Not everything that starts in Vegas stays in Vegas. A few months back, Bill Perkins, a hedge fund manager, was at a poker table in the City of Sin when he offered another player a $600,000 wager: pedal from the famous Las Vegas sign to Los Angeles in less than 48 hours.
That player didn’t take him up on his offer, but the poker-playing, gun-toting, playboy, Dan Bilzerian, ante-d up. And now, Bilzerian is collecting his winnings after finishing the 293-mile ride in less than 33 hours.
With 16.4 million followers, Bilzerian is a divisive character. Many dislike his epic bro-ness, while many of his fans covet his lifestyle of lear jets, long-legged models and luxury. Even the media takes sides. The NY Post’s headline for Bilzerian’s recent accomplishment read: The biggest jerk on Instagram just won his $600K bike bet, while BroBible gushed and virtually high-fived him.
But the ride wasn’t easy. Bilzerian admits that he’s never been much of cyclist. Before accepting the bet, he said that if you add up all his time on a bicycle, it would total less than 20 hours.
But after accepting the bet, he started training in earnest with both a coach, Nathan Loyal, as well as a dude who is known to like a fist bump or two, Lance Armstrong.
The ride even changed the pallor of Bilzerian’s skin to the color of money. “He looks like the Grinch — his skin is green,” Perkins told The New York Post, post-finish.
All in, Bilzerian says he spent about $150,000 on bike gear, coaching and support vehicles, grossing him about $450,000 for the ride. That’s about $1,535 per mile or $13,636 per hour (however you want to slice it). Good work if you can get it.
Bilzerian used multiple bikes in his successful crossing. He put significant time on the seat of a recumbent bike — a bicycle that’s lower to the ground that a traditional bike, putting the rider in a different position. This position was not only more aerodynamic, but ensured less chance of fatigue.
Being in the same position for 33 hours is tough, even for experienced pedalers. Also, better aerodynamics means a higher average speed with the same power output. And maybe (most importantly), the saddles on recumbent bikes are more like a comfortable chair — often including a back rest — so saddle sores and chafing become less likely (ailments that could cause most to give up).
What winning looks like. Just before midnight, #DanBilzerian rode the steep climbs of the Hollywood Hills and up his driveway to victory. The bet was #Vegas to #LA in less than 48 hours and he did it in 32.5 hours, a full 15.5 hours faster. #Bilzerian300 #300for600k #endurance #Race #creditscoreunderfivehundredclub #nightride #winning #payupsucker @loyalbiker @danbilzerian
Bilzerian’s team chronicled the journey on the site 48hourbet.com. Much of the content was behind a $9.99 paywall. With a bunch of raw footage and not much else, it doesn’t seem like there was a video editor on the payroll.
We gave it a good gander and learned a few things: That Bilzerian’s last food stop included hot wings. That he will be escorted the entire way to his house in the West Hollywood Hills so that traffic will not interfere with him during his final push. And finally, that we can’t believe we gave ten bucks to Dan Bilzerian.
Perkins was also thinking of a few ways he could get his money back from Bilzerian, in the form of future bets.
Follow bets considered late night w/@DanBilzerian sailing to England, skydive from space, 21 days supermax , swim GW shark SA, and others
— Bill Perkins (Guy) (@bp22) March 31, 2016
Perkins caught up with Bilzerian post-ride. He told The New York Post that Bilzerian was “looking like death right now. He’s in bed with chafed buttocks, a fever, hot and cold [flashes], chills, wobbly legs. His immune system is down, and every virus you can have is rising. I was hoping his muscles would seize up [midride], but they didn’t.”
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