In a little over a month’s time, I’ll be setting off to take on a 24 hour cycling time trial. With no impending races and wanting to set a goal/event to work towards, I started looking into all sorts of opportunities. While there are still small ultramarathons and potentially the occasional local races available, those just don’t feel like they would leave me sufficiently challenged/fulfilled. After some soul searching (and Google searching) I realized that a long distance cycling time trial could be just the challenge I need.
The traditional formats I was considering were either a 6, 12, or 24 hour timed event. In fact, the World Championships for those durations are located in Borrego Springs, CA in mid-October. Unfortunately, though, the event is sold out and I also would rather not take the risk of it potentially getting cancelled either. So I decided that doing my attempt here in Grand Junction among family and friends would be the plan.
When it came to picking the duration, I wasn’t sure at first. I never really considered the 6-hour, since that is really just a bit longer than an Ironman bike leg and I wanted something a bit longer. The 12-hour definitely seems extremely hard, but achievable and leaves me wondering what speed I could hold for that long. But there’s certainly no question that I could finish it with decent planning. But the 24-hour is another beast entirely. Suddenly you need to factor in sleep deprivation, night riding, massive nutritional demands, extreme logistical planning, and just having the stamina to hold yourself upright on a bike for a full day. Honestly, I’m very nervous about the attempt and if I’ll have what it takes for a strong showing. After all, the 24-hours will pass whether I’m crushing it or passed out on the side of the road!
I ended up choosing the 24-hour for a variety of reasons. I consider one of my strengths as a cyclist is holding a very aerodynamic position, comfortably, for long periods of time. That could certainly change after a ridiculous amount of time has passed, but it’s a good starting point knowing that I can knock out 4+ hour rides more comfortably in aero on my TriRig Omni than on the hoods of a road bike. I am also very accustomed to night riding. For years I have done decent commutes starting at 10pm to past midnight depending on the assignment I was working. And generally these would occur after long work shifts on my feet following a morning of hard training. A number of years ago I also did many rides starting around 2am since I was working night shift in the ER at the time. So riding at night is no stranger to me.
I also know that at relative lower intensities on the bike, I am very efficient at burning fat as a fuel source. This will be a necessity as taking in enough fuel for the effort will definitely be a challenge. I’ll be working to improve this even more in the coming month while also dialing in my nutrition plan with primarily Team Kattouf products. Though leaving room for other food sources should the effort/my stomach dictate it.
So what is my goal here? Well I’ve never done anything really approaching this kind of effort, so I don’t want to get super cocky and make grandeur claims. But if we are speaking honestly, these are my goals as I currently see it.
- Keep moving. No matter what happens, keeping stopped time to a minimum and having a solid showing.
- Break 500 miles.
- Break the official 24-hour road cycling World Record. (currently set at 556.856 miles by Christoph Strasser)
- Learn a new level of pain/discomfort, and push through it.
Aspirational to say the least! I know what my fitness level is and what speeds I can hold on the bike, and do think that breaking the World Record is a realistic goal for me. Though it’s all dependent on surviving the duration of the event and having a plan and support crew that can make it possible. Being a multiple Race Across America winner and record holder, I know that Christoff Strasser is no slouch and that his record will not fall without immense grit and determination.
I am currently going through the extensive logistics of making this attempt WUCA (World Ultra Cycling Association) official. This involves using multiple officials to witness me riding a bicycling for 24-hours, certifying my course using a land surveyor, following a ton of rules, and way more extra details than I plan on delving into here. I will be needing the help of many friends for this attempt, and if you’d like to be involved then give me a shout! A stellar support crew is a must for all of the intricacies of an event such as this!
I’ll be posting a lot more about the attempt and my training leading into it over the next month or so. That is when I’m not out riding!