I'd been scratching my head for a decent challenge this year, thinking about one-day distances and climbing targets. Since I have an eye on my Eddington Number, I finally decided to go for a multi-day endurance challenge: the week of centuries. A single century ride (100 miles) is well within my capabilities, but I was uncertain of being able to ride seven of them on consecutive days. I opted for my time trial bike, keeping the power at a "sustainable" level (200-220 watts) and minimising food intake.
The weather was generally favourable for the week: mild (10 - 14 degrees C) and dry, but with a steady 20mph westerly wind. I'd decided to aim for seven different 50-mile destinations (returning home each day), from Kings Lynn in the west to Southwold in the south-east, and given the wind conditions I started the week by taking the wind head-on - out to Kings Lynn. From then on through the week I worked my way south and east, although things got a little messy at the weekend due to family commitments and the club run.
As well as being motivated by my Eddington Number, I was also very much inspired by the long-distance efforts and achievements of a small number of cyclists. These people are all capable of knocking out 200+ miles each day, every day, and each one has clearly emptied the tank - time and time again - in pursuit of their individual goal. So, here they are:
The modern British long-distance hero is Steven Abraham who in 2017 puts out 1400 miles per week to try and beat the one-year cycling record. His first attempt in 2016 had to be abandoned when his mileage suffered due to a broken ankle: the fracture didn't stop him, but the world record was out of reach. Since that attempt he went on to grab the one-month record: 7104 miles (229 miles per day).
Current women's one-year record holder Kajsa Tylen from Nottingham smashed the 78-year-old record in 2016, covering 32326 miles on all sorts of roads across England and mainland Europe. She even cycled through the night in mid-summer northern Scandinavia, making use of 24-hour daylight.
Mark Beaumont is famous as a global record-setter, traversing all sorts of land masses in super quick time. However, he set himself a seemingly impossible target of a circumnavigation of the globe (18000 miles) in under 80 days, as per the fictional Phileas Fogg in Jules Vernes' novel. Well, he managed it in 2017, averaging around 250 miles per day to complete the ride (with a support crew of course) in under 79 days.
Amanda Coker rode an average of 237 miles per day for a year - adding up to 86573 miles - which is more than anyone else. Whilst being an amazing achievement, it is also argued that the conditions in which she rode (on a closed-road circuit with limited climbing, and with group riding) are not comparable to those endured by open-road cyclists.
A rare breed of cyclist, James MacDonald wasn't content with riding the famous Lands End - John o'Groats journey: he did the opposite journey first! Yes, JOGLEJOG is a thing, with its own record, and MacDonald completed the 1800 miles in 5 days and 18 hours - averaging 313 miles per day. Apparently he completed the last 900 miles with just three 20-minute power naps, which must have been so mentally painful!
Kurt Searvogel is the current one-year record holder, with 76076 miles, routinely riding 225 miles per day to set the record in 2015/16.
Here are all my rides, mapped out in one go:
Ride on 2017-10-02 09:52:00, at Norwich
Kept it steady into a 20mph headwind towards Kings Lynn, and enjoyed a brisk tailwind coming home! Power measured by #stages
161km in 4:56:00
|Average speed||32.7 kmh|
|Max speed||53.3 kmh|
|Average heart rate||137 bpm|
|Average power||203 Watts|
|Elevation gain||847 metres|
Ride on 2017-10-03 10:22:11, at Norwich
Kept the power down today; headwind out & nice tailwind back. Power measured by #stages
165km in 5:19:12
|Average speed||31.0 kmh|
|Max speed||50.4 kmh|
|Average heart rate||133 bpm|
|Average power||195 Watts|
|Elevation gain||1028 metres|
Ride on 2017-10-04 09:53:32, at Norwich
Bit cooler today; brisk west wind. Power measured by #stages
162km in 5:06:09
|Average speed||31.7 kmh|
|Max speed||50.8 kmh|
|Average heart rate||132 bpm|
|Average power||194 Watts|
|Elevation gain||936 metres|
Ride on 2017-10-05 09:49:00, at Norwich
Brisk north-westerly wind, actually felt like a tailwind most of the time. #stages power measurement
165km in 5:08:33
|Average speed||32.1 kmh|
|Max speed||52.2 kmh|
|Average heart rate||131 bpm|
|Average power||198 Watts|
|Elevation gain||891 metres|
Ride on 2017-10-06 09:46:06, at Norwich
162km in 5:15:00
|Average speed||30.9 kmh|
|Max speed||62.3 kmh|
|Average heart rate||128 bpm|
|Average power||190 Watts|
|Elevation gain||914 metres|
Ride on 2017-10-07 06:35:04, at Norwich
Felt quite tough in the westerly wind today. Power measured by #stages
161km in 5:11:09
|Average speed||31.1 kmh|
|Max speed||58.3 kmh|
|Average heart rate||128 bpm|
|Average power||193 Watts|
|Elevation gain||736 metres|
Ride on 2017-10-08 05:29:24, at Norwich with 11 others
Power measured by #teamzwatt
163km in 5:24:31
|Average speed||30.1 kmh|
|Max speed||50.0 kmh|
|Average heart rate||123 bpm|
|Average power||181 Watts|
|Elevation gain||951 metres|