Steven Abraham is biking 75,000+ miles this year (more than 120,000 km). If he manage to ride those 200+ miles/day, he is going to beat a world record that haven’t been beaten for more than 75 years and set a new UMCA Highest Annual Mileage Record!
Here on Icebike.org we have talked with several randonneurs (endurance cyclists) and made a list of questions that we wanted to ask Steven. In this video he answers all the questions together with Idai Makaya from his team.
Steven and Idai talks about his motivation and the drive it takes to do that kind of mileage in all weathers.
They also talk about how it’s going after Steven broke his ankle when an inattentive driver hit him from behind, the Raleigh Sojourn bike that Steven is using and the competition from Kurt Searvogel.
How did you randonneuring background prepare you for the One Year Time Trial?
Idai: So I’m going to ask the questions to you and you go fire away as you please. Sorry, I can’t find them now, they’re gone. Okay, question one, how did your randonneuring background prepare you for the time trial?
Steven: It taught me how to ride long distance I suppose. It gave me an idea of how to go about it.
Idai: Did you regard some of your randonneuring as practice for this towards the start of this challenge?
Steven: Yeah, it taught me how to do it I think.
Idai: And would you say it’s very different to randonneuring, what you’re doing now?
Steven: I don’t know really. I mean it’s long distance riding but you don’t have a followed or set route. You’re trying not to do that, that way you can go as much as you can.
And it’s definitely not the same.
How do you stay motivated to bike 200+ miles every day?
Idai: The next question Steven is how do you stay motivated to bike more than 200 miles a day and what do you think about all day? I know you’ve been asked that before but how do you stay motivated?
Steven: You just go out and do it. I don’t know how…
Idai: You just do it?
Steven: You just go out and work every day as far as there is money.
How is your ankle doing?
Idai: So with all the money I guess you must be thoroughly enjoying this. The next question Steven is how is your ankle doing and the rest of your body? Is everything okay or do you have any problems?
Steven: The ankle is getting better I think. The legs are tired but I’ve been here a whole year, I mean nothing of it. That’s the funny thing about it.
Steven: I thought I would get aches and pains but nothing hurts.
Idai: You feel normal like how you used to feel when you were just riding normally?
Steven: I get a bit tired and sleepy sometimes.
Idai: But not physical, not injuries.
Steven: No, a bit of knee trouble twice I think.
Idai: Yeah, early in the year.
Steven: Early in the year. It only really got better last week. It was really nothing, just tiny. That’s about it really.
Why did you continue after your injury?
Idai: The next question I’ve got to ask is why did you continue after your injury? Wouldn’t have it been better to start over when you were completely recovered?
Steven: Well, if there’s still a chance you do it. It was only 15 [days] so why not keep going? It did actually help with the recovery of the ankle as well. You work it just doing that.
How do you feel about the competition from Kurt Searvogel?
Idai: And Steven, how do you feel about the competition from Kurt in the United States before and after your injury? And they ask as well, do you think you will beat him?
Steven: I think it’s still worth a chance. He could have bad luck as well but even then, I still think there might be a chance but I wouldn’t expect to. He is doing really well.
How do you feel about Searvogel using a recumbent some days?
Idai: Okay, and they ask this question which I think you’ve been asked before but I’ll ask you it again. How do you feel about Kurt using a recumbent on some days?
Steven: Fair enough, it’s not in the rules. He’s not breaking any rules. I agree to the rules and I uptake the rules, a bit dark as well, to complain about people riding within the rules when neither of them upset them. I didn’t like the idea of recumbent too but like I said they’re just making the rules up. I didn’t.
This is a Paris-Breast-Paris year. What are your PBP plans?
Idai: That makes sense. This is a PBP here, a Paris Brest Paris here, what are your PBP plans?
Steven: Just to ride it, enjoy it, but I’ve still got to get on and do the miles and that one is going to be tricky because I’ve got to literally keep riding for a start and turn up and get going straight away.
Idai: And how do you think riding in the PBP will compare with your normal bike days, i.e. riding alone versus riding with thousands of PBP participants.
Steven: It’s going to be a lot of fun. It always has been. It’s always a good ride, the PBP. That’s why I wanted to do it. If you’re going to do a lot of miles you might as well try to enjoy.
I know you use a set of Raleigh Sojourn bikes. Why did you choose this bike?
Idai: That makes sense. And they know you use a Raleigh bike, why did you choose this bike, they say, compared with other bikes? Why steel touring bikes instead of light faster bikes?
Steven: They’re still reliable. I mean I’m out on my own all day.
Still just proven and it’s a lighter bike that is much faster on the flat roads. I’m not going 30 miles an hour like Bradley Wiggins; I’m doing 15-20 miles an hour. I don’t know what the aerodynamics are but I mean I can take the mud guards off. That might make it a bit faster. Does it really make that much difference?
How do you choosen when to change bike, saddle, etc.?
Idai: How do you choose when to change your bike or your saddle or anything? How do you decide when to rotate bikes?
Steven: Well, there’s nothing that goes wrong with them, that’s the trouble. The chains wear out and if it just feels a bit, you know, one of the problems, well it’s not a problem, but one of the things that happens here is the gear kit will seize up and that’s about the only thing that’s wrong with them.
In the time trials I wouldn’t necessarily work with them, it’s quicker for me to swap bikes than to do it for myself so someone else can sort of ring out what needs to be done. It’s just a quick job, not trying to weld or something like that. But if there’s quite a few things that need doing, it makes more sense to swap bikes and get it checked over in that way.
What kind of recumbent do you use?
Idai: What kind of recumbent, they say what kind of recumbent do you use and have you made any changes to it? I know you’re not currently using a recumbent but you’ve used one during the record.
Steven: Yeah, I don’t use a recumbent now. It was only with a broken ankle and Ice Vortex and put a thing on there so I could rest my ankle.
Tommy Godwin set the current record in 1939. How do you compare your attempts?
Idai: Tommy Godwin set the current record in 1939. How do you compare you attempt with his, different times, different bikes, etc. Do you have anything to say on that aspect?
Steven: Well I don’t compare it really. It’s different times. Bike discs and the bike technology is better.
Idai: Not too different, but yes, different.
Steven: Well you didn’t have that on the season but you had a thought on that. Maybe he’s a vegetarian or not. It’s a different age now. I don’t see how he can compare it that well.
Idai: No, that makes sense. Those are all the questions from Ice Bike so thanks for that Steven. I think we should let you go now, it’s twenty past nine, you probably need to catch a few a winks before tomorrow’s ride. Any plans for tomorrow of how you’re planning to ride tomorrow yet? Do you know?
Steven: I’m just trying to recover a bit. I’m going to be doing it a bit.
Idai: Thanks very much Steven. I think we’ve got that now.