New Circumnavigation Record Ratified a Month Before Start of Grand Tour
Scenes from the hard road, with new Guinness record holder Alan Bate.
Those intrepid souls gunning for a place in the record books when they leave London by bike on February 18th as part of the World Cycle Racing Grand Tour have just had their job made that little bit harder.
We mentioned on the Brooks Blog earlier this week that a rumour was doing the rounds of a soon to be ratified finishing time of somewhere in the region of a hundred days for one complete circumnavigation of the earth.
And bear in mind that the previous best had been set by Vin Cox, and stood at 163 days.
Clarification has arrived in the shape of a new entry in the Guinness Book. Alan Bate is the new record holder, having managed to put down an inhuman daily average of about 250km over all sorts of terrain, and in all sorts of weather.
Unlike Mr. Cox and the riders setting off from London in a month’s time, however, Alan rode with a partial support team in tow, a little over half of his time on the road. Which of course should not, and does not, detract from his massive achievement, but which should be worth bearing in mind when Grand Tour finishing times are collated in the summer.
Even though they seem to be rather separate entities, Guinness currently makes no differentiation between a fully or partially supported ride, and a completely solo one. But who knows, this may, and probably will, change.
Incidentally, first up with congratulations to Mr Bate on the Guinness site was the record’s previous holder.
We caught up with Alan this week and asked him a bit about how he got on after spending a good hour learning more about him on his website, www.worldcyclingrecord.com.
When asked how he could have dominated the current record so powerfully, Mr. Bate had this to say:
“I am an extreme endurance specialist and often went out on 15 hour training rides. I have the records for time trialling from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, 26 hours, Phuket to Bangkok 29 hours and was fifth in the British 24 hour champs, without any preparation way back in 1991. I trained for three years for the record, sacrificed comfort for speed on a road bike with a rack and panniers weiging in at just 8 kilos. I had 53 supported days. I am the only pure racer to attempt it and soon my record will go again, I am sure. A top pro will do 80 days.
In Australia I suffered death threats, whils in a tent, USA, someone tried to steal my bike, lots of abuse shouted from cars, things thrown at me and threats. Hit with a stick one day, crashed in Portugal and lost a day, started with a bad leg infection in Bangkok after crashing three time in the last two weeks before the ride. Knocked off by a car the morning of the ride starting.”
Added to the stress of incredibly long distances, uncertain sleeping arrangements and indescribable fatigue, one must also contend with the sometimes backward inhabitants of certain stretches of the big globe, making one’s fellow man likely the greatest danger these athletes often face.
As the riders countdown to the kickoff on 18 February, we’ll be talking to some of the participants next week.