Congratulations to the team of: Geoffrey Phillips, Bodie Nance, and Andrew Carberry for setting the Arkansas W-E record on Oct 24, 2020
Category: 4x Male relay (only 3 members) – Standard bike – Senior division (18-49) avg age
They completed the 190.6 mile journey in 10 hours 58 min for an average speed of 17.38 mph
Geoffrey Phillips team Rider Summary
Like many other WUCA record attempts this year, planning for ours began as our planned races each cancelled during the pandemic. We’d actually been across the state once last year before we were even aware of the WUCA, so the notion of trying for a record gave us something to enjoy training for.
Our team consisted of Bodie Nance, a masters age group superhuman. Some say he drinks pure gasoline and hasn’t shifted onto the small ring since the Reagan administration. You probably don’t know anyone half of Bodie’s age who could hold his wheel on a climb.
Andrew Carberry is a gentle giant, riding a frame size that neither of his teammates can stand over. He and his wife are Appalachian Trail thru-hikers. Andrew is a multi-time Ironman, comfortable operating at very high effort levels for hours. He was off the bike for nearly three weeks prior to our attempt due to a knee injury.
Geoffrey Phillips is our lead instigator and self-professed weakest link. Geoff broke a finger six days before our attempt and rode wearing a brace. He’s an aero bars on a gravel bike type of guy and wrote this entire paragraph in the third person.
We’ve each shown what some would call “poor decision-making skills” in the past concerning bike rides, so this seemed like a perfect way to finish the 2020 race season, such as it was.
Geoff’s Dad, Ken, was our super hero, crew chief and follow vehicle driver. Kaleb Jones was our resident lawyer and WUCA official. If anything is more painful than riding a bicycle for 11 hours, it has to be driving behind cyclists at for 11 hours and filling water bottles. Our crew was amazing.
Kurt Searvogel owns the blistering record for crossing Arkansas in the solo category, but nobody had yet attempted a record in the relay category. As records go, this one would be relatively low stress. We also each wanted to ride the entire distance, negating the “relay” portion of the 4-man category.
Speaking of the 4-man category, tragedy struck just one week before our attempt as our planned fourth participant suffered a mangled hand in a mountain bike crash. Not much had gone to plan as we loaded up for Texarkana, Texas.
We awoke Saturday morning to a near 20-degree temperature swing from the day prior. We rode under overcast skies with temperatures ranging from 50 all the way to 56 and a steady cross headwind at about 8mph. Lovely day for a bike ride.
Our starting point was, appropriately, the “Big Boy Toys” motorcycle dealership in Texarkana. Garmins beeped to start at 6:58 as we crossed our first state line of the day. We rotated with five minute pulls after exiting downtown Texarkana and rolled into our first planned stop with a 19.9mph average. We were feeling fresh and ahead of schedule as we rolled in, though time was wasted adjusting the bearing preload on Geoff’s rear wheel.
We continued on from Magnolia on Highway 82. Our route included just 3,500 feet of elevation change in 190 miles with most of it occurring in the first century. We reached our second stop at 110 miles still carrying a 19.9 moving average, a bit higher than we’d planned. Spirits were high as the terrain transitioned from the gentle rolling of Western Arkansas to the lower Mississippi river Delta.
“Pancake flat” is a good description of Eastern Arkansas. On October 24, “cold and windy” added context to our 18.5 average between Strong and Hamburg. Frequent mist threatened to add “wet” to our list of aches. A detour north of Crossett shaved off a mile or so. Given the quality of the pavement, the short cut probably wasn’t worth it. Our route rejoined Highway 82 east of Bovine for five miles of direct head wind into Hamburg at mile 145.
Our stop at Hamburg was the low point of the ride. Rain jackets came out as the temperature sagged and we agreed to abandon our stretch goal of a double century. The 40 miles to Lake Village were in wide open fields with no trees to protect us from a frustrating cross headwind. Frequent pleas of “ease up, Bodie” came from our weak link. Andrew once grimaced. We limped into Lake Village with a 17.6mph average for the segment, then rejoiced in our first tailwind of the day as the Mississippi River bridge came into view.
We crept over the bridge, willing the dashed state line to move on the Garmin’s screen. With approximately one pixel to go we experienced our first puncture as Andrew’s rear tire found the bad side of an expansion joint in the bridge. How’s that for timing
Our finish time was 5:56pm, for a 10:58 overall time. Slower than Mr. Searvogel’s solo time, which was disappointing, but still a record for the 4(3)-man (non)relay category. We’ll take it. Our moving average was 19mph, which more accurately reflects the amount of suffering Bodie dealt us throughout the day.
So there’s our story. Many lessons were learned. Some group of four could easily beat 11 hours on that route, and we’re OK with that. We each far exceeded our previous longest rides and accomplished something fun. Thank you to our amazing crew, to Mr. Oslund for fielding many last-minute questions, and to the WUCA for organizing around such a wonderful sport!