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Team sets World Ultra cycling record


This group of cyclists set a new World Ultra Cycling record last week. Team Captain Jon Ornée is second from the left. Courtesy photo.

A group of five cyclists passed through Cedar Springs last week on their way to setting a new World Ultra Cycling record from Muskegon to Port Sanilac (205 miles).

The five riders—Jon Ornée of Holland, Ben Blake of Grand Rapids, Nick DeHaan of Grand Rapids, Jesse Gould of Grand Blanc, and Sean Murphy of Hudsonville—set out on September 23, four months after a near fatal bike/car crash derailed Jon Ornée’s plans.

“We broke the existing world record by 54 minutes!” he said. “205 miles in 8:17 (24.7mph avg). It is the fastest average speed for cycling across any state. It was an absolutely perfect day.”

“I was originally planning to make this attempt in July, but I was hit by a car while cycling on May 16, which shattered my elbow, required surgery (May 22) and changed our plans,” explained Ornée. “Four months later, we got it done. I ride a bit crooked now as I still haven’t gained full mobility in my right arm.” 

He said the the ride was originally rescheduled for Sunday, Sept 22, with a team of 8 riders (the maximum allowed under WUCA rules) but heavy rain and thunderstorms along the route forced the team to cancel and reschedule for Monday. Unfortunately, 4 of the 8 riders and most of the support crew were unable to participate Monday. Ornée, who was the team captain and organizer, scrambled to add a 5th rider and recruit a few new crew members to make the attempt possible on Monday. 

The team overcame three flat tires, a few construction delays and traffic through Muskegon and Saginaw. A WUCA official followed the riders in a vehicle at all times ensuring that they obeyed all traffic laws including full stops at stops signs and red lights. Under WUCA rules, the clock does not stop for any reason.

The group broke the previous record of 9:12. But that wasn’t the only record broken.

“I also completed the first ever swim to North Manitou Island (7.4 miles) on Friday. Busy few days, but lots of fun. The original plan was to attempt the 2 records a month apart from each other (bike in July, swim in August), but the car crash changed those plans. Two attempts of this magnitude in a 4-day period wasn’t ideal, but with the Michigan summer coming to an end, it was my last chance to get it done. I’m filled with gratitude that I’m able to compete at a high level again, although I still have a long road of recovery ahead of me post-crash.”

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One Response to “Team sets World Ultra cycling record”

  1. Jesse T Gould says:

    The only thing you can plan on, is the plan will change 😲😄

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