Week of Centuries: a personal challenge

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.

Map of my miles

Here are all my rides, mapped out in one go:

Century ride to Kings Lynn #weekofcenturies

Ride on 2017-10-02 09:52:00, at Norwich

Gear: Ribble TT bike

161km in 4:56:00

Average speed32.7 kmh
Max speed53.3 kmh
Average heart rate137 bpm
Average power203 Watts
Elevation gain847 metres

Read more

Century ride to somewhere near Downham Market #weekofcenturies

Ride on 2017-10-03 10:22:11, at Norwich

Gear: Ribble TT bike

165km in 5:19:12

Average speed31.0 kmh
Max speed50.4 kmh
Average heart rate133 bpm
Average power195 Watts
Elevation gain1028 metres

Read more

Century ride to Brandon (almost) #weekofcenturies

Ride on 2017-10-04 09:53:32, at Norwich

Gear: Ribble TT bike

162km in 5:06:09

Average speed31.7 kmh
Max speed50.8 kmh
Average heart rate132 bpm
Average power194 Watts
Elevation gain936 metres

Read more

Century ride to Ixworth #weekofcenturies

Ride on 2017-10-05 09:49:00, at Norwich

Gear: Ribble TT bike

165km in 5:08:33

Average speed32.1 kmh
Max speed52.2 kmh
Average heart rate131 bpm
Average power198 Watts
Elevation gain891 metres

Read more

Century ride to Eye #weekofcenturies

Ride on 2017-10-06 09:46:06, at Norwich

Gear: Ribble TT bike

162km in 5:15:00

Average speed30.9 kmh
Max speed62.3 kmh
Average heart rate128 bpm
Average power190 Watts
Elevation gain914 metres

Read more

Century ride to Corton (nr Lowestoft) #weekofcenturies

Ride on 2017-10-07 06:35:04, at Norwich

Gear: Ribble TT bike

161km in 5:11:09

Average speed31.1 kmh
Max speed58.3 kmh
Average heart rate128 bpm
Average power193 Watts
Elevation gain736 metres

Read more

Century ride to Loddon (IV club run) #weekofcenturies

Ride on 2017-10-08 05:29:24, at Norwich with 12 others

Gear: Specialized Crux Elite

163km in 5:24:31

Average speed30.1 kmh
Max speed50.0 kmh
Average heart rate123 bpm
Average power181 Watts
Elevation gain951 metres

Read more


It's quiet in here...Add your comment

Get more out of your power meter!Free sign-up now


All Cycling events | All events

July 2024 1 event August 2025 1 event

Related Reading

About the author

My name is John Swindells and I'm a keen recreational cyclist with a preference for long one-day rides. I've also previously dabbled in time trialling and cyclo-cross. See more of what I get up to on Strava!

You and Your Bike
How would a dedicated cycling facility most benefit you?

Survey Results For US