Extreme Cuba challenge: Jacob Zurl to cross island non-stop

Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT) April 18, 2017
Jacob Zurl Havana 4Jacob Zurl Havana 4
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Austrian ultra cyclist Jacob Zurl is planning to see Cuba like no person has ever seen before ... Rudi Stangl
The 28-year-old Austrian, who is pictured on the waterfront of Havana, will attempt to be the first cyclist to ride across Cuba -- a distance of 1,450 kilometers -- non-stop. Rudi Stangl
In 2014, Zurl clocked the fastest ever cycle of the Himalayas (pictured above), covering 530 kilometers in 38 hours and 40 minutes. Raoul Kopacka
Zurl crossed the Leh-Manali Highway in northern India without sleeping for nearly two days, despite extreme temperatures. Raoul Kopacka
Zurl endured much of the ride on poor or unsurfaced roads, battling freezing streams, slush and thin air. Despite that, it took him less than two days to finish a course that many experienced cyclists take two weeks to negotiate. Raoul Kopacka
Seen passing a truck during his 2014 ride in the Himalayas, Zurl also claimed the Guinness Book of World Record in 2012 for the most vertical meters cycled in 48 hours with 28,789 meters of climbing in Austria. That record is now held by Craig Cannon of the US. Paul Zurl
Zurl will begin his challenge in Punto de Maisi, the south east of Cuba, and finish in Cabo de San Ant. Joe Raedle/Getty Images South America/Getty Images
To prepare for the extreme challenge of his Cuban ride, Zuma has been acclimatizing in Cuba in recent weeks. Rudi Stangl
Zurl will have to eat or drink 500 calories an hour during his Cuba ride. Daniel Gärtner
Zurl initially planned to cycle the length of Cuba in 2015 but fell ill in training.
Rudi Stangl
Zurl poses in front of the newly opened US Embassy in Havana. The recent easing of US sanctions on Cuba has had an impact on the island's ability to host international sporting events. Rudi Stangl
Four rather than two wheels ... Havana is full of classic cars from the golden age of American automobiles. Daniel Gärtner
Zurl cycled in Iran in December as part of his training for his Cuba challenge
Zurl averaged 13.7 kilometers per hour during his two-day race in the mountains of India. He will likely top that speed in Cuba, which presents a flatter terrain but is not without its own extreme conditions, notably humidity. Raoul Kopacka
"You have to train a lot of years to be able to do things like this," says Zurl ahead of his Cuba challenge. Raoul Kopacka
Zurl says he will stay in Cuba after his ride to immerse himself in the country's culture. Rudi Stangl