the rider is cooped up in a tight fitting carbon fiber shell looking through a thin piece of scratched up pop bottle plastic

Greg Kolodziejzyk, a keen physical endurance competitor, has just broken the record for the furthest a human can travel under his own power in 24 hours. The photo is of the machine he did it in: a recumbent bicycle with a carbon fiber fairing into which Greg is taped shut for best aerodynamics.

I discovered Greg’s site whilst reading the RSS feed from Gizmag. It’s an absorbing read, covering the design of the machine Critical Power, the training, and the failed first attempt at the record.

The second time Greg got it right, traveling 1046.94 km (650.538 miles) in 24 hours, 25.58 km further than the previous record set in 1995. I signed up to follow his email alerts, and he summed up at the end by saying:

It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done and took some major, major deep digging to find the strength to continue and to ramp up the effort level as my averages started to dwindle.

You can see photos of the event on Flickr, and there are some videos on You Tube.

I’d have enough trouble staying up for 24 hours on the trot, let alone cycling (bar pitstops every 2 hours for a few minutes) at an average speed of 43km/h for the whole time. In fact, given the pit stops, I expect the kind of speed whilst in motion and cruising was consistently above 50km/h (30mph).

Congratulations Greg.