Congratulation to Gerald (Gerry) Eddlemon for setting the High Weekly Mileage Record (HWMR) in this category: Male, solo 75-79 age group
He covered 1024.68 miles in 7 days for an average daily mileage of 146.38
Rider G.K. Eddlemon’s Narrative Summary
WUCA High Weekly/Monthly Mileage Record Attempts,
Aug. 16 – 23, 2020
Eddlemon’s 121st and 122nd 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, but some also in larger states like Alaska, Florida, and smaller but still challenging nations like New Zealand and Israel (crossing the treeless plain of Armageddon twice in 100+ deg F temperatures!).
Name of Rider: Gerald K. “Gerry” Eddlemon
Start Date and Time:
Aug. 16, 2020 at 7:15 PM local (EDST) time, ending Aug. 23 at 7:15 PM.
Finish Time and Total Distance:
7:15 PM EDST
1024.7 miles for the 7-day week (168 hours) ending 7:15 PM Aug. 23, 2020.
Sets WUCA world record for inaugural WUCA One-Week Time Trial (HWMR) event in both open and 75+ age division – demonstrates the importance of very old cyclists using their cunning and readiness to jump at opportunities as soon as they arise to compensate for diminished talent, endurance, and athletic capabilities.
Exact Start Location:
The rider’s home, but most of the mileage was accumulated at the official USTAF- and WUCA-certified track course on the north-side access road to Melton Hill Dam on the Clinch River, Lenoir City, TN, which required a round-trip drive of 35 miles each day (almost one and a half hours time penalty if loading/unloading, etc. is included). Each lap is about 2.2 miles long. Between 200-250 miles were ridden in rider’s much hillier neighborhood (30 – 40 ft/mile).
Conditions: Very sunny, hot, humid with highs in the mid-90s during the day, cooling during thunderstorms and intense rain storms; fairly comfortable at night. Mostly light to moderate winds, but bike speed varied by about 4 mph depending on direction relative to the wind.
The asphalt road was in fairly good condition, but hundreds of small expansion cracks and a couple of small pot holes and bumps produced a modest but eventually tiring washboard effect that became increasingly irritating as the miles piled up. Last year I spent half a day trying to patch some of the bigger cracks with asphalt patching compound. The Lock Access Road was quite flat, with about 5-7 ft/mile of climbing compared to 30 – 40 ft/mile in my neighborhood. Estimated total climbing for the week: 11,000 – 12,000 ft.
I believe I can significantly improve my performance by:
1). Avoiding the months of July and August (how’s that for a brilliant observation?).
2). Not splitting up each day’s ride between two courses 18 miles apart.
3). Recruiting support including cyclists to ride with one (allowed in all four HAMR-type record attempt events.
Why attempt these records? Earlier this summer, WUCA added a new record event in its ultra long-distance time and distance trials: the One-Week Time Trial, aka High Weekly Mileage Record (HWMR). I hoped to be the first to go for this record in both the open class (over all) and the 75+ age class, and thereby set both overall and the 75+ age class records, with the full knowledge that many elite younger ultracyclists will blow that one away, and probably sooner than later. I was all too aware that at my age, my times and distances were likely to be much slower and shorter than some of the younger elite cyclists were capable of. Nevertheless, I was stunned at just how much my performances since turning 69 on, would suffer from old age, interrupted and inadequate training due to multiple family illnesses, injuries, and hospitalizations.
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, only 16 years ago, to be all washed-up as an athlete after a devastating knee injury. I’ll certainly never be in the same league as a Penseyres, Hogan, Robic, Strasser, or any number of other outstanding ultracyclists, but I’m nevertheless amazed 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 – 120 confirmed WUCA records (one of which was actually a tie), most of them open-class – 124 if one counts my speed-hiking records along the 70+ mile length of 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 two old-guy performances should yield a total of 120 WUCA /UMCA records in my 14-year career. By no stretch of my imagination did I consider this, or my 2010 World Cup Championship, a possibility when I first tested myself at a WUCA /UMCA record attempt across my home state of Tennessee more than 14 years ago.
Equipment: Four bikes during the record attempts, the main bike being a 2004 titanium Litespeed Teramo, my outstanding Rivet Cycle Works Independence saddle, Syntace aerobars, SpeedPlay pedals, Cane Creek bar-end shifters, and Shimano Ultegra transmission. The Litespeed bike, manufactured in Ooltewah, TN about 80 miles down the road from my home, has been my mount of choice for 117 of my 120 WUCA/UMCA records and two pending records, and most of the races leading to my only overall UltraMarathon World Cup championship in 2010 and my 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019 World Cup 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 (because I can’t afford a new bike every few months like the pros!). The other bikes ridden in this record attempt were my Le Champion road bike, a Specialized Roubaix, and a made-in-Taiwan mountain bike with road tires. I rode four bikes on the theory that occasional slight changes in geometry and body-bike contact points would mitigate skin, joint, and bone injuries.
The handsome and comfortable Rivet Independence leather and titanium saddle from my sponsor, Rivet Cycle Works, has become my saddle of choice.
Food and Drink: Water, including sparkling water with electrolytes, a 50:50 mix of diet and real Coca-Cola, Endurolyte pills, magnesium pills, bananas, apples, yogurt smoothies, cookies, sandwiches, M&M peanuts, brownies.
Best Part: Finishing and returning to my wife!
Hardest Part: Riding solo completely self-supported, especially at night. Heat, thunderstorms, saddle sores, mosquitos when at rest, and bug-induced eye inflammation in my only eye, especially during most of the last 30 hours or so. Even with excellent saddles such as my Rivet Independence, hundreds of miles take a toll on my backside. I did quite a bit of standing on the pedals in relief further into the ride, but that aggravated my surgically repaired knee and risked hot foot (metatarsalgia), so I could not stand up for long.
Huge, raised welts on my backside and long, deep abrasions on my thighs from new leg coolers and a pair of shorts that simply didn’t work out despite not having serious problems with them before.
Another surprising challenge: battery and cable management, especially in the dark – I lost some time just trying to connect cables in the dark, especially when my car’s battery went dead. Try it in poor light and you’ll see what I mean.
Unusual Happenings: Deer, skunks, rabbits, snakes, phantom midges, and mosquitos.
Acknowledgements: My sincere, heart-felt thanks to WUCA Official and Record Administrator Larry Oslund and my wife Mikki Eddlemon.
And a big thank you to Deborah the Head Rivetress at The Rivet Cycle Works for use of her outstanding saddles. It’s a real blessing to ride 100 miles and more without constantly dwelling on the discomfort and sometimes excruciating pain in one’s nether regions from a poorly designed or ill-fitting saddle.
And finally, as good King Harry V stated (at least as one Will Shakespeare has it) on learning that he and his little band of brothers had, almost miraculously, won the Battle of Agincourt against all odds – “I thank God, and not my own strength for it.”
Dedication: I dedicate these record attempts to my wonderful and loving father and mother, Joseph and Germaine Eddlemon, who first met each other as 13-year-old kids on their bicycles at a bridge over the lovely Holston River, and passed away June 7, 2019 and June 25, 2020 at the age of 93 and 95 respectively. They are deeply missed by family and friends, and will never be forgotten.
Exact Finish Location:
In the middle of the WUCA/USTAF-certified course on Lock Access Road on the north shore of the Clinch River, just downstream of Melton Hill Dam near Lenoir City, TN.
Exact Finish Times or Distances: 7:15 PM EDST
1024.7 miles for the 7-day week (168 hours) ending 7:15 PM Aug. 23, 2020.
Sets WUCA world record for inaugural WUCA One-Week Time Trial (HWMR) event in both open and 75+ age division