A year ago Oakland, California resident Craig Cannon started riding a road bike. Last Friday he started a 48-hour ride that netted 95,623ft / 29,146m of elevation gain to topple Jacob Zurl’s previous record of 94,452 ft / 28,789m. BikeRadar spoke with the 26-year-old Cannon about what it was like to ride the same 12% hill 228 times in a row for a total of 339 miles / 545kms.
BikeRadar: How did you decide on this record?
Craig Cannon: In May I was having beers with a friend. Her friend had just completed the Everesting thing [climbing the height of Mt Everest in one day]. I thought, I can do that. The biggest ride I had done then was 12,000ft. So I went to South Park Drive, in Berkeley and did the Everest. I didn’t have any support. I bought a pizza, left it in my car at the bottom with a bunch of water bottles, and just did it. It took me 40-41 laps of the climb, and about 13 hours of ride time, and I felt good after it. I thought, I could totally do more. So I started Googling around, and found some climbing records. I didn’t even know that was a thing.
What did you do to prepare?
I set up two tests before fully committing. First, I wanted to see if I could stay awake for 48 hours. So I did that while doing a few rides, took a 90min nap, then did Mt Diablo with my friends. Second, I rode the exact course on South Park Drive I thought I would use for the record attempt, for 24 hours straight.
South Park Drive averages 12%. That’s steep.
Yeah, it is. But it is quiet and the pavement is good. There are no crossroads on the way back down. My friend Paul McKenzie told me I should not do a shallower climb, as I would use calories fighting wind resistance. The climb is consistent, not pitchy.
There are many impressive rides on Strava – but none quite like this
What did you use to record a 48hr ride?
I have a Garmin 510, and I taped a cable on my top tube to a battery pack in my saddle bag. Then later I taped another battery to my handlebars.
What bike, and what gearing did you use?
A steel Sycip with Shimano 105 and 50/34, 11-32.
What did you eat?
Perpetuem Café Latte. It has carbs, protein and some caffeine.
What was the hardest part?
The nights were hard, but no one really showed up for the first day, which was hard. My mom flew out from Boston, and stayed awake for 48 hours. And I had friends riding with me for a lot of the time. They knew the pace, and kept me on it.
Once I crossed 50K [feet of elevation], I was like, I got this. I came out hot, and was getting 3,000ft an hour. Then I burned all of that in three breaks. The last break was Saturday at 3am. I had some knee pain. So I took pain killers and slept for like 20 minutes.
So what’s next?
I am going to be riding my bike a lot more. People asked how I could get through something like this, but I just love riding my bike.
Cannon celebrates after two days of riding up a steep hill — over and over and over