Monday, 6 April 2015

Steve Abraham - One Year Time Trial.....

I'm been meaning to mention Steve Abraham on this blog for a while now - never seem to get round to it - but I have now.

I often wonder who is looking at these pages? - I imagine Gary and I make up the majority of visits, but then there have been over 43,000 hits since we started - take out the 30,000 for me and Gaz and that still leaves a few thousand people - are they cyclists? - in the main probably yes. But then there may be a few people who find the site by chance, who are maybe considering the Le Jog challenge and doing a bit of online research - the reason I mention this is because I think that anyone with more than a passing interest in cycling will already know about Steve Abraham and what he is attempting. But for those who don't, the passing blow-in who is starting out, the idle browser.... here is an introduction to Steve Abraham and his 'One Year Time Trial'.

First a bit of history.

Tommy Godwin in action
In 1939 a cyclist called Tommy Godwin set the world record for miles cycled in a year. Incredibly he cycled 75.065 miles. Just consider that for a minute. Averaging 205 miles a day - every day, Christmas Day, through snow, rain wind, no matter if he was ill, feeling tired or just fed up - every single day out there on the bike.... anyone who has cycled a hundred miles will know how it feels at the end of the day, a few will have managed 150 or even (fewer still) 200 miles. The idea of doing that every day for a year is mind boggling - it just doesn't seem possible, outside the bounds of human endurance? But not only did Tommy achieve it, he set the record that's stood the test of time, he did it on a steel bike with only 4 gears and when he ended his record breaking year - what did he do? - He carried on. Becoming the record holder for the fastest man to achieve 100,000 miles. At that point he called it a day and set about learning to walk again.

Steve Abraham
Fast forward to 4.00am January 1st 2015 and Steve Abraham, 40 years old and already a legendary long distance rider within the Audax fraternity, sets off with the aim of beating the 76 year old record. He has been planning it for 2 years and has a year off work to make it happen. For the next twelve months he will toil long and hard on the roads around his home town of Milton Keynes, occasionally travelling out to stay overnight with a volunteer who will feed him and give him a bed for the night. It's a relentless schedule but by the end of March Steve has racked up 16,888 miles (that's right, in just 3 months) compared to Tommy Godwins total of 14,364 at the same point - it's all looking remarkably good. And then disaster, Steve is struck by a moped and falls from his bike breaking his ankle in two places. Amazingly he carries on for a few hours until the pain becomes unbearable - a trip to hospital confirms the extent of his injuries and he undergoes an operation to fix the broken bones. He's now in plaster. For mere mortals this would surely be the end of a valiant attempt? But for Steve - No.

This just gets more and more unbelievable. He decides to carry on the attempt. Riding a specially adapted recumbent bicycle (one of those bikes that looks like the rider is lying on the floor). The bike is adapted so that his broken ankle is in a 'resting' position - not unlike lying on a sofa - whilst his other 'good' leg does all the pedalling - its not ideal but apparently he's hoping to ride 100 miles a day with just the one leg. And being outside in the sunlight will aid his recovery - the Vitamin D will help the healing process. The 'advantage' miles he had built up since New Years day will disappear - but in 6 weeks or so he should be able to cycle with two legs again - then he has the summer to get back on track.

It's just an incredible story - I'm hoping someone is following with cameras and that there'll be a documentary at the end - and if he achieves it, breaks the record, I should think some sort of honour would be inevitable - after all Bradley became a knight and he only rode a couple of thousand miles when he won The Tour!

Keep track of how Steve is doing at:

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