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German sets new world altitude cycling record - climbing more than 20,000 feet (+ gallery)

Guido Kunze rode from Chile's Pacific Coast to upper slopes of Ojos del Salado, the world's highest active volcano...

A German cyclist has set a new world record for the highest altitude reached on a bicycle, using a fat bike to climb to 6,233 metres – that’s 20,450 feet in old money – on South America’s second highest mountain.

Guido Kunze, an ultra athlete from Mühlhausen in central Germany, rode from Bahí a Inglesa on Chile’s Pacific Coast to the north west ridge of the Ojos del Salado, at 6.893 metres the world’s highest active volcano.

By the time he finished his ride on the evening of October 16, he had climbed 150 metres higher than the existing record holder, fellow German Andre Hauschke, who set his benchmark in April 2010.

On his ride, which took a little over 37 hours, Kunze covered 342.8km with a total height gain of 6,899 meters.

Speaking by satellite phone, he said: "It was really tough, not only the altitude but also the brutal winds.

“Now I am overjoyed. The detailed and meticulous preparation has been well worth it.

“Nobody in our team suffered from altitude sickness and there were no injuries or damage to the equipment.”

Sponsors of the record attempt included Garmin as well as the Swedish camping stove manufacturer, Primus to ensure Kunze, his support team and a TV crew kept fed with hot food.

Primus has previously supplied some of the world’s greatest explorers such as Fridtjof Nansen, Roald Amundsen and Sir Edmund Hillary.

Kunze said: “The stoves worked perfectly, no matter whether on sea level or at high altitude, regardless of heat or icy cold. The Eta pots helped us to save fuel and cooking was really fast.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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