News release Sept. 6, 2016

Elmira couple conquer ultracycling race on tandem

Paul and Wanda Kingsbury of Elmira were the first-ever tandem bicyclists to finish the 522-mile HooDoo 500 ultra-marathon cycling race, which was held last month in St. George, Utah.

The 55-year-old long-distance cyclists finished the grueling two-day race in 45 hours, 47 minutes. There was a 48-hour time limit. As the first to finish the Mixed Tandem 50+ in the race’s 10-year history, they established the course record for all tandem categories. Temperatures ranged from 39 to 100 degrees over the two days, and the Kingsburys had to climb as high as 10,500 feet. “Tandems are a little harder to climb hills on than a single bike, so we are very excited about our finish,” said Paul, who added that the climbing total for the course was 30,000 feet. “It was cool and rainy the first day, so there was a high dropout rate in the race, but we fought through it. We felt good and were confident we could finish.”

Paul and Wanda have been competing in tandem events since 2010. Paul owns Kingsbury’s Cyclery and Wanda, a hairstylist, owns Studio 228, both at 228 W. Water St. in Elmira. They have completed other 350-mile and 500-mile races as part of two-tandem teams, but this was their first solo tandem race. Their longest solo tandem event was 760 miles in 2015 in France at an event called Paris-Brest-Paris, which they completed within the 90-hour time limit.

The Kingsburys credited their friends and crew, Jim Ryan of Seattle and Gary Baierl of Lake Forest, Calif., with helping them finish the HooDoo 500. “They monitored our nutrition and carried spare clothing and equipment in a support van,” Paul said. “They were also great motivators when we were tired.” Riding a tandem is a great way for couples to spend quality time together, Paul said. “You work together and no one has to wait for the other rider,” Paul said. “And you’re close enough to talk about what’s going on in your lives.”

To learn more about tandem bicycles, visit Kingsbury’s Cyclery at 228 W. Water St., or call Paul at 607-733-3465.

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