The hardest state? Tennessee. Lawrence fell asleep and fell off his bike at mile 30, suffering nasty road rash (click to enlarge).
Talk about your heavy summer workload. On July 25 in Utah, James "The Iron Cowboy" Lawrence completed his epic challenge, doing 50 "Ironman" distance triathlons (2.5 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, 26.2 mile run) in 50 consecutive days in 50 different states.
We add the quotation marks simply because Lawrence did not always finish by the midnight cut-off that typically governs sanctioned Ironman distance events, and he completed at least one of his marathon efforts on an eliptical machine rather than actually running.
Lawrence explained the rationale of that decision in a Facebook post, writing in part that, "a crash from day 18 subjected my hip to a worse condition than originally diagnosed. After 18 days of the 505050, I knew from experience this particular injury would likely prohibit even walking, or strain it to the point of jeopardizing the remaining 31 days. Faced with ending the project, and consultation with my team, I approved the suggestion to use an elliptical for the marathon as an alternative... The use of the elliptical was inconsistent with my stated goal of 50 Ironman Courses in 50 consecutive days through all 50 States... I apologize for this mistake. The elliptical use reduces the credibility of the 505050. Physically, it does not have the same demands as a run/walk. But mentally, I found almost 6 hours on that machine the hardest marathon I've ever done."
Whatever your view on that decision, the overall effort was still a highly impressive feat. Why did he do it? "To find my own physical and mental capabilities and to do something so crazy that hopefully would get attention on the epidemic of childhood obesity."
Lawrence figures each swim-bike-run session lasted on average about 14 hours, not record speed by any stretch. But not bad when you consider he did 50 of those days in a row.
Propelling Lawrence along the way was a stable of Fezzari bikes. The Fezzari T5 with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain, Mavic wheels, Vision cockpit, and Garmin Vector pedals was his primary bike that he rode about 90 percent of the time. Lawrence also had access to a pair of Fezzari Foré CR5 road bikes as back-up. "I rode these bikes 7,000 miles and didn't have one mechanical issue," he said.
Scroll down to see a highlight video from Lawrence's record achievement, plus a series of post-race interviews where he talks about his hardest days, injuries, numb extremities and more. To learn more about Lawrence and his mission visit www.ironcowboy.co.