Forty-four-year-old endurance athlete Nicola "Nici" Walde has beaten the women's world record for the greatest distance traveled in a human-powered vehicle (HPV) in 24 hours. Using a streamlined recumbent tricycle, Nici managed 227 laps of the Opel Test Center in Rodgau-Dudenhofen for a total of 1,088 km (676 mi) in 24 hours.
Walde beat the previous record of 1,012 km (628.8 mi) in just under 22 hours, and pushed onward to set her new mark. Just staying awake through the exhausting night proved a challenge in itself.
"I can't even think straight," Walde said at the finish line. "To break the women's 24-hour world record was my goal. It's too bad it rained – that got in the way of achieving even more. But I know one thing: This fantastic endeavour would not have been possible without Opel and their great support."
Weather conditions certainly didn't help. Temperatures up to 30° C (86° F) made for a sweaty ride in her enclosed velomobile, and "torrential" rain on the track added rolling resistance, so she had to give up on her stretch goal of knocking off the men's record of 1,219 km (757.5 mi) as well, and settle for just the women's world record to go with her previous women's 12-hour endurance HPV record.
The bike, specially constructed for the attempt by Walde's partner Daniel Finn, measured 257 cm long, 64 cm wide and 88 cm high (101.2 x 25.2 x 34.6 in). The whole device weighed in at just 14 kg (30.1 lb) despite its full aerodynamic fairing. Walde reached speeds up to 56 km/h (34.8 mph) during the run.
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