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One of the fastest on 2 wheels

Local man helps set record

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Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012 3:42 pm | Updated: 3:52 pm, Thu Oct 4, 2012.

Phil Plath never saw himself as someone to hold a world record of any sort.

After spending a few days at the World Human-Powered Speed Challenge outside of Battle Mountain, Nev., Plath, a Half Moon Bay resident, is a world-record holder four times over.

By the time the event ended, Plath and partner Tom Amick held the record for reaching speeds of 73.08 miles per hour on a tandem bike, which they rode down a section of Highway 305.

Plath hooked up with his friend Larry Lem in spring. Lem has been building tandem bikes for more than 10 years.

“He asked if I would be willing to go to the competition,” Plath said. “I thought about it for a little while.”

He figured he could take one week off from work as a personal trainer to go.

He also has a passion for bike riding, as he has been involved in other events, including Race Across America.

Once there, he met other people passionate about all types of bicycles.

Race organizers received permission from the Nevada Department of Transportation to shut down a five-mile stretch of the highway for the contest.

“It’s long, straight and flat,” Plath said.

It made for a perfect place to see how fast some can go.

Sam Whittingham set the overall record of 82.33 miles per hour in 2008.

No sooner was Plath done with his rides than his thoughts turned to perhaps returning next year, not only to duplicate the records set this year but to go after Whittingham’s overall record.

“Larry is dedicated to building the fastest bike ever,” Plath said. “I hope to get invited back. I hope to get the overall record.”

If not, he is still in the record book.

“That hasn’t sunk in yet,” Plath said. “I didn’t expect to get the record.”

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