Eddlemon Rider Narrative June 25-26, 2017

Rider G.K. Eddlemon’s Narrative Summary
105th through 110th WUCA Records (pending certification)!
Note to reader: I’ve yet to recheck my arithmetic for total number of records, but I believe these are the correct figures.  And yes, some of these records were set in some of our smallest states.
Ten time and distance trial record attempts were made concurrently:
WUCA Time/Distance Trials:  100-Km; 100-Mile; 200-Km; 300-Km; 200-Mile; 300-Mile; 500-Km; 6-Hour; 12-Hr; 24-Hr.
Name of Rider:  Gerald K. “Gerry” Eddlemon
Start date and time:
June 25, 2017 at 9:01:00  AM local (EST) time.
Exact Start Location:
Official start line in Lane 7 of Oak Ridge High School’s Ben Martin 400-M runner’s track, Oak Ridge, TN.  Actual length of one lap in Lane 7 = 440.021 meters.
Conditions:  Pleasant and partly cloudy at the morning start; sunny and hot (>90 F) in the day; unpleasantly cool (mid to high 50s F) in the night. Mostly light winds with some gusts.
The 400-m runners’ track’s surface, on the other hand, was unbanked and of rubberized asphalt with small rubber “crumblies” that seemed to suck energy away – big time.  Rubber tires on a deliberately roughened rubber surface may be excellent for runners, but certainly seems a bad combination for cyclists when it comes to rolling resistance, and I proved it to be true!
Why attempt these records?  At almost 72 years of age, a benefit of serving on the board of directors was learning that the WUCA was incorporating several new metric distance world record events into the old suite of only five time and distance trials recognized by the WUCA as official world record events, making a new total of 13 record events.  I thought to myself: wouldn’t it be really cool to be the first to set the official WUCA overall world records for several of these new events (regardless of age category!).  But I knew I would have to act fast to have even a chance before some young, and much faster, whippersnapper . . .um . . . whipped and snapped them up.
I was all too aware that at my age, my times and distances were likely to be much slower and shorter, even embarrassingly so, than some of the younger elite cyclists were capable of.  In the event, I was stunned at just how my performances would suffer from old age; interrupted and inadequate training due to multiple family illnesses, injuries, and hospitalizations; a very slow track (for cycling); and, after almost giving up on finding a venue, so little time to prepare and arrange for the record attempts (less than a week).
I had been in contact or outright negotiations with several velodromes in the eastern half of the country, but was unable to pin down a specific time frame with any of them until well after other cyclists would have already set records beyond my capabilities.
In desperation, I had even tried to contact my old high school in Oak Ridge, Tennessee about the possibility of using the very 400-m track I had used more than 50 years ago as a half-miler and miler for the Oak Ridge High School Wildcats!  Talk about coming full circle (or full-oval as Official Mark Cristy corrected me – Mark and I were one half of a pretty good two-mile relay team way back then)!
School was out when I tried to contact  my old high school.  I knew none of the current staff; I was well aware of the deficiencies of a runners’ track for cycling and the concerns of many track coaches regarding the potential adverse effects of bike wheels on a running surface, but fortunately Coach Etheridge understood the relative vertical and shearing forces of pounding feet in spiked shoes (probably thousands of psi) vs a couple of smooth and smooth-running wheels at a steady 90 psi on a running track.  More than 1200 laps later, I very much doubt the most discerning eye could even tell which lane I used for the record attempts.
One big advantage of using my old high school track, was its proximity – only 16 miles or so from my current home.  I figured that would make recruiting a team of officials and crew much easier, but nevertheless it proved a big challenge when I was surprised to learn less than one week out from my already delayed date for the record attempts I had received permission to use the high school track.
Another reason: extending myself further and further to see what I can do with the opportunities and admittedly limited talent God seems to have given me after I believed, only 13 years ago, to be all washed-up as an athlete after a devastating knee injury.  I’ll certainly never be in the same league as a Penseyres, Haldeman, Hogan, Robic, or Strasser, or one of any number of other outstanding ultracyclists, but I’m nevertheless amazed at how far a fairly ordinary and aging athlete can manage to push himself on a bike.
And yet another reason: demonstrating to the public what even older folks can accomplish on what is perhaps the most efficient machine for transportation ever invented – the bicycle.  Most people who inquire about what in the world I’m doing are surprised, if not sometimes downright flabbergasted, to learn not only that I’m riding hundreds of miles in a single day, but that I’m often as old or even much older than they.  Just maybe some of them will be encouraged to get off the couch, out of the house, out of the car, and see the world from a bike.
And quite frankly, a chance to add to my list of successful record attempts – 104 confirmed WUCA records (one of which was actually a tie), most of them open-class – 108 if one counts my speed-hiking records in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and a Tennessee Senior Olympics 20-km cycling record (imagine that — an ultracyclist winning and setting a record in a 12-mile race!).  For some time I had been saying that maybe I’ll go for an even hundred if I live long enough, and I was dead serious about that latter condition –  “if I live long enough.”  But no longer!  Pending certification by the WUCA, these six admittedly slow performances should yield a total of 110 WUCA records in my 11-year career.  By no stretch of the imagination did I consider this a possibility when I first tested myself at a WUCA record attempt across my home state of Tennessee almost exactly 11 years ago.
Equipment:  Titanium Litespeed Teramo, Selle Anatomica saddle, Syntace aerobars, SpeedPlay pedals, Cane Creek bar-end shifters, and Shimano Ultegra transmission.  This bike, manufactured in Ooltewah, TN about 80 miles down the road from my home, has been my mount of choice for 100 of my 104 WUCA records and six pending world records, and most of the races leading to my only overall UltraMarathon World Cup championship in 2010 and my 2015 and 2016 World Cup Six-Hour Challenge championships.  It was my first modern road bike.  I doubt there is any other single bike in the world ridden for so many records and championships.
I also rode nearly half the total distance of the latest attempts on my Motobecane Le Champion back-up bike with the Ultegra components group and my almost new but outstanding Rivet Independence saddle by Rivet Cycle Works.  This beautiful saddle, as it breaks in, is quickly becoming my saddle of choice.
Food and Drink:  Water, including sparkling water, Original V8 Juice (lots of sodium and potassium), chocolate milk, Endurolyte pills, Ensure energy shake, yogurt smoothies, cookies, M&M peanuts, one PB&J sandwich.
Best Part: The expert support and officiating of my wonderful team of Crew-chief Mikki Eddlemon, crewmen Kirk and Laura Eddlemon; and, in alphabetical order, WUCA Judges Uche Anozie, Mark Cristy, John Gunning, Tiantian Jiang, Gary Speer, and last but not least, Bill Williams.
Hardest Part:  Preparations for the record attempts on very short notice.  I don’t believe I’ve ever been so ill-prepared for a race or record attempt – and I’m notorious for my rather disorganized preparations.  So much time spent trying to recruit crew and officials in such a short time left me with little time to do my own personal preparations, including training and tapering.  I ended up with less than two hours sleep the night before the start (some jerks firing off really loud firecrackers behind my house nearly nine days before the 4th didn’t help), and in my rush to get to the start in time, I didn’t even take time to eat or drink except for a single last-minute hard-boiled egg.
Another bit of unpleasantness that has really bothered me from time to time on my many record attempts: having to tell well-meaning cyclists I come across during the ride that they may not ride with me.  How does one do that without sounding like a jerk because there is so little time to explain?
Well it happened at the track when a cycling couple saw the signs for what I was attempting to do, and asked if they could ride a lap with me (they asked from off the track).  All I had time to yell out was an emphatic “No!” and a rather pathetic “They won’t allow it!” followed by an even fainter “Sorry.”  My apparent rudeness gnawed off and on at me for much of the remainder of the ride – what must they think of us seemingly arrogant and self-absorbed WUCA folks?  Well many hours later, a young woman cyclist showed up at the finish to congratulate me – and she turned out to be none other than the one who asked to ride with me!  She was totally understanding of my “No”, and we became instant cycling buddies from that moment on
Unusual Happenings:  As I walked out onto Ben Martin Track to check out the track’s potential as a velodrome for about the first time since I ran track for the great Coach Ben Martin from 1962-64, more than 53 years ago, a gentleman in his thirties with a little boy walked out behind me.  As we chatted, I mentioned that I ran for Coach Martin’s Wildcats way back in the early ‘60s.  The gentleman turned out to be no less than Coach Martin’s grandson, Jay Martin, and his little boy, Coach Martin’s great grandson!  Full-circle indeed!
Perhaps not so unusual for long distance attempts – difficulties eating and keeping food down after a couple hundred miles, and black-outs forcing me to lie down on the track for a few minutes to avoid a potentially serious crash. I lost a net of about 5 lbs of actual weight (not water) in the course of the ride.
Brain freeze (ice cream headache) – I was surprised how cold it became in the night.  I had brought shipping tape to cover my helmet vents just in case it was unusually cold at night, but could not find the tape when I really needed it!  My head felt like I had a moderate but nevertheless most unpleasant ice-cream headache for many hours during the night.  And as always, changing sweaty shorts and jerseys in the night was a time-consuming and frustrating ordeal.
Acknowledgements: My sincere thanks to Head WUCA Official John Gunning, Officials Uche Anozie, Mark Cristy, Tiantian Jiang, Gary Speer, and Bill Williams, Crew-chief Mikki Eddlemon, and Crewmen Laura and Kirk Eddlemon for their professional but friendly help in this crossing attempt.  Much appreciated also are the cheerleading visits by Official John Gunning’s wife, Susan, and Bill Williams wife, Betty.  Without good people like these, I would never have been able to attempt my very first record crossing of Tennessee some 11 years ago, nor any of the 103 records since.
I should give special mention to wife Mikki Eddlemon, and old friend and track teammate, Mark Cristy, who together have served as crew or official for over half of my more than 100 WUCA record rides and many races including several world, national, and regional championship wins.
A hearty thank-you also to the coaching and administrative staff of Oak Ridge High School, including Head Track Coach Allen Etheridge, Athletic Director Mike Mullins, and Ms Teresa Seals, who kindly granted me permission to transform the Ben Martin runners’ track into Tennessee’s only velodrome (Coach Ben Martin Velodrome!) for the duration of these record attempts.
And finally, as good King Harry V stated (at least as Shakespeare has it) on learning that  he and his little band of brothers had, almost miraculously, won the Battle of Agincourt – “I thank God, and not my own strength for it.”
Dedication:  I dedicate these record attempts to my ailing, but so much more beloved, Mother and Father, and to my wonderful track coaches of long ago – the late Coach Ben Martin of the Oak Ridge High Wildcats, and very much alive Coach Chuck Rohe of the University of Tennessee Volunteers.  Believe it or not, Coach Rohe, now in his eighties, is recovering from a pretty bad bike crash as I write this!  Get well soon, Coach Rohe – “What a day!” and back on the bike!
Exact Finish Location:
Different points in Lane 7 of Oak Ridge High School’s Ben Martin 400-M runner’s track, Oak Ridge, TN, depending on specific event.  Actual length of one lap in Lane 7 = 440.021 meters.
Exact Finish Times or Distances:
Start time: 9:01:00 AM, EST, June 25, 2017
Record Event
Clock Time at Finish
Elapsed Time/Distance
Average Speed
(mph)
100 Km
12:41:05 PM
  3:40:05
27.26 kph
200 Km
  5:24:24 PM
  8:23:24
23.84 kph
300 Km
10:38:45 PM
13:37:45
22.01 kph
500 Km
00:13:59 PM, 2nd d
27:12:59
11.42 kph
100-Mile
  3:33:09 PM
  6:32:09
15.30 mph
200-Mile
00:31:45 AM
15:30:45
12.89 mph
300 Mile
11:12:06 AM
26:11:06
11.46 mph
6 Hour
  3:01:00 PM
  92.97 mi
15.50 mph
12 Hour
  9:01:00 PM
166.10 mi
13.84 mph
24 Hour
  9:01:00 AM, 2nd d
276.34 mi
11.51 mph