Tandem bicyclists are racing across America


HOLDERNESS — A series of fundraisers are being planned over the next several months to help John Jurczynski and Ann Rasmussen, who hope to set a new mixed tandem team record in this summer's 3,089-mile Race Across America, to raise funds for First Descents, which provides provides life-changing outdoor adventures for young adults (age 18-39) impacted by cancer.
Jurczynski, manager of the Rockywold-Deephaven Camps on Squam Lake, and Rasmussen, a guidance counselor at Plymouth Regional High School, have been doing tandem bicycling for two years now. Last year they logged over 14,000 miles on the road and practice two to three hours a day this time of year, as well as on weekends.
Last weekend they set new records for tandem bikers in both the 12-hour and 24-hour categories at an event in Sebring, Florida. They eclipsed the previous record of 239 miles in the 12-hour event with 253 miles and went on to set the 24-hour record with 426 miles, some 57 miles ahead of the old record of 369 miles.
Last November they became world champions for mixed tandem bicyclists in the 24 Hour World Time Trial Championships in Borrego Springs, Cailfornia, winning the overall tandem division with 433.2 miles on Nov. 4 and 5. But those times were not recognized as official records.
The Race Across America starts on June 13 in Riverside, California, and ends in Annapolis, Maryland.
"Despite our advanced ages (53 and 60 respectively), in the two years that we have been riding together, Ann and I have had very good results on the tandem. If things are going well and we have some favorable winds, we would like to set a new mixed tandem record. The record of 10 days 22 hours and 40 minutes was set in 1990 by Ron Dossenbach and Sue Pavlet. Their average speed was 11.15 mph," he says.
It will not be a new experience for Jurczynski, who 10 years ago, at the age of 50, won his age group in the Race Across America, riding some 3,000 miles in 11 days, 22 hours, and 14 minutes and raised over $35,000 for diabetes research.
Locally, Jennifer Morris is associated with First Descents and with her help John and Ann hope to raise $60,000 for the organization.
On March 4 there will be a live music event at Cafe Monte Alto in Plymouth featuring the Sweet Bloods at 11 a.m. and the Jared Steer-Dave Kobrenski Duo at 12:30 p.m. There will also be donation yoga classes at many yoga studios in the central New Hampshire-White Mountains area on March 20 and in mid-May a cocktail-music event will be held at a local restaurant. For more information contact Morris at 738-4443.
"While Ann and I plan to cover all of our own expenses, we also hope to find sponsors willing to help cover the estimated $30,000 in costs for transportation, lodging and meals for eight to ten crew members driving three support vehicles across the country, twice, over a 14 to 18 day period." says Jurczynski. He says that he is hopeful that much of that cost will be covered by bike raffle being held by Rhino Bike Works in Plymouth.
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John Jurczynski and Ann Rasmussen set new tandem bike records in the 12-hour and 24-hour events in Sebring, Florida, over the weekend. (Coutesy photo)