Teacher takes hands-off approach to record

As a youngster, Erik Skramstad probably ran around with scissors. Sharp, pointy scissors.

He certainly didn’t heed his mother’s warning never to ride a bicycle without using his hands.

Just after sunrise Tuesday, he could have yelled: Look Ma — and Guinness — no hands!

For 23.25 miles.

In 59 minutes, 14 seconds.

Skramstad, a 31-year-old Mack Middle School physical science teacher from Henderson, completed 62 laps on the three-eighths-mile oval track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to unofficially shatter the Guinness world record for longest distance cycling without hands for one hour.

The record of 15.9 miles set by Sourabh Sahni of India five years ago was eclipsed after 40 minutes, 27 seconds by Skramstad, who will submit video and witness statements to Guinness World Records for official recognition.

Upon completing the record romp, Skramstad was asked the obligatory question of athletes after winning a championship or setting a record: Erik, are you going to Disneyland?

"No," he relied. "I’m going to find a masseuse."

He won’t need a manicurist because his hands took the morning off after he used them for a couple of warm-up laps. At least those appendages weren’t sore, as he held them behind his back or in a prayer position at chin level once he crossed the starting line, never once getting close to the handle bars.

The rest of his anatomy, however, took a beating.

"My right cheek," he moaned as he dismounted. (It wasn’t a reference to part of his face.)

"My right hamstring didn’t hurt until I stopped pedaling," he said, using his fresh right hand to help work out the cramp.

Skramstad safely maneuvered 248 left turns by using his right thigh to ever so slightly shift his weight to turn the bike.

The distance was an eye blink for Skramstad, who competes in ultra-marathon rides of up to 500 miles in 48 hours. But on those grueling rides, he gets his money’s worth out of the handlebars.

His average speed of almost 24 mph didn’t set a track record, but 100 mph race cars couldn’t top that speed if drivers were banned from using a steering wheel.

With sponsor logos on his riding togs, Skramstad looked like a race car, and his legs pumped like alloy pistons to power the first "green" speed record at the speedway.

The unsung hero of the morning was his Specialized mountain bike. The only adjustments made to the $2,000 two-wheeler were stiffening the suspension and putting extra air into the smooth tires.

The bike lacked graphite and titanium parts used by pro riders.

"It’s all aluminum. I’m a teacher; I can’t afford that wazzoo stuff."

Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at jwolf@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0247.

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