Congratulations to Gerry Eddleman for setting the Male 70+ Standard records on 2018-09-06 for:
100km outdoor track at 3:30:38.35 with an avg speed of 17.70mph
200km outdoor track at 7:39:25.59 with an avg speed of 16.23mph
300km outdoor track at 13:01:41.33 with an avg speed of 14.31mph
6 hours outdoor track for 100.38 miles with an avg speed of 16.73mph
Read his ride report below
Rider G.K. Eddlemon’s Narrative Summary
115th through 118th 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.
Six time and distance trial record attempts were made concurrently:
UMCA Time/Distance Trials: 100-Km; 100-Mile; 200-Km; 300-Km; 6-Hour; 12-Hour; 24-Hour
Name of Rider: Gerald K. “Gerry” Eddlemon
Start date and time:
Sept. 6, 2018 at 10:30:00 AM local (EDST) time.
Exact Start Location:
About 30 meters east of intersection of ~1.1 mile long unnamed access road for Melton Hill Dam and boat launch driveway just east off US Hwy 95, near Oak Ridge, TN. Actual length of one lap = 2.19940 miles.
Conditions: Sunny, hot and humid (>90 F). Periodic relief from heat when cloud rolled in for a while, then hot and humid again when clouds rolled out. This cycle continued several times through the day. Mostly light winds with some moderate gusts. 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? ;-).
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 (~ 8-9 ft/mile), but the extremely tight turn points meant slowing down from 18 – 20 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.
Why attempt these records?
I had planned to attempt to break several world ultracycling records (70+ age class) over near Lumberton NC in May of 2017, but after transporting, assembling, housing, and feeding a team of crew and officials, I had a medical emergency the night before the start and ended up in the ER undergoing all kinds of expensive and embarrassing tests only to find out I had a kidney stone too large to pass and requiring surgery the following week. Doctor ordered no riding for a while. Nearly $2K down the drain 🙁
Interestingly, this time my medical challenge occurred the week following my record attempts – extraction of a broken tooth which revealed infected bone that also had to be removed and replaced with a bone graft.
I was all too aware that at almost 73 years of age, my times and distances were likely to be much slower and shorter than even four or five years earlier and 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, and hospitalizations.
One big advantage of using the improvised track at Melton Hill Dam in East Tennessee, was its proximity – only 17 miles or so from my current 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.
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 14 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 a Penseyres, Haldeman, Hogan, Hopkinson, Bahlo, or Strasser, or one of 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 – 114 confirmed WUCA records (one of which was actually a tie), most of them open-class – 118 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 four attempts should yield a total of 118 WUCA records in my 12-year ultracycling career. 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 12 years ago.
Equipment: Titanium Litespeed Teramo, Rivet saddle, Syntace aerobars, SpeedPlay pedals, Cane Creek bar-end shifters, 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 110 of my 114 WUCA records and four pending WUCA records, and most of the races leading to my only overall UltraMarathon World Cup championship in 2010 and my 2015, 2016, and 2017 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.
Finally, my outstanding Rivet Independence saddle by Rivet Cycle Works. This beautiful saddle is quickly becoming my saddle of choice.
Food and Drink: Water, including sparkling water, Original V8 Juice (lots of sodium and potassium), Coca Cola (diet and full-strength mix) chocolate milk, Endurolyte, magnesium, and salt pills, yogurt smoothies, cookies, M&M peanuts.
Best Part: The expert support and officiating of my wonderful team of Crew-chief Mikki Eddlemon, crewmen Mark Cristy, Betty Williams, and Pastor Scott Henrich; and, in alphabetical order, WUCA Judges Tony Curtis, John Gunning, Tom Perry, Robert Sanders, and last but certainly not least, Bill Williams. And of course I’m pleased that we (apparently) broke four more WUCA records.
Hardest Part: Preparations for the record attempts were delayed by the need to achieve a critical mass of crew and officials. I don’t believe I’ve ever been so ill-prepared for a race or record attempt – and I’m notorious for my rather disorganized preparations. So much time spent trying to recruit crew and officials in such a short time left me with little time to do my own personal preparations, including training and tapering (but bike mechanic Brent Williams came to the rescue with regard to prepping my bikes. I ended up with almost exactly 1.5 hours sleep the night before the start (and a whopping 3.5 hours the night before that). The start was delayed by about 2.5 hours as we tried to reschedule remaining crew and officials.
Unusual Happenings: See discussion of oral surgery above. I almost hope that broken tooth and jaw bone infection had an adverse effect on my performance because then I could imagine better performances if only I hadn’t had that infection. After all, any excuse seems better than none 😉
Acknowledgements: My sincere thanks to Head UMCA Official John Gunning, Officials Tony Curtis, Bill Williams, Robert Sanders, and Tom Perry, crew Mark Cristy, Betty Williams, my Pastor Scott Henrich, and Crew-chief Mikki Eddlemon for their professional but friendly help in these record attempts. Without outstanding people like these, I would never have been able to attempt my very first record crossing of Tennessee some 12 years ago, nor any of the 117 records since.
I should give special mention to wife Mikki Eddlemon, and old friend and track teammate, Mark Cristy, who together have served as crew or official for over half of my more than 100 UMCA record rides and many races including several world, national, and regional championship wins. Tony Curtis and Bill and Betty Williams themselves have also served for dozens of record attempts over the years.
Special thanks is also due bike mechanic extraordinaire Brent Williams, who expertly prepped my bikes for these record attempts.
And finally, as good King Harry V stated (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 ailing, but so much loved, Mother and Father.