Ashland cyclist attempts world record


Submitted by: Troy Chipka

Troy Chipka in the middle of his record attempt

Katie Harrigan

Since 1817, biking has been a convenient travel method, a form of exercise, and an enjoyable hobby for several people across the globe. But, what may be a leisure activity to some, is a lifestyle to Troy Chipka, 25, of Ashland who put his cycling skills to the test in an attempt to break a world record.

Chipka has been cycling since he was 14 years old after a friend from high school got him interested in the sport.

“I started with some off road stuff and then went into doing triathlons because I was a swimmer and a runner,” Chipka said. “I hated swimming and I hated running so I tried to find a way to do just biking…luckily enough, there were bike races all over Ohio.”

Chipka has participated in racing competitions throughout the state since he was 16, but this was his first attempt at a world record. 

On Oct. 23, Chipka ventured out to complete a 202 mile cycling trip in under 10 hours and 34 minutes. He attempted to break the South to North record which starts at the Cincinnati Zoo and ends at the Toledo Zoo.

Chipka trained for the event by riding his bike at every possible opportunity as it takes a lot of focus and pushes you out of your comfort zone.

“When you work a full time job, it’s hard trying to find ten hours in the day you can spend on your bike, so it really boils down to riding as much as you can along with riding at a specific pace,” Chipka said.

Chipka’s wife, Makayla, said she was slightly worried when Troy brought up the idea of attempting a record on such short notice. Both were new to the concept but she fully believed in his ability to succeed.  

I have supported him throughout the majority of his cycling career, but enduro riding and record attempts were a new environment for both of us,” Makayla said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be as easy as being in one place to hand him a bottle of water like at any of his previous races.”

Chipka said there were some doubts and nerves leading up to the event as he hadn’t done anything with such an intense mileage and pace. However, he was determined to give it his maximum effort and remain optimistic. 

The record is recognized by the World Ultra Cycling Association, an organization dedicated to cycling challenges and competitions.

Chipka said the World Ultra Cycling Association allows competitors to choose the route best suited for them. The South to North option would add on more miles, but it would prevent Chipka from getting caught in traffic.

“There’s a route I could have gone that was 190 miles but I would go through downtown Dayton, Lima and Findlay which has a lot of traffic,” Chipka said. “I substituted traffic for mileage because I didn’t want to be stuck at stoplights for collectively an hour.”

After several strenuous hours of pedaling, Chipka concluded his feat at 108 miles due to harsh winds. 

“The wind is a huge factor when cycling,” Chipka said. “Your body is the engine on the bike and you can actually calculate how much energy you have to output to go a certain speed.” He added that fast winds work against the person cycling which requires more exertion and power.

Troy warming up for the long ride ahead. (Submitted by: Troy Chipka)

For the longest stretch, he was ahead of the pace that he wanted to be at and I really thought it was in the bag,” Makayla said. “It was going really well despite the conditions. I could tell though, that the wind was starting to push at him and his pace started to lessen.”

Makayla said they both learned a lot from the experience; they now have a better understanding of the record and base to build off of moving forward.

Although Chipka did not break the record this time, he plans on trying it for a second time in the future along with continuing his regular racing schedule next year.

“I am definitely going to go for the record again. I feel like I have some unfinished business with it,” Chipka said.