Russell Mason – 24 hour attempt – July 30-31, 2021

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Congratulations to Russell Mason for his new WUCA record!

Russell’s Ride Report

6 – 12 – 24 Hour World Record Attempt

For as long as I can remember I’ve been amazed at what the human body can do, back in the 80’s I watched documentaries of climbers on Mt. Everest and was in awe of the dedication and determination of those who made it to the top, along with some who made it to the top but never made it back down.  As I watched I thought Everest would be the ultimate challenge, but I eventually gave up the idea of Everest believing that the risk of death was too great, at that time about one in four climbers who reached the top died on the way down.  But even though my dreams of Everest were gone, my wonderment with the human body and what’s it capable of doing remained.

My wife Teri and I have been married for 42 years and we’ve rode bikes our entire marriage, we started with inexpensive bikes and eventually bought two $500.00 Mongoose Mountain bikes, which was a lot of money at that time.  Teri and I rode and rode and rode those bikes and enjoyed every minute, eventually we changed the mountain tires to road tires and completed a 100 miler, then a 225 miler and even a 300 miler on old Mongoose Mountain bike.  As the miles started to pile up we realized that we needed better bikes, so we purchased better bikes, and then another one and another one and another, you get the idea, we’ve bought a lot of bikes.  The main bike I rode for the 24-hour world record attempt was a 2020 Specialized Venge with a Specialized aero bar attached and Continental 5000 TL 700 x 28 tires.  My back up bike was a Felt AR FRD that had been converted into a TT bike, I rode the Venge 21 of the 24 hours, changing to my Felt for 3 hours, just long enough for our bike mechanic to work over the Venge and keeping it running perfect.  My clothing consisted of a two-piece Assos skin suit and aero gloves, my helmet was a Specialized Evade II with Pearl Izumi shoes and socks.  The combination of clothing worked great and was extremely comfortable for the entire ride, speaking of the ride, I’m not going to sugar coat it and say it was nothing because it was hard, very hard.  We’ve participated in many ultracycling events and races so riding 24 hours was no stranger to us, we’d been there many times, but it never gets easier.  And I say WE because you don’t do something like this by yourself, it takes a dedicated crew whom you trust completely, because they really do have your life in their hands, and I have the greatest crew ever.  My wife Teri has supported me and been by my side for every ride we’ve done, she’s the one that absorbs all the stress of planning and worry and making sure everything is done perfectly, all I have to do is my part, ride the bike.  Our crew is made up of family and friends, simply said, they are the greatest and we love them dearly.  Along with our crew is an entire community of people who’ve supported us and lifted us up when things got hard, and it got hard.

The first 4 hours brought wind and rain, we planned on breaking the 6 and 12 hour record during the 24 hour ride but you can’t out ride the wind, I tried and almost messed myself up for the rest of the ride.  After 4 hours we realized that I needed to back off a little and when 6 hours came due we were about 7 miles short, about 8 miles short at 12 hours.  This was a little discouraging, but the weather had turned perfect and we knew the race was ours to lose.  The weather was perfect, nice cool temperature and almost no wind, but now we had another problem, my stomach, it was far from perfect and I was sick.  I’d trained with a very specific nutrition for two years and a month before the attempt the company discontinued the product, I was shocked, my body worked almost perfect with that nutrition, what to do now.  We looked everywhere for more but failed in our efforts so I put together a new nutrition plan just three weeks before the ride, it didn’t turn out so good.  I’m not sure what caused my stomach to become ill, but I was sick, really sick.  I started bloating and hurting and I eventually had to stop eating the planned nutrition and go back to the old reliable, bananas, yes bananas save my stomach.  With four hours to go I started calculating in my mind the miles needed, pending some catastrophic event or bike crash, we were going to make it.  We rode past the old record with about 50 minutes to go, our crew, family and friends were there as we rode past the old record, they waived and cheered, and I cried, for the rest of the ride.

There are many that ask the question why, why do this to one’s body and that’s a hard question to answer but I’ll try.  First, I wanted to show people that as we age we can remain active, we can have good health, we can enjoy life, but there’s an if, and it’s a big one, if we are willing to put in the effort.  Second, as I said in the beginning, I’ve always been amazed at what the human body can do, how it can keep going when most think it’s done and finished.  But I truly believe our body holds back, in reserve, a tremendous amount of energy, the problem with that reserve energy is that you have to endure a tremendous amount of pain before it gives it up, but it’s there, we just have to believe.

Russell & Teri Mason

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