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American ultramarathon cyclist Kurt Searvogel to tackle Year Record

RAAM record holder will include cross-country race in schedule

Briton Steve Abraham isn't the only rider taking a crack at Tommy Godwin's 75-year-old Year Record in 2015. On January 10, American ultramarathon racer Kurt Searvogel will set out from his base in Arkansas and attempt to ride more than 75,065 miles in the following 12 months.

Abraham came out swinging yesterday with a 222.7-mile ride, landing a couple of Strava 2015 KOMS on the way. That's a bit less than the first day of Tommy Godwin's 1939 record ride, but still well ahead of the 207 miles per day he'll need to average to beat the record.

Searvogel plans to get off to a more modest start in what the Americans are calling the Highest Annual Milage Record (HAMR), then ramp up his speed and milage as his fitness improves over the year.

On his blog Searvogel writes: "I do have a plan and it’s based on going incrementally farther and faster as the year progresses and I have more daylight to ride. My plan calls for riding long six days a week and doing a century ride on the 7th day as a rest and recovery day."

Abraham was in the saddle for 16 hours yesterday, and set out at 5am this morning. Searvogel's schedule calls for a first ride of 10 hours, 170 miles. That 17 mph average is typical of Searvogel's strategy; he plans to build to a 20 mph average by June.

He writes: "I plan to increase my time on the bike to 14-15 hours during the summer and then taper it back down to about 10 hours a day by the end of 2015.

"My speed goal for riding is to start out riding my long days at about 17 mph which, for me, is actually a little slow. As my fitness improves, my average speed will get better and by mid year I should be riding at around 20 mph or better and should be able to hold that fitness level for the rest of the year."

Fans of meticulous planning and spreadsheets will enjoy the detail in Searvogel's ride plan.

With Joel Sothern, Searvogel set a record for the over-50 two-man category in Race Across America last year, riding the 3020 miles in 6 days 10 hours and 8 minutes.

Just as Steve Abraham included a race in his Year Record's first day, Searvogel will be taking in several races over the course of his 12 months on the bike, including Race Across America, the Texas RAAM Challenge and the Race Across Oregon.

Like Abraham, Searvogel will be tackling the record under the auspices of the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association, which seems to be the first cycling organisation to ratify the Year Record.

He writes: "The record by Godwin was never officially certified by any sanctioning body, though Guinness Book of World Records did offer belated recognition of Godwin's remarkable achievement.

"So any rider making an attempt per the rules below can get a record certified at a mileage below that recorded by Godwin, but we all know that Godwin's mark is the target."

You can follow Searvogel's progress on his blog and on Facebook.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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