After spending nearly five days, almost around the clock, on a stationary cycle. John Jurczynski of Holderness, a.k.a "Blue Dog," knew yesterday that he'd be spending his Monday evening, where else — on a stationary cycle. This time, he did it knowing he is one of the two men who beat the current Guinness World Record for stationary cycling longer than anyone else ever has.
The other man, Mike "Mad Dog" Gallagher of Gilford is not quite as eager to get back on the stationary saddle. "The saddle sores I had by Friday morning…I was in a world of hurt," he said.
After a two-night stay at the Inns at Mils Falls, the saddle sores had subsided, and GallaLaconiagher was feeling "fine. I feel alright. More than anything I'm just psyched about what we've accomplished."
Last week, in case you missed it, Jurczynski and Gallagher started pedaling at 5:05 a.m. at the Laconia Athletic and Swim Club on the morning of Monday, Dec. 10, and were still "spinning" into the evening on Friday, Dec. 14. By the time they stopped — simultaneously — they had been on the cycles for 113 hours, breaking the previous record of 111 hours, 11 minutes and 11 seconds set by George Hood of Illinois earlier this year. The extensive documentation — including video of the event and signed statements from all the witnesses — is being compiled and organized, and will be sent to the Guinness headquarters in London.
This was the 5th Annual Cycle Mania event, and the first one was the brainchild of Gallagher and Tom Oakley, who co-owns the athletic club. They started it as a 12-hour cycle event to benefit the WLNH Children's Auction, which also ran last week. The auction raised a total of about $235,000 this year, and $34,000 came from funds raised at Cycle Mania.
While he was proud to have raised so much for the auction, and proud to have reached their endurance goal, Gallagher said it was a bittersweet moment when he got off the bike and left the celebration of the event. "It hit me really hard when I was leaving the gym Friday night: this is it."
This was the most ambitious Cycle Mania event held at the club, and Gallagher and Oakley have both stated that it will be the last. After all, where can they take the event now, after setting a new world record?
"I can't believe what we've done in the past five years. I can't frigging believe it," Gallagher said.
Oakley said the club will do some sort of around-the-clock fitness challenge event in conjunction with the Children's Auction next year, but exactly what it will be is still undecided. Whatever it is, it will likely be some sort of event that incorporates more of the club's amenities than just stationary cycles.
The final Cycle Mania saw plenty of ups and downs in the five days of spinning. Gallagher was the first of the two to trip up, on Tuesday. He was still in the first half of the test, but suddenly felt as if he had contracted a "stomach bug."
Guinness's rules for the event allow the cyclists to earn five minutes of rest for each hour of cycling, and cyclists can accumulate that rest. Fortunately for Gallagher, he had plenty of time in reserve. He took a power nap, and when he stood up to get back on the bike, his body said "no." So, he said, he had to lie back down and find a reason to push onward.
"That was the mental tests of all tests," he said. He asked himself why he was doing this to himself and his body. The answer: "I'm doing this for the auction and the community. I'm doing this for those who can't." The auction primarily benefits children who grow up in bleak economic situations, as Gallagher did. After taking some anti-nausea medication, he got back on the bike.
That would only be the first test of the duo's endurance.
On Thursday night, when Gallagher was returning to the bike after taking a bathroom break, he slipped when mounting the raised platform that their cycles were on, cutting open his knee. "Next thing I know, I'm pouring blood." A trip to the emergency room would have taken hours, disqualifying Gallagher's effort. Fortunately for him, a friend of his, Mirno Pasquali, was working out at the gym at the time. Pasquali is a doctor, and he was able to give Gallagher stitches and had him pedaling again in a matter of minutes.
After that, everybody asked him how his leg felt. It might have been a dramatic injury, but it wasn't the greatest discomfort. "My ass hurts, too, you know," he said.
After that, Gallagher said he was thinking, "What the hell else is going to happen to me?" He was about to find out.
The greatest test test came hours later, at about 2 a.m. on Friday morning, only a relatively short time away from breaking the barrier. This time, it was Jurczynski that faltered.
The sleep deprivation is the greatest challenge to this event, and it makes one irritable and liable to become angry over things that would normally be shrugged off. For Jurczynski, this manifested after a conversation with a family member that entailed a "very mild disagreement." This conflict stayed with him and grew as his sleep deprivation worsened. "It really affected my whole body," he said.
By the early hours of Friday, Jurczynski was visibly struggling and not looking like his unflappable self.
"He looked at me, I don't think he knew who I was," Gallagher said.
Jurzcyski got off the bike and took a nap, and was able to continue. Almost the same time, Gallagher started to really struggle, too, and also had to take a break. The two, although both competing for an individual record, had bonded enough that they encouraged each other and saw to it that they both continued.
"We both hit that wall, we both went through it...If it was just myself, I don't think I could've done it."
George Hood, who owns the 111:11:11 record, is a recently-retired Drug Enforcement Agency special agent who said he has enjoyed calling himself calling himself a Guinness World Record holder, but was excited to hear about Cycle Mania 2007 all the same. He saw kindred spirits in Gallagher and Jurczynski, because he, too, used his ability to perform endurance feats as a means to raise funds for non-profits. "There's a lot of pride in it, those of us who inspire others to achieve their best. We use it to inspire others to donate, and if we can get them in the door to do that, then we've accomplished a two-fold purpose."
Even if Hood one-ups the local spinning legends, and takes back the spinning crown, they'll still have accomplished what they set out to do: raise money for a good cause. "We really didn't do this for the world record; we did this for the fundraising and the training." said Jurczynski. "Blue Dog" plans to participate in the Race Across America (from California to New Jersey) in 2009, so he said it would "make sense" to hold another marathon cycling session a year from now as preparation for that event. Jurczynski has a website, johnj.us,that chronicles his feats of endurance. "I'd do it again in a heartbeat," he said.
Will Hood seek to regain the record? "I can neither confirm nor deny," he said. One could almost hear a stationary cycle spinning in the background.