I first met Tarzan about 7 or 8 years ago. We were both racing in a sprint adventure race series that is long gone. Of course, I was on a team and he was racing solo. You see Tarzan has this unique ability to spend hour upon hour alone, while pushing himself beyond the physical limits of most humans.
Over the years I was but a bystander as Tarzan took on ultra cycling events. His Facebook page was filled with training days consisting of 200 and 300 mile bike rides through the hills of central Arkansas. Then there was the Race Across America (RAAM). And then another one. Record setting bike rides crossing the country, days and nights of saddle time.
Ultra cyclist Kurt Searvogel (52) of Arkansas, known as Tarzan in the cycling world, will attempt to break the HAM’R, Highest Annual Miles Record this year. In 1939, Tommy Godwin cycled 75,065 miles – an average of 205 miles per day. An outrageous physical and mental feat that is incomprehensible to most anyone who rides a bike, even those who consider themselves ultra endurance athletes. Kurt Searvogel will need to ride over 206 miles every day for one year to beat this record – he can’t afford a bad day!
Chasing ideal weather and long straight flat roads, the venture will begin in Florida starting January 10, 2015, staying in the sunshine state for the first few weeks of the year before heading west towards California. The route will zigzag all over the United States as he also aims to ride in numerous races and events including RAAM Race Across America for the third time.
“In 2011 I was presented with a challenge of riding more than 200 century rides and covering more that 25,000 miles (once around the earth) for the year. At the end of the year I finished up with 212 centuries and over 27,000 miles ridden. I was pretty damn proud of myself until someone posted about Tommy Godwin and his world record of 75,000 miles in one year. Was this even a real thing that could be done?” says Kurt Searvogel. “Then, a few weeks ago the UMCA or Ultra Marathon Cycling Association stepped in and announced the rules governing the attempt. I read the rules and without a doubt said YES, I CAN DO THIS!”.
“Anyone who knows Kurt and has watched his athletic endeavors over the years would be hard pressed to bet against him. His signature mental fortitude and enduring strength will serve him well as he launches his assault on this seemingly untouchable record.” John Foote – UltraRaceNews
The challenge has begun with two more ultra cyclists, Steve Abraham of the UK and William Pruett of the US, competing to break the HAM’R Highest Annual Miles Record.
Also watch the Arkansas Outside Facebook Page for chances to be a part of this historic ride during the next year.
UPDATE: CNN ran this article on Englishman, Steve Abraham a competitor in the HAMR this year. He feels that Kurt is too fast to do this. Marathon cyclist begins record attempt. Our money is on Tarzan.