Milton Keynes cyclist Steven Abraham has made a solid start to his aim of beating Tommy Godwin’s 1939 annual cycling mileage record of 75,065 miles (120,805km).
In order to better Godwin’s 76-year-old mark, he must ride an average of at least 205 miles (330km) a day. As of Thursday, January 15, Abraham had clocked up 2727.7 miles, which is above the distance Godwin had ridden at that point in his landmark year.
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Of course, Abraham didn’t just jump on his steel Raleigh Sojourn on January 1 and start riding, his attempt is the culmination of planning and preparation that started three years ago, and possibly long before that given that he’s ridden 23 24-hour time trials.
“I’ve been doing long rides for years,” Abraham told Cycling Weekly. “The biggest thing for me was working with heart rate monitors for the first time which proved I can keep riding for hours on end.”
Abraham is riding to a schedule of 82,835 miles – well beyond Godwin’s mark – and is hoping to up the mileage of his rides as the days get lighter and the weather gets warmer. Right now, he’s battling through gusty winds, rain and ice – and the occasional spill.
“The most important thing is listening to my body. If I’m feeling bad, I will stop. There’s no point continuing on then. But if I’m feeling good, I’ll keep riding.”
Aside from the fatigue that you suffer during such an attempt, Abraham has also had to find funding for the year as he’s taken the time off work as a warehouse worker and is supported by sponsors and donations from private individuals.
“I’ve been saving up, and so I’m using money to get by while I’m out of work in the next year,” Abraham said. “I’m doing whatever it takes in an attempt to beat the record.”
Amazingly, Abraham’s mileage isn’t currently topping Strava’s global mileage league table for January 2015 – that honour goes to Strava user ‘Cycle_dr 1’, also known as Bruce from Richmond, London, who is currently riding over 300km a day during January in the distinctly warmer and sunnier climes of Adelaide, Australia. Abraham is a close second.
It’s not enough for Abraham to just ride the distance and view his stats on Strava, his attempt is being validated by the Ultra-Marathon Cycling Association, who will confirm his mileage and the point at which he breaks Tommy Godwin’s record.