24 hour record report

Hey everyone:

I am recovering. Like I say to the media when they ask how I feel: "right now, I feel like I was run over by a truck".

Here is a re-cap of my 24 hour adventure on Saturday/Sunday.

Before I start, I really want to extend my gratitude to friends and family who came out to help and support me. There would not have been any attempt if not for your help! In fact, I would NOT have finished the 24 hours if it wasn't for you. I would have quit. The only thing that kept me going at 4:00 am was that I couldn't allow myself to quit because I couldn't let you down. You had invested so much into this that I felt indebted to you and I felt that this was the least I could do to pay you back for your investment. You were counting on me to do my best, and that is what I was determined to do even though every single muscle cell of my body (and my stomach) was screaming at me to stop. I didn't stop, and in a very small way, I am a better man now because of that. Again, I have you guys to thank for that.

My crew: My wife Helen, sisters Theresa and Carol, my dad Rudi, Ben Eadie, Stefan Dalberg, John Mackay, Gary Erickson

Official HPVA Observers: Rob Hitchcock, Joey, Melanie, Chris, Greg

Glenmore reservoir patrol boat: Trevor Lamb and his staff

Photographers: Ben Eadie, Jennifer Armand, Karl Staddon

Signs: my bro - Alan

Psychological support: my mom Liz, Karl Gall, Linda Gall, Cyrille Armand, Jennifer Armand, Tom Short, Gord Weber, Val Erickson, Cody and Krista, Nick, Andy, Keisha, Stephan, Ryan, Bridget, Dustin, etc, etc

Also thanks to all of the others who stopped by during the day to check out my progress and cheer me on! Your support means more to me than you realize.

Friday, June 1, 2007 - "the last supper"

At 9:00 am I met Stefan, the surveyor Adrian Slater from Precision Geomatics Inc., Rob Hitchcock and the patrol boat out at the reservoir to pick out and measure my course. The surveyor Adrian was kind enough to donate his time. We decided on a rectangular course that routed around the rowing lanes. My starting waypoint would be an invisible mark 5 feet out from the dock. If I touched the dock when I went around, it was determined that I would have to be inside that invisible waypoint. The other 4 markers were existing and the surveyor took readings from his GPS at the center points of each 2 foot square box. The lake was calm and there was no wind. Here are the GPS coordinates starting at the dock.

N 50 Deg 59' 07.62732"
W 114 Deg 07' 00.57808"

Mk 1-
N 50 Deg 59' 12.41543"
W 114 Deg 06' 50.11895"

Mk 2-
N 50 Deg 59' 41.02233"
W 114 Deg 06' 05.17377"

Mk 3-
N 50 Deg 59' 38.87088"
W 114 Deg 06' 01.92596"

Mk 4-
N 50 Deg 59' 04.49201"
W 114 Deg 06' 55.76932"

Below is the GPS data plotted on Google Maps from AFTER the 24 hour record that shows my track during the 24 hours.

I invited the crew and their families out for dinner to Chiantes Italian restaurant to thank them in advance for their support and help. A great meal was had by all and I got to bed early - about 10:30 pm.

Saturday, June 2, 2007 - "race day"

I woke up at 7:00 am after a sound nights sleep. I had the car packed with my gear, and WiTHiN loaded onto the roof rack the night before, so all I had to do was get dressed, eat and head out. I did a couple of live telephone radio interviews before I headed out the door. I picked up my buddy Gary on the way and we drove straight to Glenmore Canoe Club at the Glenmore Reservoir.

I did another radio interview by cell phone when we arrived and Stefan, Gary and Ben helped unload WiTHiN and my 2 boxes of gear. By the time my interview was over, they had the boat set up on it's stand on the dock. I put the seat in, the drive leg, my food bin, GPS, cell phone and iPod. Stefan taped over the drive leg plug seam under the hull with Gorilla tape. I don't think this made any difference at all, but I thought that it would be a good way of stopping the bay plug from accidentally moving during the 24. It also covers over some very small seams between the plug and the hull - but didn't really make any noticeable difference to my speed or efficiency.

Rob Hitchcock arrived and went over procedures and schedules with the observers. Then the patrol boat came over to take the first two observers over to the turn around dock. The turn around dock is a small floating dock tied to the far North West corner of my 3.217981 km course.

9:00 am Saturday

Below is a plot from my GSP showing my average speeds throughout the day. I found this useful when trying to remember what I was feeling during different parts of the day:

I got into WiTHiN at about 5 minutes to 9:00 and Rob gave me a count down using his atomic clock. I started BEHIND the start waypoint at exactly 9:00 am.

I was instantly surprised at my cadence gain! 150 watts at 87 rpm!! It used to be 76 rpm. I had an overwhelming urge on Friday to give my prop another small twist. I knew from experience that you should never run anything untested on race day, but I was also very concerned about my knee problem which I think was due to the slow turn over and that extra stress placed on my knees. I had added some additional twist to my prop previously via instructions from Rick Willoughby (WiTHiN's designer), and the small increase in twist gave me a few additional RPMs, but not quite enough, as my cadence was still well under 80 at 150 watts. I knew that I would be slipping to 100 watts later on in the 24 hours and also knew that a cadence of 50 or less would be murder on my knees. I couldn't resist the urge, so I put the blades in the vice and added more twist. I was lucky because the spin was perfect - almost 90 RPM and still at around 80 for lower wattage's.

The first few hours were great - I was enjoying the perfect day - sunshine and heating up nicely. Calm water, cheery crew, lots of people out on the lake in their kayaks, canoes, rowing sculls and outriggers. They all knew what i was doing from the signs at out home base dock, and all of the TV, radio and newspaper press I had been getting in the days leading up to the big event. Everyone was cheering me on and I felt really great.

2:00 pm Saturday

It started to get pretty hot - I was noting 32 degrees C (89 degrees F) on the SRM meter. My average speed was between 8.5 and 9 kph, my average watts was around 145 or so and my knees were OK, but my feet were getting a bit numb. I was still having a good time and generally enjoying the whole experience

6:00 pm Saturday

At 9 hours into the day I started to feel some aches creep into my knees. My feet were no long numb for some reason. Strange. I can remember trying to exaggerate the circling action of my legs rather than pushing. More pulling back as well as pushing, but with an attempt to actually lift my feet up off the shoe bed on each pull stroke. This seemed to work. It never really did anything in training, but today it was working for some reason. My average was still near 9 kph and my power output was still pretty good.

9:00 pm Saturday

The sun was setting now and I knew it would be a long and difficult night. I was kind of looking forward to riding at night on the lake though - something I have never experienced before. My pace had dropped to between 7.6 to 8 kph and my overall average had dropped to 8.5 kph. I was still way over record pace, but my goal was to pad that as much as possible because I knew what the night was going to bring. My knees were starting to hurt a lot. This was a difficult time psychologically because I was 1/2 way though and it was kind of awful to think about another 12 hours still left to go!!

After dark Saturday

The night was weird. I wasn't very happy because I was starting to get pretty uncomfortable from the pain in my knees, Achilles tendons and hamstrings. In reflecting on all of this now, I realize that it is probably due to the vastly reduced training period leading up to the event. I only had about 4 weeks to go from a fairly good trained state n my triathlon road bike to ultra endurance state in the recumbent position. It was the only time that fit into the summer and the schedule at the reservoir, so I thought I could do it. I was paying the price. I never felt pains like this during my two prior 24 hour record attempts with Critical Power streamliner on the track. In both previous efforts I had a few months worth of endurance training in the recumbent position, not a few weeks!

It also started to get very cold. I put on 3 sweaters, a rain jacket, my cycling pants and my winter mitts. I also started to feel very sick to my stomach. Greg who was observing on the far turn around dock during the entire night knows a little of what I was going through, and I don't want to say how he knew.

I was really surprised at how well i could see on the lake at night. The full moon - which was one reason why we scheduled this event for the first weekend in June - didn't actually rise until shortly before sunrise, so it was of no use to me. However, I had no problem seeing everything on the lake. Stefan mounted glow sticks on my course buoys so I could see them from across the lake.

I was being dive-bombed by bats! the strangest thing. At first they were kind of freaking me out. I realized that they were gliding a few inches above the surface of the water eating the mosquitos. The would stop just before hitting the boat and me, and flutter up and away. Very freaky though.

Thanks for all the phone calls!!! I got quite a few phone calls during the night and these really went a long way in passing the time. I was using these headphones by SkullCandy that plug into both your cell phone and your iPod. When you get a phone call, it mutes the iPod and connects you to the phone call. The headphone have a small clip on mic for hands free talking. They work really awesome!

Sunrise Sunday

I was starting to feel very sleepy shortly before sunrise. I think this might be due to my power output dropping so much that I just wasn't exerting as much effort to keep my heart rate up, keep me warm and alert. I would close my eyes for a minute and feel like I was starting to nod off. Then I would shake my head and slap my face to wake up. This was a pretty rough time. Falling asleep, can't get the power up because everything hurts so bad. My stomach was ready to heave up 20 hours worth of Gatorade, boost, coke, and bars.

The sun started to rise and I started to loose that sleepy feeling. My stomach was still bad, but I was concerned that I was going to run out of energy before the finish, so I wanted to eat something, but the thought of food made my stomach feel worse. Helen offered my a cup of hot, salty noodle soup and I was instantly craving it, so I knew that I must have been a bit salt depleted. That soup was magically good and it got me going again. After the soup, I started to slowly take in more carbs at a rate that my queasy stomach could take.

My average speed had dropped to just below 8 kph now. I knew that if i could make it to 24 hours that I would break the record and that was really the only thought that kept me on the lake. It would have been so easy to just say forget it and give up, but I knew that I could easily make the record if I could just withstand a few more hours of misery.

After I started taking in some more calories, my energy picked up a bit and I was able to hold an average of around 8 kph.

9:00 am Sunday

People started to filter back into life as the sun got higher in the sky on Sunday morning. Rowers and kayakers on the lake, and my friend Bryon Howard was out in his kayak to help me make it to the finish line - thank goodness!

Rob and my dad had been counting down my laps to the record from 15 laps to go until the last lap. That helped quite a bit because it kept me focused on notching down that count 30 minutes at a time. I was pretty relieved when I was on my last lap and got cheers from everyone as I crossed the start line and had broken the 168 km record. I decided that I needed to pad it a bit by doing one more lap and I had an hour, 15 minutes to do it, so I docked WiTHiN and hobbled up the steps for a luxurious use of the facilities in the Canoe Club.

I finished my final lap and the champagne was popped and we celebrated. Some press was there and I did a few interviews, signed some autographs for the kids and Pat Lor drove me home. My buddies Gary and Stefan packed up WiTHiN and my gear in my car and drove it home for where I was sound asleep in bed.

I think I had the best sleep of my life that night.

Again - thanks to everyone. This is as much your accomplishment as it is mine.


Next - to get WiTHiN ready for the open ocean! We have a family kayaking trip planed for the Broken Islands on Vancouver Island at the end of August. It is my plan to have the full-deck version of WiTHiN ready for that multi-day camping trip. The first step is to simulate the weight of the full deck and figure out the weight and location of ballast required to offset the weight of the full deck. Then I need to simulate a hole for an entry hatch and see if it can be used for a deep water entry. Then it is back in the shop.

Stay tuned!


4 Responses to “24 hour record report”

  1. # Anonymous Anonymous

    An very good report. Some really nice photos.


  2. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Hey Greg,

    A late congratulations but a sincere one.

    One question: my impression is that you are a record breaker, not a record keeper. You said you could have done a lot better if you had trained appropriately. Would you be tempted to do it again?

    Giles ( cough, cough...London)  

  3. # Blogger Adventures of Greg

    yes! 4 weeks of training is not enough for a 24 hour event. That is why this was so difficult for me. I need 3 to 4 months to fully prepare.

    Next time, I will build a boat speciically for the distance record and i will allow 3 to 4 months to prepare for it. How does 250 km sound? I think it can be done.  

  4. # Anonymous Alex

    Well done, Greg, although please don't set 250kms till some of us have had time to train and build a boat, 250 - I'd never manage it.  

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