World’s 1st nonstop extreme cycle across Cuba’s steamy tropical heat


Extreme cyclist Jacob Zurl (29) will attempt to be the first person to ride 1400 km (840 miles approx.) the length of Cuba non-stop. He will do this without stopping to sleep while dealing with heat and humidity, poor road surfaces and limited infrastructure. Jacob will attempt to do this in less than 55  hours - a journey that is usually completed by experienced cyclists in two weeks! This world first in a country unexplored by professional cyclists starts on Wednesday the 19th of April 2017.

Jacob will be tackling this adventure at top speed and while battling fatigue after long hours in the saddle. During these two days he will have to handle high temperatures - heat by day of 30°C from early morning and 90% humidity. Temperatures can get as cold as 10C at night with the occasional frost arriving on a cold front. Also much of the route will travel through isolated farming communities which lack infrastructure, repair services and internet access. Other challenges he has to face are heavy traffic in the urban areas and related fumes from the many classic American cars.

Jacob will benefit from his experience of his first Cuba attempt and being the first person to ride the worlds highest and said to be on of the most dangerous roads in the world the Manali-Leh highway in the Himalayas.  He will also send a week acclimatising and test which is the most appropriate local food he should eat while riding. In addition he has tried to increase his body tolerance for heat and humidity  through the use of a sauna over many weeks. Jacob also has to consider the possible impact of this extreme ride on his health, particularly heart and lungs. It took many weeks for him to recover after his Himalaya ride.

The Austrian will be riding a custom-built carbon cross-bike with numerous special features. These include wider tires and a frame designed to reduce the impact of the uneven road surface on the rider.

Speaking about the challenge ahead, Jacob said, “Nobody has done a comparable challenge in such high heat and humidity up to now. I believe my love of endurance cycling, and unexplored cycle route, as well the support of my team and my family, will get me through.”

This will be his second try at the Cuba ride as he contracted dengue fever the first time in 2015 and had to abandon the attempt. 

Previously Jacob has won the Glocknerman which is a 1,015km non-stop bike race from Graz and back over Austria’s highest mountain, the “Großglockner”, twice. As a result, he was the world champion in ultra-cycling. He also held the world record for cycling the most vertical meters in 48 hours, which saw him cycle 28,789 meters in very tough weather conditions.

What: Jacob Zurl's attempt to be first person to ride the length of Cuba non-stop to establish a world record
When: Starts 10am (local) 19th April 2017 with approx. finish 6pm 21st April 2017
Where: Santiago de Cuba to Maria la Gorda