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A New DIY World Record for Greg K: the 24 Hr. Human Powered Boat

September 12, 2008


Greg Kolodziejzyk likes setting world records. And he's darn good at it! He seems to do it all based out of his garage and with some help from his friends.

He has the 24-hour record for miles on the *ground* covered by human power---something like 650.

And just a couple days ago he added the 24-hour HP *water record, with 245 km's in a pedal boat of his own design and fabrication.

Ya know, he's going to go for the *air* record one of these days! And who doesn't think he'll get it?

Here's the funny thing:

Greg discovered in the course of meticulously analyzing the scientific parameters of the record and what it would take to beat it and what kind of watts he'd have to pedal and what the per/km boat speed would have to be, compared to how the boat performed in various weather conditions in tests---all that showed that he could NOT break the record.

An interesting scientific conclusion!

What then?

...I'm still reading! : )

But before he even started this 24-hr record project Greg had an even nuttier, wilder record in his radar: to set a new best trans-Atlantic HP crossing time. I'm not sure that the current record is held by a pedal-craft but that's what Greg is going to use. He's been designing and building it for a couple years now. He did the 24-hr record along the way (for fun?) to test some of the concepts. Mostly I think he's going up against the rowers (and to a small extent, the paddlers).

Anyway, check out the report on his latest supercool record, the 24-hr water.

I note that Greg isn't just a solo nut working out of his garage. How far would that get? He's a team-player. But an indy-style one. He asks around and finds all the top talent in the field he's trying to excel in. He gets a bunch of pro's each pitching in on their area of expertise (design, construction, science, boatbuilding, prop-building, computer-machining, fitness coaching, etc.). He uses an open approach---he posts reports, pics and vids along the way---and he gets LOTS of feedback from the various communities.

He also trains for full-distance triathlons along the way. And running marathons. Why not?

Yeah, it's hard to know how he does it.

It helps that he's a self-made millionaire---he was one of the dot.com start-up winners in several fields, as I recall. I think he's also done well in the stock-market analysis field---with a VERY weird future-predictions tool of some kind.

So this wasn't likely a thrifty record-setting project, but it was garage-based, with one guy covering all the bases (with his friends).


For a bigshot sort, I like how open and down to earth Greg is. It's a style that I personally appreciate. I'm sure some folks like playing closer to the vest, in a hierarchy---hey, LOTS can get done that way---especially really big, really complex, really sensitive stuff. But I go for a more "the work is the performance is the art" kind of style. Not that I don't appreciate the other styles as well...

Also, he's Canadian.

That might explain it, a little bit!

Anyway, back to the HP-Boat record: Greg gives plenty of props to his rivals. --Another thing I like. Carter Johnson previously held the record at 242 km's. He's a young paddler, a focused athlete, who used a production model surfski. That says a lot! Greg is quite a bit older and has to cover more bases, like inventing, in his attempts. The records are pretty close so to me it mostly says a couple things: that DIY innovating can get the job done, and that pedaling and paddling are in the same ballpark in the day-long scheme of things. Previous to Greg's record there were probably more doubts about how close pedaling could come to paddling. Greg's record shows the viability of the pedal.

His upcoming trans-Atlantic attempt might show us something totally new: how will pedaling compare to arm-power in a "no holds barred" totally open-water event of weeks-long duration? One mode might really come on strong as compared to the other. This kind of thing might show us that pedaling is really a great thing for something like long distance touring. It might prove to be stable and easier on the body. Who knows!

With paddling you don't have to poke a hole in your boat---that's always a big risk-point. So there's that.

Maybe one of the lessons is: HP can be directed most any old way for top results. If you have great upper body power, paddling might be your thing. But if you're good with the legs, don't think that water travel is out for you! Greg's new record already shows that pedaling is as good as way to get around on water as any, pretty much. ...Now we just need to see more devices produced for the market to make this possible. (Right now only the Hobie penguin-flipper dealio is readily available in a fairly decent performance package.)

Another lesson is: give Greg K. a day and a chunk of time in his garage with his pals and he can go the farthest/fastest most any old way you can think up!

Oh, and he's also a motivational speaker. Actually, that's his goal beyond his goals! He does his adventures to have something to talk about. Seems a bit backward to me, but actually his goal beyond his goal (beyond his goal) is to inspire people to get more out of their lives. He's into Uplift. He wants to provoke it via speaking. He does the adventures to have a story. Whew! People are liking his talks. I bet he's good! Check out his speech site: www.human-power.com
http://www.adventuresofgreg.com/HPB/2008/09/24-hour-hpb-record-report.html

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