal advantage was it’s flatness (~ 5-8 ft/mile), but the extremely tight turns at either end meant slowing down from 16 – 19 mph to only 5 – 6 mph at one end and down to 12- 13 mph at the other end every single lap (about every 1.1 miles).  Resulted in much wasted energy.

 

One big advantage of using the improvised track at Melton Hill Dam in East Tennessee, was its proximity – only 18 miles from my home.  I figured that would make recruiting a team of officials and crew much easier, but nevertheless it proved a big challenge when I was surprised to learn how few cyclists would rather watch an old guy go for records when they could just enjoy riding themselves.
Why attempt these records?
I was all too aware that at 76 years of age, my times and distances were likely to be slower and shorter than even four or five years earlier and certainly shorter than some of the younger elite cyclists were capable of.  In the event, I was stunned at just how my performances would suffer from old age, and interrupted and inadequate training due to multiple family illnesses, injuries.  Even so, I wanted to ride well over 300 miles in 24 hours and even gut through to the 500-mile and 1000-Km records.
Another reason: extending myself further and further to see what I can do with the opportunities and admittedly limited talent God seems to have given me after I believed, after 20 years or so ago, to be all washed-up as an athlete after a devastating knee injury.   I’ll certainly never be in the same league as any number of younger outstanding ultracyclists, but I’m nevertheless delighted at how far a fairly ordinary and aging athlete can manage to push himself on a bike.
And yet another reason: demonstrating to the public what even older folks can accomplish on what is perhaps the most efficient machine for transportation ever invented – the bicycle.  Most people who inquire about what in the world I’m doing are surprised, if not sometimes downright flabbergasted, to learn not only that I’m riding hundreds of miles in a single day, but that I’m often as old or even much older than they.  Just maybe some of them will be encouraged to get off the couch, out of the house, out of the car, and see the world from a bike.
And quite frankly, a chance to add to my list of successful record attempts – 126 confirmed WUCA/UMCA records (one of which was actually a tie), most of them open-class – 130 if one counts my speed-hiking records in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and a Tennessee Senior Olympics 20-km cycling record (imagine that — an ultracyclist winning and setting a record in a 12-mile race!).  For some time I had been saying that maybe I’ll go for an even hundred if I live long enough, and I was dead serious about that latter condition –  “if I live long enough.”  But no longer!  Pending certification by the WUCA, these nine attempts should yield a total of 135 WUCA records over my 15-year ultracycling career (note: nearly one third of those records were set as “age-class” records).  By no stretch of the imagination did I consider this a possibility when I first tested myself at a WUCA record attempt across my home state of Tennessee some 15 years ago.
Equipment:  Because my Litespeed’s fork (with ~85,000 miles!) seemed to be the source of potentially dangerous vibrations, I had recently replaced it, but the resulting handling was much different.  Even so, I started and rode the first 200 miles with my titanium Litespeed Teramo with a Brooks B-17 saddle, Syntace aerobars, SpeedPlay pedals, Cane Creek bar-end shifters, HED aero wheels, and Shimano Ultegra transmission.  This bike, manufactured in Ooltewah, TN about 80 miles down the road from my home, has been my mount of choice for 122 of my 126 WUCA records and nine pending WUCA records, and most of the races leading to my only overall UltraMarathon World Cup championship in 2010 and my 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, and 2020 overall World UltraCycling Association Six-Hour Challenge championships.  It was my first modern road bike.  I doubt there is any other single bike in the world ridden for so many records and championships.
After about 200 miles, I switched to one of my back-up bikes, a Taiwanese-built carbon-fiber Motobecane Le Champion with a Selle-Anatomica leather saddle, Syntace aerobars, SpeedPlay pedals, and a mix of FSA and Shimano components.  I rode it for about one third of the total miles for a slight change of geometry and saddle (Selle Anatomica).
Food and Drink:  Water, including sparkling water, Coca Cola (diet and full-strength mix) chocolate milk, Endurolyte pills, magnesium, a pediatric electrolyte solution, yogurt smoothies, bananas; cookies, M&M peanuts, PBJ sandwiches.
Best Part: The expert support and officiating of my wonderful team of crew-women Mikki Eddlemon and Lauren van den Boogaard; crewmen Brent Williams and Al Pirie; and, in alphabetical order, WUCA Judges Tony Curtis, John Gunning, Nick Lavrik, Robert Sanders, and last but certainly not least, Gary Speer.  And of course I’m pleased that, pending certification, we broke five age-class and set four more age-class WUCA records.
Hardest Part:  Preparations for the record attempts including fitting in training, logistics, and achieving a critical mass of crew and officials under trying circumstances.  So much time spent trying to recruit crew and officials in such a short time, and several non-ultracycling related crises left me with little time to do my own personal preparations, including training and tapering.  I ended up with about four and a half hours of sleep the night before the start.  Thus staying a wake during the night was a bit challenging and more than once I had to take a short power nap to avoid blacking out and crashing.  An unpleasant aspect of cycling along a river is the emergence of billions of swarming gnats or midges in the evening (probably the truly remarkable phantom midge Chaoborus punctipennis).  They’er non-biters, but in the evening they are difficult to keep out of eyes, nose, and mouth.
Unusual Happenings:  Good weather for my second set of record attempts in a row (although winds were quite a bit stronger than predicted)!  I seem to have a knack for picking lousy conditions for record attempts so this was a most welcome change. Another most unusual occurrence – my glasses fogged over during the morning from heavy fog, obviously not so remarkable, but droplets of water on my glasses then coalesced into larger droplets maybe 2 mm in diameter, and they would not evaporate as the sun rose.  I finally took then off to examine the droplets.  They resolved into very clear eggs with wriggling larvae, perhaps of phantom midges, in each “droplet.”
Acknowledgements: My sincere thanks to WUCA Officials Gary Speer, Robert Sanders, Nick Lavrik, John Gunning, and Tony Curtis for their excellent service as officials, and crew-women Lauren van den Boogaard and Mikki Eddlemon; and crewmen Brent Williams and Al Pirie for their professional but friendly help in these record attempts.  Without outstanding volunteers like these, I would never have been able to attempt my very first record crossing of Tennessee some 15 years ago, nor any of the 135 WUCA records since.
And finally, as good King Harry V declared (at least as Shakespeare has it) on learning that he and his little band of brothers had, almost miraculously, won the Battle of Agincourt against overwhelming odds – “I thank God, and not my own strength for it.”
Dedication:  I dedicate these record attempts to my wonderful and much loved Mother, Germaine Eddlemon and Father, Col. Joe Eddlemon, USMC, and team member Bill Williams.  All three passed away in the last  year or so.
Exact Finish Location:
The finish points and times were determined by proration; thus they occurred at various points along the 2.19940-mile track.  Times and distances are presented in the following table.
Exact Finish Times or Distances:
Next page:
Exact Finish Times or Distances:
Start time: 11:00:00 AM, EDST, Sept. 25, 2021
Record Event
Clock Time at Finish
Elapsed Time/Distance
Average Speed
100 Km *
2:46:57 PM
3:46:57
26.44 kph
200 Km *
6:57:04 PM
7:57:04
25.15 kph
300 Km *
12:08:42 AM
13:08:42
22.82 kph
100 Mile *
5:15:29 PM
6:15:29
15.98 mph
200 Mile *
1:22:21 AM
14:22:21
13.92 mph
300 Mile *
11:52:55
24:52:55
12.06 mph
6 Hour *
5:00:00 PM
96.06 mi
16.01 mph
12 Hour *
11:00:00 PM
174.35 mi
14.53 mph
24 Hour *
11:00:00 AM
289.14 mi
12.05 mph
* New WUCA record in the 75 and forever age class (Supreme Great Grandmasters Division 😉
2021-11-05T02:50:08-07:00
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