Usually world records are broken by the smallest of margins – a few seconds here and a few inches there. Austrian Christoph Strasser shattered his own cross-country biking record by almost seven hours when he crossed the finish line in Annapolis in the Race Across America on Wednesday morning.
The 33rd annual Race Across America is a charity event with 48 solo riders, plus another 217 riders in 50 teams.
The race is 32 years old and in that time less than 200 individuals have successfully completed the event. The initiative will raise approximately $1.5 million for 36 non-profit organizations.
Strasser completed the impressive 3,000-mile trek in seven days, 15 hours and 56 minutes. His Herculean task began in Oceanside, California, on June 10 and ended on Wednesday when he pedaled into Susan Campbell Park at City Dock just before 9 a.m., accompanied by his team of fellow Austrians.
A few meters before the finish line, he stopped to modify his yellow team jersey. Once over the finish line behind him, Strasser lifted his bike over his head — a cyclist’s iconic symbol of victory.
After the almost mandatory group selfie, Strasser was seated in the shade completely exhausted, trying to recover. “It’s the fastest solo cyclist crossing in the U.S.,” said Rick Boethling, executive director of Race Across America.
Whoever comes in second place won’t be in any position to dispute the impressive victory, with an impressive 450 miles between second and first place. Second is expected to cross the finish line on Thursday.
According to Boethling, Strasser cycled non-stop for 36 hours before taking a break for an hour’s sleep. He then went for another 24 hours before stopping again for a final hour’s nap.
This is the third time in a row Strasser has claimed first place in this race.