Annie Ford Sets World Record for Descending the Most Vertical on a Bicycle

Mar 16, 2023 at 13:00
by Matt Beer  

There must be something in the water down in Queenstown, New Zealand because it’s quietly become the focal point of suffer-fests on mountain bikes. You may have heard of Ben Hildred, who smashed out 1 million feet of climbing and descending under his own power in just 200 days. Well, he just completed a “double-Everest,” but Annie Ford is the latest rider to tackle a mega-ride, one that earned her a world record for descending the most amount of vertical on a bicycle. Oh, and she completed her own Everest mission last summer too. What is it with the Kiwis?

Annie set out to conquer 100 laps via the chairlift at Coronet Peak, just around the corner from Queenstown, which added up to 42,030m (137,894 feet) total descent and 313km (194 miles) distance. She accomplished this feat on her 27.5” Santa Cruz Nomad enduro bike, averaging 9.5 minutes per lap. The craziest stat of all is that she set her fastest lap time twelve hours into the event! She also took down the women's World Record around this time, and soon chased the men's record.

The previous Guinness World Record holder for descending the most amount of vertical on a bicycle was set by Amir Kabbani and Patrick Schweika of Germany in Schladming, Austria, five years ago. Their record for the most amount of descending vert in 24 hours stood at 40,840.5 m, but Annie recorded 42,030 m in only 18 hours and 53 minutes - well within the 24 hour time limit.

Our hats go off to Annie for tackling such an insane feat!

Author Info:
mattbeer avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2001
363 articles

151 Comments
  • 335 16
 39 meters short of a magical number
  • 31 5
 Nice
  • 7 9
 Hahahaha u wild bro
  • 3 5
 Winner.
  • 25 6
 Duude! - You can read metric!
  • 28 59
flag IntoTheEverflow (Mar 16, 2023 at 17:08) (Below Threshold)
 This joke has been everywhere for years now. Still getting voted to top comment every time. People used to make the joke when they saw the funny number. Then also when the number was close to the funny number. And now when there is just any number.
  • 7 12
flag greg390 (Mar 16, 2023 at 19:00) (Below Threshold)
 And what is magical number ?
  • 15 7
 @IntoTheEverflow: cool sense of humor "Fully Rigid Salsa El Mariachi" guy
  • 2 2
 Magic combo
  • 13 7
 @gunnyhoney: There is only so much repetition I can take.
I understand that makes me not cool, but like my bike already revealed, I don't care too much about that.
  • 8 5
 @greg390: I didn't get it either. A marathon is 42195m so maybe it is magical to be 126m short of a vertical marathon? So now she's 39m short of being 126m short of that vertical marathon. That said, I know little about magic. I may be able to lift a rabbit out of a hat but only if you put one in there first.
  • 3 2
 Nice
  • 2 2
 @vinay: sarcasm or?
  • 5 2
 @blazekelly: Ehm, no. Just like @greg390 I didn't get the joke. I trust it is a good one as the upvotes are deafening. I could do the clap and sheepish grin if that's socially appreciated, but I forgot that too. Sorry for that.
  • 4 0
 Nope, she's 41,961m beyond that number.
  • 4 2
 @greg390: 420 69 (yawn)
  • 4 5
 @jamborf: Ah, the US cannabis celebration date and a sex pose. Took a long while for me to get that, sorry. Again, I'm not into magic but from a health and safety perspective I'd recommend to finish the first before you engage in the other. The combination sounds painful.
  • 104 1
 A hundred laps in a day, her hands are locked this way. C
  • 64 0
 She only RIDES PARK
  • 35 0
 A likely candidate for a severe case of Lego hands.
  • 65 11
 I know I'll get downvoted, but I don't get it. Was there a time limit since she wasn't trying for the 24 hour record? Could someone do more over the course of a full season and beat this record?

Not knocking the work involved (props to Annie), more than the article is written weird and doesn't really say WHAT the time limit was for that amount of descending.
  • 26 4
 yeah I wondered that too. What is the record without a time constraint?
I guess someone did more than 42000 m of descending in their life.
Some info is missing
  • 24 3
 Yeah, this is pretty poorly written as I cannot tell what the limitations are that make this a true world-record accomplishment.
  • 5 43
flag onawalk (Mar 16, 2023 at 14:28) (Below Threshold)
 Do you really care, like is this tidbit of useless info going into the memory bank to bring up in the pub to impress your friends?
  • 13 0
 @bashhard: Adam Billinghurst did 1 million feet of descending in Whistler in 57 days back in like 2013?
  • 9 0
 Agreed, what actually was the record? The article doesn't say anywhere. I'm sure there are many people that have logged more vert than that over an unconstrained period of time.
Also not knocking her achievement, that's crazy. Just the article is not clear.
  • 15 0
 @onawalk: it’s always nice if an article makes sense - do you not care what you read ?
  • 12 0
 Me too. Found it incomprehensible.
  • 7 23
flag L0rdTom (Mar 16, 2023 at 14:53) (Below Threshold)
 Is literally everyone just being really sarcastic? Seems pretty obvious it's the vert descended in one "effort".
  • 12 2
 @L0rdTom: define one effort
  • 3 13
flag onawalk (Mar 16, 2023 at 15:11) (Below Threshold)
 @sargey2003: I couldnt care less about it, I skimmed the article, and that was about it.
Girl rides bike, lots, some sort of descending record, cool.
  • 8 18
flag L0rdTom (Mar 16, 2023 at 15:14) (Below Threshold)
 @dick-pound: Usually characterised by no sleep if there is a "base", or just not returning home on multi day rides. Use some common sense?
  • 11 1
 Reading the article and the efforts it is compared to, it seems the limit is 24hrs. But this is not mentioned explicitly. If the limit is indeed 24 hrs she has a chance of doing this again and breaking her own record by about 8k.
  • 27 1
 in the last paragraph it says the 100 laps took 18 hours and 53 minutes - well below the 24 hour time limit so I think the time limit was 24 hours, although the wording earlier makes it kind of confusing
  • 4 12
flag hitmansam (Mar 16, 2023 at 15:27) (Below Threshold)
 The lifts aren't open for 24 hrs you total bores
  • 12 0
 @ak-77: they edited the article. Before, there was no mention of the time it took her to descend 42k m and they stated that Kabbani still has the record for most descending in 24h.
  • 2 0
 @hitmansam: They did run at night at though, which seems to be unusual at North American bike parks:
www.instagram.com/stories/annieford01/3059552029665840189
  • 4 0
 @bashhard: Aha. That explains the confusion.
  • 7 0
 @AliSM:
Looks like it's been edited where previously it said that she completed the effort in OVER 24h and that Kabbani and Schweika still held the record, it now states that she completed the record in 18h and is in fact now the record holder. Presumably the record is most vert in 24h, which makes sense though still is not explicitly stated.
  • 3 0
 Comment deleted.
  • 4 7
 As stated in the article, it’s the most amount of descending vert in 24hours. “ The previous Guinness World Record holder for descending the most amount of vertical on a bicycle was set by Amir Kabbani and Patrick Schweika of Germany in Schladming, Austria, five years ago. Their record for the most amount of descending vert in 24 hours stood at 40,840.5 m, but Annie recorded 42,030 m in only 18 hours and 53 minutes - well within the 24 hour time limit.”
  • 13 0
 @Twenty6ers4life: The article has been updated since the first comments to avoid confusion, but apparently that's now causing more confusion for the people who didn't see the original article Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @hitmansam: yes, everyone knows they're open 4am - 11pm, so she had almost 7 minutes to spare.
  • 1 0
 @plyawn: Looking at her IG, it seems like she did this overnight. She seems to have finished a little after sunrise
  • 2 0
 @pmhobson: I WISH we had park hours even close to that. These short 6 or so hour days suck Frown
  • 2 0
 @JSTootell: I honestly can't tell of the post stating hours of;0 4am - 11pm is sarcasm or not. On one hand, that's seems ridiculously generous/unprofitable. On the other hand: New Zealand ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • 34 0
 We need the suspension autopsy. What a cool record to go for.
  • 27 0
 “For sale, 2022 Nomad 27.5. Adult woman owned, suspension serviced every 50 hours. Fresh brake pads.”
  • 24 0
 @sjma: new rear tire with only one park day
  • 25 0
 If we take the world records book out of the picture the guys that are doing 24hr DH races in Semmering in Austria the all time record set by the winner of the Solo men class, he has the most vertical meters done on a bicycle with 57,960m of decending with an eye watering 168 laps with a total distance of 537,6km.
  • 18 0
 I did 136 laps back in 2011 and finished third. Man, those were good times Smile
  • 8 1
 So she broke a record because folk who have done significantly more were not registered to go for that record. The thing with some records is they are impressive but when you know a little more, not so impressive.
  • 7 0
 @betsie: This statement applies to probably a majority of "world records". Still a rad effort
  • 3 0
 ...that´s what i thought - the race course at Semmering is perfect to ride that much, don´t think you can do more vertical meters anywhere else...
  • 18 0
 I am unsure of what record was set.

Most consecutive descending meters?

Most descending over an undisclosed time period? Her Strava doesn't have the ride.

Super impressive, but I bet the clarity would make it even more impressive.
  • 12 0
 Not on Strava did it happen
  • 17 0
 Nicely done. I have an idea how much effort that takes.
Anyone who thinks they could show up and do this hasn’t tried. The preparation required is huge. Hats off to you Annie.
  • 18 1
 Who do I call to get a bike park to run its lift for 24hr for me? I'd love the chance to smash lap after lap for the entire day.
  • 44 4
 Haha you say that now… but after 6-7 hours I’m sure 99.99% of us would have tapped out by that point.
  • 3 0
 @corposello: Mountain creek new jersey is my usual, open 9-6. It's a 3.5hr drive for me so I try to get as many laps in as possible, usually around 25-30 before last chair up comes around... I'm sure in the dark it'd get old but I'd pay more for the lift to be open longer for sure
  • 3 0
 @corposello:
  • 4 0
 @ihertzler: any idea what the length of a DH lap at mtn creek is? im going to say 1.5 to 2 miles MAX per lap, 25-30 runs is definitely a good day, but no where near that ^^^ amount up there
  • 5 0
 @brianpleva: yeah its about 850ft vertical. I know you'd never get close to 40k meters there. Basically, I just want to ride downhill all day is what I'm saying
  • 2 0
 @brianpleva: yeah it’s only 1,000ft vertical. If the lift wasn’t quick nobody would go there. Lines suck hard there though.
  • 3 0
 @corposello:
I agree, prolonged downhilling can be exhausting. Same set of muscles used in a different way. 7 days in Oaxaca shuttling 10-15k vert/day and I was beat by the end of the trip.
  • 4 0
 Money, You can literally get anywhere to do it with enough money. Hell Coast Gravity Park will let you rent out the whole place for you and your buddies to rip trails all day if you want
  • 1 0
 @somebody-else: I went every weekend last year and there were basically no lines until the last few
  • 1 0
 @ihertzler: 25-30 on a weekend is a pipe dream.
  • 1 0
 @Solorider13: guess they found the upper limit on pricing. Nice to not wait though.
  • 14 0
 Incredible achievement but by far not the most vertical meters in a bike park in 24hrs.
There is an annual 24h downhill race in Semmering (Austria) called "race the night". The record in solo category is at least 163 runs some years ago.
His means about 60km vertical drop. Normal run number of the winner every year is 150+ (52,5km drop)
But of course nobody ever thought to call the guys from Guinness
  • 14 1
 On a 27.5 wheeled Nomad! God please bring some of the full 27.5 bikes back.
  • 10 3
 Most impressive was an older record set on the Mt 7 psychosis course, vehicle shuttle and hike a bike included, not to mention it rained a bunch
  • 6 0
 don't forget that two Canadians did WAY more than this a few years ago on a very knarly Mt 7.
www.pinkbike.com/news/new-unofficial-world-record-set-at-mount-7-2014.html
  • 1 0
 That's a bloody impressive effort, but I think Annie ticked up more vert.
2014 post mentions around 100,000 ft to ~113,400 ft, Annie clocked 137,893 ft
  • 3 1
 "100 laps via the chairlift": Oh, I'll take my ereader and top that easily!
"...which added up to 42,030m (137,894 feet) total descent and 313km (194 miles) distance. She accomplished this feat on her 27.5” Santa Cruz Nomad enduro bike, averaging 9.5 minutes per lap." Never mind...
Big kudos and respect!
  • 8 4
 I love this. What a great achievement. Let those that hath not a good word to say, forever wish to achieve what you have done!
  • 2 3
 The downvotes say you hit a nerve there! Couldn't agree more with how impressive this is, my hands are toast after just 8 hours of bikepark laps!
  • 5 0
 Go get me the plane Winston, we are going bike skydiving. That should do it.
  • 2 0
 Love it, well done. Then someone commented about a race that doesn't go for the Guinness record that smashes this achievement. A world record can be like setting the fastest Strava time down a race track that's much slower than a race time coz nobody else turned Strava on!
  • 2 0
 Colossal feat! Brings back good memories.
At the annual 24h race in Semmering Austria,10 years ago, I did 24km myself in a team of two riders - with zero preparation.
Some well prepared solo racers would tackle nearly 50 vertical kilometers in 24 hours.
Where were you back then, Guiness folks???
  • 6 0
 Legend, well done.
  • 6 0
 27.5 isn't dead
  • 3 1
 ....Flats 4 Life
  • 1 0
 @threesixtykickflip: NZ on my someday bucket list, are all Kiwis sick as Ben and Annie?! Agree with Matt must be something in the water
  • 2 0
 If a downhiller leaves the chairlift at 8:35am, and the chairlift is moving at 9.8 mph, and the grade of the course is -13.6, what was the average pressure of the rear tire on riins 80-100?
  • 1 0
 My head, neck and shoulders just descended .0275 metres as I slowly drifted to sleep reading this article. An impressive feat no doubt but now that the lunatic-fueled cycling world is aware of this "record", it probably won't last long.
  • 1 1
 I said I could not that I was going to. I’d imagine most of my friends could too. It’s just not that impressive. Also, I have $500 that says you’re a white liberal medicated women, indoctrinated at our finest universities. Am I close?
  • 1 0
 GFYS
  • 1 1
 @5afety3rd: awww are you’re widdle feelings hurt. Sometimes the truth hurts
  • 2 0
 @heephop: Dude, please take the culture war somewhere else. Like I just don't understand this continuous need to try bringing women who do cool stuff down. I find it so sad that while the rest of us are trying to celebrate MTBing on Pinkbike (which surely is the purpose of the website), there's a select bunch of blokes who think that an article that mentions a woman has got something to do with being woke and can't shut up about it.
  • 1 0
 @lucaj: dude… can you read? I was saying the person I was talking to was woke. And culture war? Really? Just because I’m not impressed by some girl I’ve never heard of breaking a ‘world record’ that I could easily accomplish, doesn’t make it about a culture war you jackwagon. How about you stop trying to be mr virtuous and learn to read
  • 1 1
 @lucaj: the person I was responding to deleted their comment apparently, making it seem that comment I made about woke was just out of the blue which it wasn’t but either way, stop crying
  • 1 1
 @heephop: I’m only 4 hours away if you wanna go.
  • 1 1
 @5afety3rd: hahah well I think that would be ill advised on your part and not your best decision but I’m game, mr internet tough guy. Call me when you’re in salt lake princess we can meet up at a local gym and go rounds. I’m actually kind of excited at the thought. Brush up on the bag in the meantime
  • 1 1
 You didn’t delete those 26 photos because of me did you, princess? It’s okay if you did, I won’t judge. I’d have to say your profile picture doesn’t look like anything 4 hours away from me in Utah but hey, internet tough guys gonna internet tough guy.
  • 1 1
 @heephop: gym? lol little bitch
  • 1 0
 @5afety3rd: well see you’re an internet tough guy so I need to make sure your bitch ass doesn’t bring a knife to a fist fight
  • 3 0
 Random question riders. 100 10 minute descents or 50 20 minutes descents?
  • 15 0
 Doesn't matter to me, ill get more dialed in every lap, ill get more confident every lap, ill get faster every lap and ill get more tired every lap. I'm crashing before lap 10 regardless of the length of lap.
  • 24 0
 The UK version is 2000 30s descents.
  • 6 6
 whopping dooo.....the only thing you need to beat her is a smoother track with enough vertical. if different riders are going to do this on different tracks then whats the point of a world record with no set standards to the feat. think about it. The hour record has specific set of circumstances. In my opinion this record means nothing and will be beaten in short order on a longer and smoother track somewhere.
  • 2 0
 @a-r-c: I don't understand the downvotes. It is true. If all you care about is the record, there are easier courses to take it on. Steep smooth fire roads.
It wouldn't make any sense of course, but have you ever read through the Guinness book? So many records that don't make sense.
This ride does make sense to me, record or not doesn't make it more or less epic and respectable to me.
  • 4 1
 Was this in 24 hours? Or just kind of a ride-till-you-drop sort of thing?
  • 4 5
 Check the third paragraph (of four paragraphs total).

You can also determine this from other information in the article:
100 laps, 9.5 minutes/lap -> 950 minutes -> just shy of 26.5 hours (of lift+ride time)
  • 9 1
 @pmhobson: There's no way 9.5 minutes is lift + ride time unless that chairlift is moving at mach 5.
  • 4 0
 @toast2266: article says the average lap time is 9.5 minutes.

If a lap is only going down, let’s assume for simplicity that the lift takes as long to get up as Anne took to ride down.

So that’s a 2x the reported “lap time”, or 53 hours or chair+ride time.

I’m guessing this took 26-ish hours, not 53.
  • 6 0
 @pmhobson: I really have no idea. Which is why there kinda needs to be a time specified. I mean, I've done 100 laps at my local bike park in an unspecified period of time too.
  • 8 0
 @pmhobson: 950min is 15.8h, how did you come up with 26.5 hours?
  • 1 0
 @bashhard: oh Christ. I fat-fingered the calc off the side the spreadsheet I had open
  • 4 0
 @toast2266: OK, shoddy math aside, 9.5 minutes doesn't seem out of bounds for a full lap (returning to the start point): www.strava.com/activities/8645718446/analysis/8306/8888

(switch the x-axis to time)
  • 2 5
 @pmhobson: It says in the article it took 18 hrs and 53 minutes. Read, don't calculate off wrong assumptions.
  • 6 0
 @ak-77: That's a recent edit to the article
  • 2 0
 @pmhobson: Sorry, I wasn't aware of that, the first time I saw the article the time was in there. Never mind.
  • 2 0
 @ak-77: Yeah no sweat. Things move fast around here. My idiocy didn't help clear up any confusion.
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: if she takes as long to get down as the lift goes up she’s slow af.
  • 1 0
 @heephop: yeah, but she's clearly not. i was just using that as an example to make the math easier
  • 2 0
 The last paragraph eludes to it being a 24hr limit, the proof is in the pudding.
  • 3 1
 This is as dumb as Strava ING your ebike rides..
  • 1 0
 Setting a calendar reminder for a year from today to see if her forearm pump is gone
  • 1 1
 Sure not Massif in Quebec a single round trip of the long loop takes the better part of an hour. 100 rounds would be brutal.
  • 1 0
 Insane effort! So flipping cool
  • 5 4
 nice. way cooler than uphill records
  • 2 1
 Only 18 hours? Talk about a quitter.
  • 2 2
 Well done Annie you smashed it!
To all the haters,don’t hate-post your own record or off you shall f*ck.
  • 1 0
 So rad! Congrats!!
  • 1 0
 Wow. Incredible.
  • 1 0
 Wow. Absolutely wow.
  • 1 0
 Well done!
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