news

Steve Abraham passes 5,000-mile mark on way to Year Record

Over 800 miles ahead of Tommy Godwin's 1939 schedule...

Steve Abraham, the 40-year-old from Milton Keynes who is attempting to break the 75-year-old record for the greatest distance ridden in a year, has passed the 5,000-mile mark.

In fact, as of yesterday evening, Abraham has clocked up a staggering 5,213 miles since setting out on January 1 for a daily average of 186 miles.

By this date in 1939, record-holder Tommy Godwin had ridden 4,338 miles (155 miles/day), putting Abraham well on schedule to break the record. Godwin passed the 5,000-mile mark on February 2, 1939.

Meanwhile, Abraham's American rival Kurt Searvogel, who started on January 10, has accumulated 3,829.7 miles, or 201 miles/day.

For those who love a good spreadsheet (and who doesn't, really?) Abraham's crew chief Chris Hopkinson Abraham's and Searvogel's progress against Godwin's record. (Hat-tip to ge04254 for pointing that out.)

It's very early days yet, but if they continue to exceed Godwin's pace by the same ratio, Abraham is on track for over 90,000 miles by the end of the year and Searvogel would exceed 93,000 miles by the time his year is up.

It's not clear how much the weather affected Godwin, but Met Office records say that in England and Wales 1939 had the wettest January since 1764. Abraham has enjoyed the relatively mild weather of the last few weeks and Searvogel is fortunate enough to be in sunny Florida so the extrapolation above is unlikely to have any significant predictive power.


Steve Abraham with the master route-planning tool

Speaking to The Telegraph's Jonny Cooper recently, Abraham said he has been "captivated" by the record since he first year about it when he was 15.

He said: "I didn't know who Tommy Godwin was, or who had done this incredible world record ride at the time, but I became fascinated by it and started to wonder if I could do it myself one day."

While he's tracking ahead of Godwin's distance now, he'll have to pile on the miles in the summer, just as the record-holder did in 1939.

"I plan to lengthen my rides as the daylight hours lengthen, which will give my body time to adapt to the mileage," Abraham said. "I will be aiming for about 170 miles per day in winter and taking it up as high as 300 miles per day in mid summer. I will then hope to taper the distances downwards again going into the next winter."

Godwin's longest day in the saddle came on June 21, when he took advantage of the summer solstice to log 361 miles. The following month he rode over 300 miles on 14 separate days.

Abraham said he is usually on the road by 5am, after getting up at 4am to eat and prepare his route. After the day's milage he eats, prepares his bike for the next day and charges the multiple GPS units he's using to make sure he records every inch of the ride for the adjudicators at the Ultramarathon Cycling Association (UMCA).

Missing a day's recording seems to be his biggest fear.

He said: "I must submit each day's ride to the adjudicators at the UMCA, or the day of riding will not count. If I miss a day I will fall 200 miles behind the planned schedule and I will have to continue putting in average days of 200 miles riding distance, whilst also catching up on the day lost!"

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.

Latest Comments