On January 1st, Axel Carion and Andreas Fabricius left Colombia and rode towards Ushuaia, hoping to set the record for the fastest ever crossing of South America. 10,685 kilometers and 74,600 meters of elevation gain later, they achieved that dream completing the journey in just under 50 days - 8 days faster than the previous record.
We spoke to the energetic duo who offered anecdotes from their crazy adventure. Keep up with the team by joining the BikingMan.com club, where they organize ultra-cycling events anyone can tackle: https://www.strava.com/clubs/BikingMan Follow Axel on Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/5440476 Follow Andreas: https://www.strava.com/athletes/548007 Photos by David Styv
“Few continents can provide such a variety of riding conditions and landscapes within 11,000 kilometers,” Axel said of South America. “We were looking for the toughest challenge, no wonder the existing world record had remained unbeaten for 7 years.”
“We used Axel’s field experience based on his 2015 cycle crossing of South America,” Andreas said about planning the route for the record breaking ride. “We spent a lot of time analyzing various wind conditions along the route in Peru and Argentina. We also made the choice to ride one of the highest border crossings in the world, Paso de Jama, due to its mythical location in the Atacama desert between Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. This pass rose up to three times the height of Mont Blanc (4808 meters), something we really couldn’t miss.”
“We had our doubts, battling 2,400 kilometers of strong headwind along the Peruvian coast,” Axel said. “It significantly reduced our planned daily progress. Plus, having endured a massive snowstorm at 4,600 meters in Paso de Jama in Chile, we felt that whatever was coming next would be easier. This was before riding through the biggest hailstorm of our lives in Argentina, dropping hail the size of tennis balls on our bikes!”
“Being a team helped to keep the spirit high, even at the darkest moments,” Andreas added. “Quitting was never an option. You don’t get the chance to beat a world record every day!”
We asked the duo what sort of gear they used for such an extreme endeavor. “We rode the Open UP all-round frame with 40mm tubeless tires, electric transmission and 50/34 - 11/32 gears. We spent a lot of time building the ultimate machine designed for 10 hours+ days on the saddle, in the mountains, on the flat, on asphalt, gravel or any other type of road conditions. This is by far the best bike we have ever ridden. “
“We carried our own equipment using handlebar, frame and saddle bags from Ortlieb. It included spare parts, clothing to beat all weather conditions, camping equipment, food and water.”