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Expedition Watch: World Cycle Racing Grand Tour

Screen Shot 2012-04-23 at 3.00.00 PMScreenshot of Mike hall from normallyaspiratedhuman.com

On February 18th of this year, ten riders set off on the World Cycle Racing Grand Tour, a race built for those hoping to smash the current record for circling the globe by pedal power. The current record was set on August 4, 2010, when Alan Bate of England landed in Bangkok, Thailand, after 106 days, 10 hours, and 33 minutes. He biked on an unladen road rig with support from a crew, and crushed the record set by Vin Cox earlier that same year. (Cox pedaled unsupported, hauling himself and all of his stuff around the world in just over 163 days.) Though Mike Hall of Great Britain is biking unsupported, like Cox, he is on pace to break Bate's record while leading the race. Here are some details on Hall's quest.

Who: Ten riders left Greenwich Park in London at 9 a.m. on February 18. Other riders leaving from different spots have taken off on their own to go after the record. Hall is currently in the lead by several thousand miles. He took up cycling 15 years ago, raced in the 2011 Tour Divide, and is from Harrogate, Yorkshire, in Great Britain.

What: The racer must begin and end at the same spot. The racer must travel a minimum of 18,000 miles in the same direction. The racer does not have to count the time they are in transport over, say, an ocean, but they should count all time after they have received their bike from that transport and are moving forward. The racer must pass through two antipodal points during the event.

When: Unknown. Hall is on pace to break the world record with 9,440 miles under his belt in the last 58 days as of last Friday, April 20. He's been averaging around 162 miles a day and biked through Turkey, India, Australia and New Zealand before arriving in the United States. He is taking at least some breaks, if only to sleep and take photos.

Why: After finishing, but not winning the 2011 Tour Divide, this is what Hall said on his website: "I began to view the record for fastest circumnavigation as a realistic aspiration and the race as the motivation I need to make it happen. I come to the WCR Grand Tour as a competitor with the clear aim to go as fast around the world as possible. I won’t be making any projections at this stage as to how long it may take but I have a schedule and I believe that there is significant room for improvement upon 163 days and a chance of getting near Alan Bate’s new record of 106 days. If things go to plan, I am confident I can achieve this." (Here is a 20-minute video which updates his progress through Australia.)

Screen Shot 2012-04-23 at 2.53.31 PMHall's location on 4/23 at 5 EST

Follow: You can follow Hall's location, and those of several other cyclists still competing, live on worldcycleracing.com via the live tracking option.

Main Sponsor: The Adventurists sponsor the race. They are the group behind the Rickshaw Run, and their motto is "Fighting to Make the World a Less Boring Place." Hall is sponsored by Quick Energy.

H/T: Adventure Journal. BikeRadar.com has a long article detailing the evolution of the race.

--Joe Spring
@joespring



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