It's Hard to Believe How Fast This Bicyclist Went

Denise Mueller-Korenek pedals at 183.9mph in 'motor-paced' record
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2018 12:06 PM CDT

(Newser) – Plenty of cars can't reach 183.9mph. Denise Mueller-Korenek managed it on a bike in the obscure world of "motor-paced cycling," reports the Wall Street Journal. Peddling in a race car's slipstream, the 45-year-old former junior cycling champion smashed the bicycle land speed record of 167mph set by Dutch cyclist Fred Rompelberg in 1995 at Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats on Sunday. "Now I know how Evel Knievel felt," Mueller-Korenek tells the Journal's Jason Gay, who watched her achieve her goal. She was towed behind the dragster for two miles as the driver pushed it to 150mph. Mueller-Korenek then released a tether and peddled in an air pocket that helped propel her. "It's like an NBA player giving me a shove," she tells Wired, which notes the record is faster than the takeoff speed of a Boeing 757.

Mueller-Korenek of Valley Center, Calif., also had help from a special carbon-fiber bike fitted with motorcycle tires. Twice the size of a normal bike, it travels up to 130 feet on one pedal stroke, per the Journal. But that says nothing of the work Mueller-Konorek put in while chasing the record over six years, per the San Diego Union Tribune. After hitting 147.7mph as the first woman to try for the speed record in 2016, she broke a shoulder blade in a February 2017 crash, then accidentally shot herself in the leg at a competitive shooting event months later. Coach John Howard—who set the record at 152mph in 1985—pushed her on. Despite a moment of fear Sunday as the bicycle's front tire nearly hit the car, "it all came together," Howard says. (Read more bicycling stories.)

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