cycling · fitness

In awe of big distances but wow, still not tempted

I’m currently thinking about very long bike rides.

I’m reading Jenny Graham’s Coffee First, Then the World: One Woman’s Record-Breaking Pedal Around the Planet. Here’s a brief description: “In 2018, amateur cyclist Jenny Graham left family and friends behind in Scotland to become the fastest woman to cycle around the world. Alone and unsupported, she crossed the finish line at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin four months later, smashing the female record by nearly three weeks.”

I’ve also been following along on social media as this blog’s Nat did heroic work supporting her partner Michel on his 1000 km Randonneurs ride. I’ve been trying to persuade Nat to blog about the support for that ride being its own endurance event. That also looked grueling and logistically challenging.

Here are the rules, the main one of which is the time limit. For a 1000 km ride, that’s 75 hours (which is total elapsed time including rest stops, meals, and sleep.)

Ultra-distance cycling: I’m in awe but I’m not tempted

For both of these events, whether it’s fastest time to circle the globe by bike or a “mere” 1000 km, it’s the race against time part that gets me. I really really like my sleep. I can ride 150 km in a day and I can even do that again the next day, but likely I’d sleep 10 hours in between!

I have some big distance thoughts but they are all about doing the big distance at my own pace. When it comes to cycling, I’ve got lots of endurance. When it comes to going with rest and sleep and riding in the dark, I do not.

But a big congrats to those who have it in them. And a big congrats too to Nat for provisioning an awful lot of food and drink and meeting her weary cyclists on the road.

For me, it’s good to know my limits.

How about you? Are you an endurance runner or an endurance cyclist able to race against the clock and miss your sleep?

Yawn! Sleeping raccoon in a tree. Photo by Simon Infanger on Unsplash.

4 thoughts on “In awe of big distances but wow, still not tempted

  1. I’m planning a 100km+ ride on Sunday as part of my training for my summer ride. I’ve done this distance so many times in the past but I don’t think since before covid, so it feels like a LOT. Trying to plan the route with lots of little breaks and staying overnight in The Country the night before so I can start early without an annoying drive. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

  2. I’m rehabbing a hamstring issue so not doing big numbers myself this season, but I just organized a 600k this past weekend; that’s an endurance run in and of itself.

    I’ve ridden two 600ks myself, both times getting ~3 hours of sleep, which I can do for one night and still feel like a human (and was basically what I got organizing this past weekend, too). And DNFed my attempts at longer, but I’m going to keep trying.

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