[Editor's Note: Many of us dream about putting our names into the record books. But few of us succeed, especially on such a grand scale as Amanda Coker, a pro cyclist on the TWENTY24 Pro Cycling team. Amanda is an ultra-distance cycling star, and she recently shattered a series of world records for riding the greatest distances within a 24-hour period. We are in awe of Amanda's accomplishments, and we're exceedingly proud to present both TWENTY24's report on her incredible feat, followed by Amanda's personal recap of the attempt, courtesy of of her team.]
Ultra-distance cycling is growing in popularity, pushing the human limits beyond what one thinks is possible. But unless it’s on gravel, many overlook the ultra-open road records. Events like Unbound XL (350 miles), Iowa Wind and Rock (340 Miles), Gravel Worlds Long Voyage (300 miles) have gained traction and the spotlight, but let’s take a moment to read about Amanda’s accomplishments this past Friday [October 22, 2021]. Words come to mind like astonishing, outstanding, incredible, amazing, and well, frankly, a little crazy! The goal was to ride as many miles as possible in a 24-hour open road ride. She eclipsed the previous record of 439 miles and scored a total of 11 world records in the one ride.
Ultra-endurance competition is defined as events that exceed 6 hours in duration. The longer events rely on long-term preparation, sufficient nutrition, accommodation of environmental stressors, and psychologic toughness. Amanda's (unofficial, but soon to be certified) accomplishments on Friday October 22nd, 2021 are as follows:
- Cycling 100km - 2:42:33
- 100 Miles - 4:19:40
- 200km - 5:23:10
- 300km - 8:06:35
- 200 Miles - 8:42:37
- 300 Miles - 13:17:00
- 500km - 13:45:30
- 500 Miles - 23:13:45
- Distance cycling in 6 Hours - 138 miles
- 12 Hours - 272 miles
- 24 Hours - 512.52 miles
After months of planning, training, prep work, and research, my dream to be the first woman in history to break 500 miles in 24 hours came true! Before I go on I would just like to thank my amazing crew/officials, Donna (mom), Ricky (dad), Allan, Chris, Dan, Jason, and Sonya for being there for me for every single mile! It definitely takes a village to make breaking multiple world records a success, and I’ll forever be thankful for having each of them there to keep me rolling, and for catching me at the finish line.
The course I selected (which was surveyed and verified to be used for my open road record attempt by the WUCA [World Ultra Cycling Association] records chairman), is 28.39 miles on an out-and-back open road. It was nice finding this strip of road, not only because it was close to my home/convenient location for my crew, but also for visibility (no sharp turns/blindspots), as well as a nice sized area on the right side of the white line to ride in. With that said, the notorious Florida winds (Florida hills) were ever so present, even through the night time the crosswinds were constant, regardless of the North/South direction. Thank goodness I was riding my new Felt IA—this bike was designed to take on crosswinds, which made it much more tolerable!
In accordance with WUCA rules, I had a follow vehicle keeping an eye on me all throughout the 24 hours, with flashing rear caution lights and signage. Very glad I had such great follow vehicle drivers because traffic flowed over 60mph on this strip of road! To ensure my record was up to par and within all WUCA rules I had several WUCA officials present, monitoring the entire attempt, verifying every mile/minute. Standing atop the hill at the Start/Finish line with my crew, giving everyone final high fives and hugs, I took my last deep breath and hit the start button on my Wahoo. At 8:15am, my 24 hour record attempt began.
There’s an indescribable feeling pushing off the ground, clipping in, knowing the next 24 hours are going to be emotionally, mentally, and physically taxing. With numbers locked in my head, I was fully focused the entire time. The first twelve hours flew by so quickly, surpassing the 100K world record in 2:42:33, 100 mile record in 4:19:40, the 6 hour record with 138 miles, 300K record in 8:06:35, 200 mile record in 8:42:37, 300 mile record in 13:17:00, and the 12 hour record with 272 miles. I concentrated on settling into a smooth and steady rhythm, focusing on getting calories in early and keeping my caffeine levels even. During the day I had one headphone in listening to music, which is allowed within WUCA rules, and I could hear all the notification dings from my friends, family, teammates, athletes, sponsors, and followers. Even though I couldn’t see the messages it definitely helped boost my drive just hearing them!
My crew kept me fueled efficiently, handing off bottles by running beside me at full on sprint pace! Major kudos to them for turning into Olympic sprinters for the day. I personally like to use a liquid only diet during any race, to get quick absorption and for any off chance I feel sick (which I never did), throwing up fluid is a lot less disgusting than solid food.
As the hours and miles ticked by, the sun set and it was time for 12 hours of darkness. Personally I like riding in the dark, especially during an ultra race. There’s just something unique about riding with only a light guiding your way, it makes you feel like you’re flying on the bike. 13 hours and 17 minutes in I surpassed the 300K world record, and less than a half an hour later surpassed the 300 mile world record. Having several records within the 24 hours to shoot for absolutely helped me stay focused.
After 342 miles, I figured it was about time to pull into the pit for a quick bathroom stop. Being out in the Wilderness Preserve, there were no bathrooms here, so I used a small camping shower tent and a portable potty bucket. A quick 8-minute stop and I was back on the bike. My crew were phenomenal in that short break; swapping out fresh bottles, checking tire pressure, checking portable chargers, helping me clean up and giving me supplies to reapply, not to mention my follow vehicle driver, crew member, and the official in the car getting a chance to take a quick stretch break! It was like a NASCAR pit stop, many cogs turning.
Getting back on the bike with 9 hours left to go, it was all mental from that point on. Physically I felt good, typical muscle soreness, but that is expected with such distance and being in the same position for a long period of time. I never once felt the urge to quit, going into this 24 hour world record, I put a lot of time into the pain cave while training. I’m sure many of you at Flatwoods saw me after a ride looking completely drained! Personally I believe if you train harder than you expect to race, your performance will be even better than you planned. All about getting out of your comfort zone and pushing your limits!
During the early morning hours, the deer were out all along the road, so my follow vehicle and I had to be on high alert. There was one particular stag that stood in the same spot on the course every time I came by, which became my indication I had 4 miles to the Start/Finish. As with my previous world records set riding at Flatwoods, I never get tired of “loops.” The consistency and lack of having to worry about multiple turns, different road conditions, stops, etc eliminates the extra mental focus that should be used to stay in tune with just riding. One of the best parts of doing a record on a “loop” is getting to ride by your crew, family, and friends often! Talk about a burst of energy that overcomes you, “inspiration may be contagious,” but there’s something powerful when your friends are jumping up and down dancing and cheering!
With less than three hours to go my front light was growing dim, so I made a quick pit stop to swap out lights. It was truly a NASCAR like roll through this time around, a speedy stop before I clipped back in and was off to close in on breaking the 500 mile barrier! Surpassing the 29 year old 24 hour record of 439 miles was a wonderful feeling, a lifetime since the record was set! Nearing the 500 mile barrier my excitement grew as every mile ticked closer. Getting ready to make history as the first woman to ever break 500 miles in 24 hours is a feeling I have difficulty explaining and still haven’t fully digested! The moment I rolled over 500 miles, my Dad was driving the follow vehicle, Chris was my Crew Chief in the passenger seat, and Dan was the official on duty in the back. That moment was so special, Chris got a video of me celebrating and with that exclamation of excitement and elation, I dumped all my adrenaline. It was quite the moment, the sun was rising, the air was cool, and I could hear my voice echo all across the road.
The next 14 miles were merely about pedaling back to the Start/Finish line, emotions over flowing me, focused on adding what I could with the time left before the timer hit 24 hours. Coming up on the Start/Finish hill I could hear my crew and friends yelling and cheering. What a moment. I had enough time to go a few more miles past the start line. Holding my breath as I pressed the Save button on my Wahoo, it was official, the 24 hour barrier had been broken! Turning around I made it back up to where everyone was and I was so happy to have them grab me as I unclipped and fell into my Mom’s arms. My body was so tired that I couldn’t lift my leg over to dismount, so they had to removed my Felt seat post, and guide the bike away.
I knew I would cry, so the tears flowed as everyone surrounded me in a huge group hug. Everyone’s emotions were in full force, the team work to accomplish this feat was spectacular and to stand there holding onto everyone was the best moment of the day. This was the moment we all worked so hard for. We did it!
As of right now my 11 new world records are being certified by the WUCA records chairman and will soon become Guinness World Records. I would like to thank all of my sponsors, especially my Twenty24 Women’s Pro Cycling Team owner, Nicola Cranmer, for taking a chance on me in 2018 and adding me to your squad. Thanks to all of my teammates who cheered me all day and night! Looking forward to continuing to make you proud! Zwift, Felt Bicycles, Zipp, SRAM, Le Col, Limar, Speedplay, Wahoo, Arundel, Sock Guy, Kenda Tires, Camelbak, Oakley, AMP PR Lotion.
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