54 year-old bicycle racer Michael Secrest of Scottsdale, Arizona might be over the prime age for a professional bike racer, but he shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, starting at 7.30 a.m. June 15, at the ADT Velodrome in Carson, California, he is hoping to go more than 15 miles farther than his existing 24 hour world record mark of 534.75 miles, which was set in October 2006.
Secrest's claim to fame is his challenge of America's first Tour de France rider, Jock Boyer, in the 1985 Race Across America, where he placed second to Boyer by four hours. Since then, he's taken his talent for ultra-endurance cycling to the 1987 RAAM victory and three 24-hour world records in consecutive decades, riding 516.2 miles in 1985, 532.74 miles in 1996 and 534.75 miles in 2006 - an average speed of 22.28 mph.
"I'm here to inspire others to set goals; don't give up; and be true to themselves," says Secrest, who has established a program called Ride Your Bike to School, which hopes to combat childhood obesity by travelling to schools around the country and inspiring children to be more active. Information about this program is available at www.theguyonthebike.com.
Other notable achievements by Secrest include riding 1,216 miles in 24 hours in 1990 on a motor speedway pacing behind a truck. Also, he holds the North American transcontinental record of 2,916 miles in 7 days, 23 hours, 16 minutes.
To Frank Fedel, an exercise physiologist at East Michigan University and Secrest's coach, Michael Secrest is a phenomenon. "People look at Michael's lab test results and say it shouldn't be possible for him to ride as fast as he does. It seems to me he has a powerful belief system, he's remarkably tough mentally. He has the ability to ride at a greater percentage of his threshold for an extended period than any other cyclist I have seen. It truly is inspiring to see what he can do, and it is a lesson to the common man that we can do a lot more than we probably realises we are capable of."
Secrest will attempt the 24-hour indoor un-paced world record at the ADT Velodrome in Carson, California on June 15 at 7:30 a.m. PDT.
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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Managing Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. As former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks. Laura's specialises in covering doping, anti-doping, UCI governance and performing data analysis.