Challenge Profile: Steven Krauza

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Steven Krauza has been an avid cyclist for a few years, but this summer he rode for 24 hours straight — riding more than 300 miles to raise money for charity.

The Erie, Pa., based rider also has a larger goal: make his county the healthiest in Pennsylvania by 2025. We’re all about goals here at the National Bike Challenge, so we were glad to catch up with Steven about his tremendously long ride and more!

How did you get involved in the Challenge?

I recently became aware of the Challenge through a local bike advocacy organization called Bike Erie. They told me about the Challenge and to log my miles to work towards the bigger goal.  

What inspired you to join?  

I have put over 8,000 miles on my bicycle since January 1, 2011.  I have a goal for my county to be the No. 1 healthiest county in Pennsylvania by 2025.  By joining this Challenge, it holds me accountable, just like I hold others accountable.

What’s your goal for the totality of the Challenge?

So far, since June 1, I have put 1,600 miles on my bike.  I am looking to close out the end of the month with 2,000 miles total.

You recently took a 24-hour ride — what was that like?

Riding 300 miles in a 24-hour time span is an amazing challenge in and of itself.  It was more of a mental challenge than physical. I battled lightning and rain much of the night, but I never became disheartened.  I kept my head down and pedaled through the elements.

I chose to do the 24-hour ride at Presque Isle State Park in Erie, Pa.  The reason being is it is a looped course and the park closes after dark.  It was important for me to minimize risks and the risk of riding a bike during the middle of the night is high when considering traffic.  

Presque Isle State Park is actually a peninsula on Lake Erie.  The roadway through the park is a 13-mile loop.  It is a flat course, as well.  Part of the mental challenge was riding around this state park for 24 hours and seeing the same things over and over again.  The monotony of riding the same 13-mile loop for 24 hours was a fair trade-off considering I wouldn’t have to deal with traffic after dark.

I attempted this ride in September 2012 to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  I managed 286 miles on my first attempt, but I wasn’t satisfied falling 14 miles shy of my goal of 300.  So, on July 19, 2013, I set forth to reach my 300-mile goal.  I started at 7 p.m. so I would be energetically strong through the night hours and once the daylight returned (and traffic within the state park) I’d be energized as the miles rolled on.  I had a great support team with me then entire time.  They helped break up the monotony by riding along side me.  (One of the guys I rode with rode 230 miles, while several others accomplished their first century!)

We dealt with rain, wind, and lightning much of the night.  It was discouraging with the head winds we were dealing with, but never once did I think of giving up.  My mind was set on 300 miles.

At approximately 5:45pm on Saturday, July 20, I reached my 300th mile.  When it was all said and done, I amassed 306 miles on the bicycle.  I never slept.  My longest break was 30 minutes.  I took a couple 20 minute breaks throughout the 24 hours, but ultimately spent 19 hours and 42 minutes on the saddle. Would I do it again?  Never say never.

What kind of bike do you ride?

I have two bikes, one work horse and the other for rides.  My first bike is a Trek 1.2.  I’ve had it for years and has been on several century rides with me.  Last year I got a Trek Madone 3.1.  This is the bike I did my first and second double century on as well as the recent triple century.

What do you love most about bicycling?

I love the freedom of being on a bicycle.  It is great thinking time.  I look at riding a bike the same way others may view meditation.  I feel more centered, relaxed, and at peace after I’ve been on a bike.

We’re nearing the end of the Challenge! Make sure you log those last miles as we get closer to our 20 million mile goal!