Squirrel Hill resident eyes hand cycling world record
August 22, 2016 12:00 AM
Fans cheer on Attila Domos on Sunday during his unofficial attempt to break the 24-hour distance world record for a hand-cranked cycle. The record was 403.8 miles. Mr. Domos, 48, of Squirrel Hill rode 407.7 miles between noon Saturday and noon Sunday at the Bud Harris Cycling Track in Highland Park.
By Andrew Goldstein / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Attila Domos started rolling at noon on Saturday.
He kept rolling while most of Pittsburgh was asleep Saturday night.
When the city woke up Sunday morning, he was still going.
The 48-year-old from Squirrel Hill made a full test run over the weekend as he trains to break the world record for the farthest distance traveled in 24 hours using a hand-cranked cycle. If it was official, Mr. Domos, who’s paralyzed from the waist down, would now hold the record.
“I’ll tell you what, I’m going to be in a lot of pain for the next couple of days,” he said shortly after finishing Sunday. “It’s worth it right now.”
Mr. Domos cranked himself 407.7 miles at the Bud Harris Cycling Track on Washington Boulevard in Highland Park, an unofficial record as there was no Guinness World Records representative in attendance. Thomas Lange of Germany holds the official world record for distance in 24 hours at 403.8 miles, which he attained in Sebring, Fla., in 2009, according to Guinness.
Mr. Domos plans on eventually going to the track where the previous record was set in Sebring to officially take the record. It will be even easier for him there, he says, because that track is flat, whereas the Bud Harris track has banked corners and a hill that needs to be scaled every time around.
“I’ll have to go down there to make it official,” he said. “But the nice thing about that is I won’t have to climb a hill every half-mile.”
The sloped turns and the hill were just two of the obstacles facing Mr. Domos while he took his test run. It rained — quite heavily at least at one point Sunday morning — and the track became hard to see after dark.
Around 7 a.m., “it was raining so hard that Turn 4 was just flooded, and he’s coming around a bend and just spewing water all over the place,” said Mr. Domos’ brother, Csaba Domos, 41. “So that totally killed his momentum and his time, but he got through it and then the rain finally stopped.”
The track became hard to see overnight, so members of Mr. Domos’ support team used flashlights, shined headlights from cars, and even placed about 700 neon glow sticks around the course to light the path.
Mr. Domos crashed one time early Sunday after veering off the track when he became delirious. A couple members of his support team got him back into the handcycle, and after about 15 minutes Mr. Domos was back at it.
About 20 minutes before noon Sunday, Mr. Domos, wearing a Superman shirt, broke the record — albeit unofficially — drawing applause from more than a dozen friends and fans who showed up to cheer him on.
“This guy is the epitome of never quit,” said longtime friend Gio Pizzo, 66, of Green Tree. “And that shirt that he’s wearing suits him well.”
Csaba Domos and other members of the support team took Mr. Domos to UPMC Mercy on Sunday afternoon for a health check when he finished his ride. Mr. Domos was exhausted but in good spirits following his 24-hour session.
“A lot of people would say ‘ … you’re insane for doing this,’ but that’s his level,” Csaba Domos said. “He just loves to abuse his body, he loves to push himself.”
Andrew Goldstein: email@example.com or 412-263-1352.
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