Kiwi near top of the pack in gruelling cycle race across US

For the past week, Blenheim cyclist Craig Harper's been pedalling around the clock to become the fastest Kiwi to complete what's known as the toughest cycle race in the world.

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Craig Harper’s crossed off nine of the 12 states in what’s dubbed the toughest cycle race in the world. Source: 1 NEWS

The solo rider's crossed off nine of the 12 states in the 4,828km Race Across America.

Despite cycling for around 22.5 hours a day, Harper's holding strong near the front of the field. He’s currently third in his age group (Solo Male Under 50) and fourth overall.

Earlier in the week, he rode the equivalent of the length of New Zealand in three days, 21 hours & 30 minutes. He holds the current actual record of four days, 9 hours & 45 minutes.

Craig Harper cycling in Colorado on day three of the Race Across America. Source: Jason Henry

Yesterday, after seven days and three hours, he completed a distance equivalent to the length of the Tour de France.

As of Thursday evening (NZT), the 42-year-old was making his way through a soggy Ohio at two in the morning.

He's chewed through just over 4000km, with 800 to go to the finish in Annapolis, Maryland.

Meanwhile fellow Kiwi racer, Ron Skelton, has ridden approximately 3300km as he approaches the state of Illinois.