Race Report: Cliff Federspiel's Record-Smashing 6 Hour World Championship

We are so impressed by Cruzbike racers Cliff Federspiel and Jeffery Ritter who raced at the 6-12-24 World Time Trial Championships in Borrego Springs, CA this past weekend.

Jeffrey raced a Cruzbike S30 in the 12 Hour event and finished first in his division with 181.2 miles, earning him the recumbent 12 Hour World Time Trial Champion title.

In his first race ever, Cliff Federspiel destroyed the 127.2 mile record Jim Parker set for the 6 Hour event in 2016, racing an astonishing 145.2 miles in 6 Hours. That's 24.6 mile per hour average for six hours. His impressive performance earned him the recumbent 6 Hour World Time Trial Champion title and an incredible second place overall finish.  Below is Cliff's race report. Coming up next will be Jeffrey Ritter's report.

After riding my original S30 for more than two years, I ordered my Vendetta V20 within minutes of its release because I was interested in trying some competitive cycling events, and because I wanted the special edition RAAM yellow color.

I tried to enter the 6-hour race at the 2018 6-12-24 World Time Trial Championship, but didn’t register soon enough and couldn’t get in. So this year I entered minutes after registration opened. Good thing I did because the race filled up within days.

I didn’t start my training until the beginning of August because vacation and business travel were just going to get in the way. I adopted a keto diet and stuck with it, which helped me drop 14 pounds by race day. My training consisted of a volume endurance ride every Saturday, high intensity on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 1-2 Pilates sessions per week for core strength and maintenance. I did a lot of riding in the hot, dry East Bay hills to get acclimatized to the heat, summiting Mount Diablo once during my first double century four weeks before the race, and summiting Mount Hamilton twice. I did two 6-hour race simulations on Zwift, and on advice from Larry Lem I did a recon mission to Borrego Springs in September, riding until noon when my bike computer was reading 110 degrees Fahrenheit when I was moving and 122 degF when stopped. During my taper I did some loop rides to test my speed and could tell that if things went well on race day I should post a good distance.

Shortly before the race, I connected with Jeffrey Ritter, who was riding in the 12-hour race. He and his wife Jane invited my wife Elisa and me to dinner on our arrival in Borrego Springs. I let them know I’m a racing noob, and they gave me some good racing advice. Here we are the day before the race:

Cruzbike Fastest Racing Recumbent at World Champs

I scripted out all of my activities for race day morning, and good thing I did because I was in fight or flight mode and couldn’t really think. I rode over to the pit area from the hotel, pinned on my number, and waited around nervously under the canopy that Jeffrey and Jane offered to share with us.

I started in the front of Wave 2. Most of the fast racers were in Wave 1. After the countdown, I took my power level up to my target and most of Wave 2 dropped back. One racer, a big guy on a time trial bike and wearing a speed suit with his racing team’s logo on it jumped on my wheel. I led the way until the first turn, then the big guy moved to pass me. I let him pass, but stayed with him. After we made the turn onto Borrego Valley Road I passed the big guy and settled in at my target level. He dropped back and I never saw him again.

Cliff Federspiel racing his V20 to set the 6 Hour course record at the 6-12-24 hour world time trial championships.

The first 3 laps I felt great. Really great. I had to make a conscious effort not to make too much power. But on the fourth lap my stomach was starting to feel a bit unhappy with the fuel in my 1.5L hydration bladder. At the second pit stop I asked Elisa to reduce the amount of fuel in the hydration bladder to just one scoop from two. Through laps 5 and 6 I was getting waves of nausea and burping up the fuel.

Although my stomach wasn’t feeling good, competition helped. On each of laps 5, 6, and 7 I overtook a “fast guy” going up the incline on the south end of Borrego Springs Road, which helped to keep my power slightly above my target for that segment. After the third pit stop, I found that I couldn’t stand the fuel even though Elisa had cut the concentration in half. So for the rest of the race I relied almost entirely on the 0.5L bottle of water and electrolytes that I was carrying up front. I didn’t drink at all during the last two finish laps.

I just dug in as hard as I could to make sure I completed my fourth finish lap before time expired. When I finished, my entire mouth was as dry as paper and my legs were cooked. At the awards ceremony I was a little wobbly getting up on the podium. But I was able to sit down throughout the ceremony. Cyclists at our table had to stand through the entire ceremony because they were so saddle sore.

Thanks to Jeffrey Ritter and his wife Jane for their friendly race advice and gracious hospitality.

Thanks to Larry Oslund for organizing the winter and summer virtual time trial series on the Cruzbike Forum. Those series helped me learn pacing and the value of pushing a bit harder up the “hills”, even on flat courses.

Thanks to Larry Lem for advising me to take a recon trip to Borrego Springs. I can always ride faster on familiar roads.

Thanks to Henry Hardy for enticing me to join the HERD for the WTRL team time trial series on Zwift, and to Jason Perez for joining the HERD and pulling me a bit harder every week of the TTT.

And thanks to Cruzbike for making such awesome bikes. We own four of them. 

Finally, thanks to Elisa for cooking keto-compatible meals, for being such an excellent pit crew, and for joining me on this adventure. I couldn’t have done it without you.

- Cliff (@ccf on the Cruzbike Forum)

Cruzbike Vendetta V20


  • Andrew Wilson

    Outstanding job. Congrats!

  • Cliff Federspiel

    Thanks for the kudos, everyone.

  • Anonymous

    Very inspirational even for those of us Cruzbikers who will never ride in a race. You have shown that we made good purchase decisions and that we can achieve higher goals for our riding.


  • Bill Wightman

    Cliff, congratulations on an astronomical achievement. A half hour or maybe an hour at that pace is normal mortal stuff, but you rode 6 hours. That is amazing. I like the simplicity of your bike layout. Your bike looks slippery. You are a true racehorse.

  • Mark

    Outstanding job congratulations. I’ve talked to Larry Oslund and now reading about this reaffirms it. My body is ready for the bent journey.

  • Lief

    CLIFF! You are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

    Beyond your success, and the speed of these bikes, and the obviously good advice from so many in your tribe – THIS …
    “I was able to sit down throughout the ceremony. Cyclists at our table had to stand through the entire ceremony because they were so saddle sore.”
    …is one of the coolest things of it all. Anyone that wants to ride long, regardless of competitive success, and finish with only tired legs…get bent.


  • Gary

    Wow! That S20 looks fast just sitting still! I assume that the bag in back was only for reduced wind drag and not for carrying anything, like for instance the rest of your seat pad!
    Way to go though! I’m more than impressed.

  • Bruce Banta

    Amazing physical effort on the bike built for champions !

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