Sarah Cooper has once again set the women's solo course record for standard bikes at Bike Sebring 24 Hours. In this race to complete as many laps as possible in 24 hours, she rode 494.5 miles with a time of 23h 59m 32s. This gave her the women's win and second place overall. The men's winner had the same number of miles but a finish time just nine minutes quicker.
by Bill “Guru of Shoe” Lorenz
I never thought I could ride a bike this far or for this long. The first time I signed up for a 24 hour race (last summer, the National 24-Hour Challenge in Michigan), I set a very conservative goal: 200 miles and I’d be happy. Once I reached 200, I took an extended break, almost 3 hours. In hindsight, I should have just kept going. But nonetheless, I finished with 231.5 miles and I was elated. A few months later found me riding from Williams to Dubuque, Iowa. What should have been 170 miles, ended up being 200 miles and I did that in under 15 hours. So when Sarah Cooper twisted my arm enough to get me to sign up for the 24-hour race in Sebring Florida, I thought I had a chance to ride 280 miles.
by Sarah Cooper, Ultracyclist
It was a much different race at Bike Sebring 24 Hours this year. Same course, same bike, same rider, but my experience was very different. Personal circumstances going into this race made it much more challenging mentally, and events during the race made things very difficult for me to stay positive and focused. Yet, it also at times felt more like a happy family reunion than a cycling race. This was surprising to me considering I started doing ultracycling events just last year, and yet not surprising because that is how friendly almost everyone is.
Notice I say almost… I found “that guy” again. Every so often, I meet “that guy” during a race who can’t seem to coexist peacefully with his fellow competitors, but more on that later.
I completed 460.6 miles, set a new Sebring course record for women on standard bikes, and finished fifth overall in a talented field.