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Copyright 2009-2010 by
Mary Brotherton
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Inside my Brain

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Senior Cycler Record Holder

Dr. Joan Joesting-Mahoney holds more than 100 world records with the
Perimeter Bicycling Association of America (PBAA), including the record for
the most perimeter miles, with 87,019 miles, almost double what the former
record holder, Bill Mueller had achieved over six years ago. Among her other
records are: most perimeter rides, most different perimeters, most countries,
most counties, most cities, most lakes, and most islands.

A perimeter is a bicycle ride of 50 miles or more around any geographical entity,
including a country, state, county, city, lake, or other body of water. Each perimeter
ride must be properly recorded and recognized by the PBAA. She has held records
for her age group in 100K races which were broken the following year, and she set
two age group records at the Great Floridian Triathlon. In 1993, she and Dr. Matt Mahoney
were married at the finish line of the Clermont Ironman Triathlon, after finishing the race.
Now, they celebrate their anniversaries by competing as a relay team called the
Iron Couple. Joesting-Mahoney has completed 201 Triathlons, including her first
of three Hawaiian Ironman competitions when she was 47 years old.

Dr. Joesting-Mahoney realizes that records are made, only to be broken by someone else,
but she intends to die holding the world record for the most perimeters of Palm Bay. She has already done 752 perimeters of her city; many were in tandem with her extremely supportive husband. Every year, they do a Christmas tandem perimeter of Palm Bay wearing Santa hats which Joesting-Mahoney knitted to cover their bike helmets.

Yarn and knitting needles are among the few things she packs for her overseas
perimeter rides. Bicycling solo and unsupported around the 9600 mile perimeter
of Australia in 1979, and again in 1991 for official recognition, she learned to pack
lightly, yet pack the important things for her mind, body, and spirit. Other staples
for her are maps, chocolates, Lonely Planet guidebooks, and an iron will.
Dr. Joesting-Mahoney has been plagued with debilitating dyslexia for her
entire life, which makes map reading extremely difficult.

“One thing that I learned is no one should ever attempt a bicycle perimeter without
having a map of at least a 1:200,000 scale,” said Joesting-Mahoney. “These maps are
available via mail order for probably every country of the world and show the road conditions.”

Despite reversing numbers and letters, and being unable to process sounds correctly, she has managed to make solo perimeters of the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Sweden, Luxembourg, Belgium, England, Wales, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania,
Latvia, Estonia, and Israel. She has also made perimeters of each of the 50 states, as well.
The support of her husband via email and overseas phone calls helps her in her solitude.

As remarkable as her solo perimeter rides, are her online journals. These writings detail nearly every dirt, gravel, and barely paved road she has traveled and the sacrifices she makes in
order to reach her goals. One of her more unusual goals is to avoid cutting her hair until a
woman is elected president of the United States. Her hair, which is nearly 3 feet long, has
been the subject of her discussions with people in other countries, and chronicled in her
diaries. Her journals give a glimpse into not only the physical and emotional hardships of
each ride, but also into her humor, her dogged determination, and the special people she
has met in each country.

“I decided that the Icelanders were the best people in the world. It seems that the more severe
the geography is, the nicer the people,” said Joesting-Mahoney. “I recommend that everyone
plan trips to both Estonia and Latvia but it might be a good idea to avoid Lithuania, especially
with all the drunks.”

The 67 year old English professor at Brevard Community College holds four degrees, as well
as three world records for indoor rowing. Among her indoor rowing records are: for the most meters rowed and the most hours non-stop. She rowed 101,775 meters in 30 hours over the
pan of two days without stopping. She even rowed her Concept2 machine during Hurricane Wilma.

She began running at the age of 33 and was the first woman to finish the Grandfather Mountain Marathon in 1976. She has bicycled as many as three perimeters in one summer, and
intends to continue doing overseas perimeters at least until she is 70 years old.

She said, “Please let me encourage all older women to train properly and do any sport they like. The best exercise is the exercise that one likes. I love running, biking, and rowing. I lift weights twice each week to stay strong. I have been lifting weights for 29 years. For all sports, one should get proper training, especially weight lifting.”

Anxious to return to her Concept2 indoor rowing machine where she planned to watch the Olympics in Turin, Italy, Joesting-Mahoney said, “I really am enjoying the winter Olympics because I have biked around or in most of the countries participating. I know that I disturbed the neighbors when I cheered the Estonian woman winning the cross country skiing.”

 Her motto?  “Any woman can!”