As chronicled in the film NO LIMITS - NO REGRETS, Cadillac V-Club member Axe DeKruif breaks speed record for cross-country motorcycle ride
SAN ANTONIO (September 29, 2020) — An experienced engineer, Axe DeKruif knew if he were going to break the speed record for a cross-country motorcycle ride, technology would be key.
As he began plotting an ideal route, he also decided that he needed to examine his bike and body just as he would an electromechanical device still in development.
“The weakest link in this system is me as the human, which is true in a lot of systems, so the question was how do I mitigate these things?” DeKruif says. He created a Mitigation of Marginal Areas of Performance Plan (MMAPP, patent pending) that allowed him to observe his body and his bike during shorter test drives on his BMW S1000RR. During the rides, he identified potential failure points and then created mitigation strategies that he implemented before performing the test again to perfect his ultimate method for speed.
On the bike, DeKruif knew that stopping for fuel as frequently as is needed on a standard gas tank would slow him down. To decrease the need for refueling, he mounted a 5-gallon tank to the tail of his bike and built the necessary plumbing and valving to feed that extra fuel into his gas tank as it was running low. DeKruif also switched out a sprocket in an effort to increase his mileage by as much as 12 percent on each tank and he installed a Throttlemeister to provide a version of cruise control. Together, the changes allowed him to travel around 350 miles between each refueling.
When it came to speed, he needed to be able to go as fast as possible without detection and without adding undue stress to his bike.
A radar detector and screen were affixed between the handlebars of the motorcycle and Bluetooth communication installed in DeKruif’s helmet. The Bluetooth allowed him to listen to music and talk with his route coordinator in San Antonio, Texas, but also gave him the ability to hear alerts whenever his radar detected law enforcement nearby.
To ensure he could spot any animals or obstacles in the road in the dark of night, DeKruif designed and printed 3D brackets so he could install a FLIR thermal vision system on the BMW.
DeKruif knew a lighter body mass would be best for speed, so he cut carbs and alcohol weeks before the ride, visited the gym at least once daily and switched to lighter weights to focus on toning rather than building muscle.
“I created this method of looking at any system—you could look at a race car and driver, a fighter jet and pilot—it’s just a different way of looking at the human system and minimizing all of the weaknesses of the human and letting the machine do its thing.”
Sitting in one position for hours on end is inherently tough on the body so DeKruif added exercises to increase flexibility and endurance. He also installed foot rests toward the rear of his bike to allow for an alternate knee position while riding.
Along with conditioning his body, DeKruif’s study made it clear that some of the body’s natural processes—hunger, tiredness and bladder or bowel voiding—would hinder his quest for speed. Having committed to breaking the speed record even if it caused discomfort, DeKruif crafted some ways to get around those things, too.
To get his body accustomed to fewer calories during the 30-plus hour ride, DeKruif ate MREs for three days before his ride knowing that he could then get by with just two beef jerkey sticks during his journey. He also shifted his sleep schedule to prepare his mind and body for being awake in the dark.
He couldn’t overcome the body’s need for water. Instead, he created plumbing that would allow him to drink fluids from a CamelBak backpack without taking off his helmet. To eliminate those fluids, he wore a condom-style catheter that drained to the ground. If a bowel movement was necessary, DeKruif was ready with an adult diaper.
“Mentally, you have to get your mind in position for accepting things like discomfort or a lack of safety because you have to do whatever gets you there fastest,” he says. “If you’re tired, too bad. If you’re hungry, too bad. As long as it’s not risking the mission, that’s what you do.”
And for DeKruif, a self- admitted adrenaline addict, the sacrifices were well worth it. He rode from San Diego to Jacksonville in just 33 hours and 10 minutes—nearly three hours faster than the previous record.
DeKruif says the method of his MMAPP study could be applied to several situations to maximize human performance. Since his ride, he has presented the study during a Military Health System Research Symposium and says he hopes to continue sharing his method so others can find success in their own challenges. “It’s looking at risk mitigation just like I do as an engineer,” he says.
“No Limits - No Regrets" documentary is available on Amazon ($4.99 for rental, $11.99 to purchase) and the book from Barnes & Noble ($3.99 on NOOK, $17.99 for paperback).
Axe DeKruif is a San Antonio-based engineer who broke the record for fastest cross-country motorcycle ride, traveling from San Diego, California to Jacksonville, Florida in just 33 hours and 10 minutes. DeKruif is driven by his innate need for an adrenaline rush—one that he chases even after enduring open heart surgery and valve replacement a decade ago plus three additional heart surgeries in 2020. Axe also owns a 2013 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe and has competed in the Texas Mile on both his motorcycle and CTS-V.
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