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Fastest 100 Miles by Bike, While Drafting

By: Jon Ornee  October 27, 2020

On Monday, October 5th, 2020, Jon Ornee attempted to set a new World Record for Fastest 100 Miles by Bicycle (while drafting) at the Michigan International Speedway. He impressively hit the 100-mile mark at 2:20:46 for an average speed of 42.6mph!

Check out Jon's blog, where he answers in-depth questions about the record and shares his experience.

[JON:] "Wow! That was a ton of fun! Honestly, it was as much of a mental challenge as it was a physical one. It was critical that I remained focused at all times so that I stayed in the "sweet spot" close enough to the minivan to reap the benefits of the draft, but far enough back that I didn't hit the back bumper in a moment of lapsed focus. I'm typing this the day after the event and my neck and back are sorer than my legs from being in a constant tucked position for over 100 miles.

One of the unique aspects of doing this on a NASCAR race track was the banked surface. I road near the bottom of the track where it was flatter, but it was still angled a bit. Obviously, there was a lot of turning. The only truly straight section was the backstretch which felt like a dream! It was a chance to relax every lap before doubling down on focus, position, and effort for the turns.

I was wearing a Bluetooth earpiece so that I could talk to my Dad in the lead vehicle which was super helpful. Going around a track while staring at the back of a vehicle is a ton of fun for the first couple of laps. Doing it for over 2 hours is somewhat hypnotic. It was good to be able to chat a bit to keep my mind engaged.

So…what’s the record? I’m applying for a Guinness World Record for “Fastest 100 Miles By Bicycle While Drafting.” To my knowledge, this hasn’t been done or certified by anyone previously. The current record for Fastest 100 Miles By Bicycle (without drafting) is 3:11:11 (31.4 mph avg). I finished at 2:20:46 (42.6 mph avg) but drafting behind a vehicle is a huge advantage which is why I’m applying to create a new category.

So… why did you do it? Last May I was hit by an SUV while cycling. It was a near-death experience that has changed my life. After post-crash surgery, I recovered while riding indoors to rebuild fitness, but I was hesitant to get back on the road. Honestly, I was scared. Cars and bikes clash too often. We’re supposed to share the roads, but several issues including poor infrastructure, driver education, distracted driving, and road rage (because that cyclist forced me to slow down for 5 seconds) regularly place cyclists in danger. Fast-moving bikes belong on the road. Heck, we can go over 42 mph for 100 miles! Going over 10 mph isn’t safe on a shared sidewalk or bike path with walkers, dogs, families, and driveways. Cars and bikes can and should coexist! They shouldn’t be enemies, they should be friends! Frustrated and scared for my life, I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if a car and bike teamed up for a change and did something spectacular?

This event was my attempt to “bury the hatchet” with the SUV that hit me. To replace fear with fun in the continued pursuit of an awesome life.

This was a ton of fun and an experience I'll remember forever! As always, I’m tremendously grateful for all the people who helped make it happen. My Dad, for being an awesome lead car driver; Michael Dillon, for capturing some awesome footage that I can’t wait to share with y’all; Karl Hoesch, for being my driver for some practice laps; my wife Necia, for always encouraging me to pursue my crazy ideas; the good people at the Michigan International Speedway for “sharing the road” with me; Michigan Bicycle Law for the sweet cycling kit and for helping me navigate all the details of post-crash life so I could focus on recovery; and for the awesome team at Velo City Cycles for always taking good care of me and helping me with last-minute gear and service needs for my various adventures. I am filled with gratitude, thank you!

So… what’s next? After 3 world records in 8 weeks, it’s time for a breather! I’m planning on returning to the studio with my wife to record some more music this month and releasing a few more music videos this fall for our band Lady & Gentleman. I’m also going to pivot my training to prepare for a stab at the Everesting World Record this winter (running the cumulative elevation of Mt Everest - 29,029ft). And I’m already talking with my EP!C RIDE teammates about another World Ultra Cycling record attempt or two, next summer. In the meantime, I’ve got some wine design projects to get to, some health coach clients to check in with, and I’m the teacher for our kids Epic Learning Adventure homeschool co-op on Wednesdays, so I better wrap this up! Until next time!"