Dropping into a world record

Josh
Josh Pennell
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Mountain biker overcomes injury, seeks spot in Guinness Book

The first injury that kept Reg Mullett off his mountain bike in the 12 or so years since he picked up the sport wasn’t exactly a bruise.

“I sent my humerus out through my forearm and tricep,” he says. “My first thought was, ‘Well, I guess I’m not riding tomorrow.’”

That sense of humour illustrates the positive attitude Mullett exudes even over the phone, but it also grinds home just how passionate he is about riding. He was riding in Whistler when the accident happened last October. He describes it as a “silly” crash.

He wasn’t even trying to do anything technical. It was a high-speed crash on a jump with consequences.

His doctor said it would be at least six months before he was mountain biking again. Mullett was back in the saddle in three, albeit in a much lighter biking style than the kind he was pedalling out on his injury day.

That injury did more than just tear bone through flesh — it lit a fire inside Mullett.

“For me it was an opportunity to demonstrate to people that you can overcome big injuries and illnesses, and if you channel positivity and hard work in the right direction then you can reach an overwhelming goal.”

 

Vertical drop

A total of 100,000 feet down on a bike in 24 hours. It would seem ridiculously long if you jumped out of a spaceship on your 10-speed right at the edge of gravity, but when you’re doing it on a mountain in British Columbia it becomes slightly more impressive.

It’s impressive enough to get into the “Guinness Book of World Records,” it seems.

It was the challenge taken on last weekend by Mullett and his buddy Mark Haimes. Mullett is originally from Gander and now lives in Calgary.

Last year, he and Haimes wanted to celebrate turning 40 with a challenge so they decided to drop 40,000 vertical feet on their mountain bikes over the course of the day.

That involves continuously going back up to the top of a trail and starting again until you’ve reached your physical and mathematical goal.

About nine hours later, they had done just that. When Haimes started researching what they had done, he found they were just a few thousand feet away from beating the unofficial record.

The pair decided they wanted to set an official record, so they contacted Guinness. About two months ago, they launched the idea on Facebook and, lo and behold, unofficial claims to the record started sprouting up everywhere, with one claim being 84,000 feet of vertical drop accomplished on a bike in 24 hours.

“So then we kind of re-evaluated our mission and our goal was to get 100,000 feet,” says Mullett.

Go big or ride your tricycle home, in other words. But it wasn’t just the vertical distance that they decided to take head on. They agreed to do it on what’s considered one monster of a mountain trail in the biking world. Mount 7 in Golden, B.C.

“It’s renowned in the mountain bike community because there was a previous race on it put off by Red Bull called ‘The Psychosis’ and so it’s kind of labelled as the world’s most demented downhill mountain bike race. And that’s the course we chose to put the record on.”

Mullett has a history with Mount 7. He started riding a little more than 12 years ago, but since he got into biking it has grabbed him with more force than rubber hits the road.   

“It was a sport that I really connected with from the get go. I’ve pretty much been on an endless road trip since I started,” he says.

After just about a half dozen years at it, he did his first race. It was “The Psychosis” on Mount 7. He won in his category and finished in the Top 10 against pros from all over the world who came to tackle the mountain with a lot more experience behind them.

“So I got pretty good at it really, really quickly,” Mullett says.

Last weekend, Mullett went back to Mount 7 with Haimes with a plan to put them in the Guinness Book of World Records. To meet Guinness stipulations, there had to be an international federated commissioner for mountain biking on the site watching at all times. There had to be somebody at the top and bottom for every lap. The entire event had to be videotaped.

With everything in place, Mullett and Haines took their bikes to the top of Mount 7 and started. Each time they made it to the bottom, there was a rig ready to take them back to the top within 20 minutes. For a full 24 hours the pair went down what Mullett says is an intense trail that’s renowned as one of the more rugged, steep and technical trails around.

As if it wasn’t a big enough challenge, nighttime brought more than just darkness.

“The weather was horrific. It was pretty much a monsoon at night so we went to war for the night laps and it really slowed down our lap times,” Mullett says. “It’s super physical. Fatigue is the biggest thing.”

But the two persevered. As the hours ticked away and they made it to the top for their final descent to meet their goal, they had 40 minutes left on the clock. That left enough time to enjoy themselves on the way down. About 30 of their friends joined them for the last run down.

“The energy and the enthusiasm from everybody was so high that I didn’t feel any discomfort or pain. It was just a really fun ride with friends,” Mullett says.

And that largely seems to sum up biking for him. They are compiling everything now to send off to Guinness and should know in a couple of weeks if they are accepted as the record holders. But for the new season, Mullett says he just wants to enjoy the fall and ride his bike with his friends. It takes you to an amazing environment and it’s great people time on a bike, he adds.

“Everyone is in their happy place.”

 

josh.pennell@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Guinness

Geographic location: Whistler, British Columbia, Gander Calgary Golden

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