We have been lucky enough to meet with Miles Smith. On April 11 he set off on a monumental world record attempt, The HAM’R or Highest Annual Mileage Record, that stands at an epic 120,805km and has stood since 1939.
Miles is a big character, supported by the Audax Australia and Andy Moore at Abbotsford Cycles he’s got a big year ahead!
La velocita’s Mike Boudrie went to wish Miles good luck on day one of his journey.
English cyclist Tommy Goodwin set the the HAM’R record in 1939, averaging 320km per day. Yes 320km per day for a year. It’s understood that on completing the record he spent weeks learning how to walk again before heading off to join the RAF for the war effort in 1939.
The HAM’R is run, adjudicated and awarded by the Ultra-Marathon Cycling Association, they also run the RAAM (Race Across America).
Miles tells us about his riding back ground
I rescued a 24 Kilo MTB from next doors hard rubbish and started to cycle the last 5Km’s into the city, mainly to save on parking fees.
I was somewhat larger than I am now and was suffering the midlife malaise/bruises that life can deliver once you crest 50. I started to enjoy this ‘last 5 Km’s’ more than going to the gym, which I invariably didn’t go to.
The choice was stark ‘get moving’ or continues the steady decline/decay. I chose to get moving and discovered the body can manufacture its own feel good drugs, Serotonin, Dopamine, Norepinephrine and whilst doing a body swerve around the black dog, due to having to ride to the car. I started parking further and further from the city and just got more out of the bike each day.
I managed to locate a fantastic Local Bike Shop (Abbotsford Cycles) that serviced bikes to get them and their owners back on the road – not just sell them something new & shiny. Abbotsford Cycles has become Mission Control for the WR attempt.
I upgraded with a new crank (5 hole/arm) on to which I gaffer taped a 53 tooth front ring and for $40, I was off chasing down guys on plastic fantastic carbon racers.
I started to feel better about myself and the world at large, especially after I purchased my first ‘proper’ bike, (the White Bike - see below).
Audax Australia, gave me the focus and direction (despite my ability to get lost on a point to point direct route – a positive during the next year) together with the comradeship and advice, to continue to (and excuse the pun) pile on the miles. Pushing past your own personal envelope, whether that be a 50 or 1,200 km’s ride, is what matters, not the actual distance achieved.
Doing the same route as Ossie Nicholson when he won the World Record in 1933 and 1937 for Australia, unsupported, together with Audax rides of 1,000 Km’s + and Sunday morning jaunts with the MDBC will make for an interesting year ahead.
We ran through our Weekly rider questions with Miles… and as you’ll see he added in a few of his own ‘interesting’ questions along the way they go to show Miles’ character and spirit that will hopefully get him through the HAM’R!
Name - Miles Smith
Lives - Mt Martha Victoria
Dream bike - The ‘Gray Bike’ for my commute and the ‘White Bike’ for the hills.
Emilia. (White Bike)
Trek ION (Aluminium) Cyclocross. 63/53/39 (yes 63) front rings and 11/32 rear cassette. Purchased from My Mountain, two years ago.
I chose this bike as rear stays will take the larger front ring, whilst still being able to run a 47C tyre (smooth) and being able to just unclip the canter level breaks, if I bung a spoke or three, as I have done on an Audax 1,200Km run, I can just keep going.
Mud guards are an option in winter as the frame has lugs and I can carry 40+Kgm panniers when cycling to and from Audax events. I have ridden this bike on the Sydney to Melbourne Audax 1.200 (746 miles) over the highest peaks in Australia (Kosciuszko), done the Audax Alpine Classic Ultimate 320 and Fitz’s 255 Challenge with gears left to spare. It’s a Cyclocross, it’s built to cross ploughed fields and not break.
David. (Gray Bike)
Trek Cronus CX. Same as white bike above, but in carbon. 80/73/53 (Yes 80 - if 63 is not enough) front rings and 11/32 rear cassette. Purchased from TFM Tech Mr. Timberlake (you couldn’t make that up) 18 months ago.
I chose this bike as rear stays allowed slightly more assertive gearing, whilst retaining all the benefits of the white bike. This bike gets ridden as my commuter, about 155 Km’s (96 miles) per day. Front deraligher on both is via a bar end shifter as a standard Shimano break/gear lever does not have enough grunt to handle a 27 tooth leap.
Favourite local ride - My commute – Homeward leg.
My current cycling goal is - World Record Attempt – Highest Annual Mileage Record (HAM’R)
When I am on the bike I Don’t have to mask my OCD/Aspersers/Autism.
How did your love for bikes come about? - It’s a lie; I have never made love to an inanimate object.
Share a cycling memory - Shortly after being informed that the road temp had hit 41degrees centigrade (by the guy who had just put on his jumper because he couldn’t work out how to switch off the A/C in his hire car) in Parks, NSW, I spent a relaxing half hour in the beer and wine cold room of the local bottle shop.
I love to ride because - I have so many hours of POD casts I have yet to listen to, not to mention the hours and hours of telephone intercepts.
Telephone Intercepts? - I said not to mention the telephone intercepts.
So you listen to music whilst you ride? - Yes current favourite include, Crystal Gayle’s – Don’t it make your Brown Eye Blue, Johnny Cash’s Burning Ring of Fire & Eminem’s Till I Collapse.
Why you are doing this? Who wouldn’t want to spend the next year, 16 hours a day, with 9 inches of black plastic wedged between their butt cheeks?
So your WR attempt follows a facsimile of the root Ossie Nicholson did? Ossie Nicholson, was the Highest Mileage Ridden in a Year, WR Holder - 1933 & 1937. No I’m doing the same route, Ossie was a reported bigamist. I’m doing the same course but I’ll do it a couple of more times than Ossie did.
Do you have any specialized equipment? - Only my big cogs, everything else is standard.
Are you on a special diet for the WR attempt? - I started out on the Paleo Diet but ‘caved’ on that, now it’s Maccas for Breakfast, Domino’s Pizza for Lunch and Road Kill for Dinner.
Do you have to wear Lycra? No, but getting dressed up in skin tight lary coloured clothing is my thing, ok.
What preparation have you been doing? I did 10 Audax 1,200’s, back to back over 30 days, 400 Km’s each day, except the last when I did Bairnsdale to Rochester (Herbert Oppermann’s birth place) via Hotham (500 Km’s with 4.3Km’s of climbing), to check myself out before signing up for the WR attempt.
What Challenges you think you'll face - Not getting sucked off by passing Truck Drivers
If you are looking for people to ride with you on some days - What do you mean some days, I expect to ‘suck wheel’ for the next year/140,000 Km’s.
A bit (Moore) about your bikes - Andy Moore at Abbotsford Cycles ‘created’ my two ‘dream’ bikes.
He’s never liked me (despite being an excellent judge of character) and he still continues to try to kill me on a semi regular basis.
What sort of support do you have?
Haven’t we already covered the wearing of Lycra? Phil ‘The Pimp’ Bellette is dealing with sponsors.
Good luck to the Miles from the Team at La Velocita! We’ll be checking in to report on his progress over the next twelve months so watch this space.
You can follow Miles on Twitter, Facebook or watch his Strava feed... and if you see him out on the road be sure say hello and give him a tow!