SLO cyclist mounts effort for Guinness world record

Aug 2, 2020

A San Luis Obispo cyclist believes he crushed a Guinness World Record for most feet climbed within a 24 hour period.

24-year old Colin Patterson decided to take on a Sisyphus-like challenge—riding up and down, over and over, on a steep road next to the San Luis Obispo Country Club called Alta Mira Road.

“It was a little bit of a spur of the moment sort of thing,” said Patterson. “I kind of was convinced to go for the record by one of my teammates.”

The current record for the greatest vertical ascent by bicycle within 24 hours was nabbed in 2007 by Austrian cyclist Valentin Zeller, when he climbed just over 62,000 feet. Patterson was determined to beat that.

“I think it’s really cool to push yourself like that,” Patterson said. “To really see what your body is able to do and what you’re mentally able to do.”

So he started at midnight, and continued to the following midnight, only stopping for short breaks. He played no music, instead trying mostly to just zone out the pain he was feeling.

“Since it’s a very short hill you are seeing everything over and over again,” Patterson said. “[I was] just mentally trying to stay as calm and focused because it’s very, very draining.”

Just when he was thinking about quitting, Patterson’s friends started telling neighbors what he was doing. Soon, residents of the road and golfers from the country club started cheering him on as he’d ride by.

“At that point I was like okay, I am so close. I will be so upset if I don’t finish’,” Patterson said.

So what did Patterson end up climbing? 68,633 feet in 24 hours. To put that in perspective, that's like climbing Mount Everest not once, but twice, and still having a little more than 10,000 feet leftover.

Patterson has officially submitted his ride to get it acknowledged in the Guinness Book of World Records.

“It’s pretty cool. I remember reading it as a kid in elementary school and just seeing all the weird, crazy records that are in there,” Patterson said. It’s not one of the weirdest records, but it’s a pretty impressive one, I think.”

Patterson said he’s already eying other cycling records, but he’s going to give his legs some time to recover before taking them on.