Record attempt: indoor track 6/12/24h, indoor track 100/200/300/500km, indoor track 100/200/300/500mi by Christoph Strasser (AUT)
Date and location: The attempt was startet on Saturday, 14th October and ended on Sunday 15th October 2017 at 1pm in the Tissot-Velodrome Suisse, which is known from international record rides like the 1-hour-UCI-record from Jens Voigt and Rohan Dennis. The conditions in the Velodrome were perfect, the track is very new and in a perfect condition, the temperature and humidity very comfortable and stable.
Equipment: I was considering to ride a track bike but then decided to ride on a road bike, because I think it is important to have the possibility to hang loose your legs from time to time and be abel to roll for some seconds to stretch your upper body. In fact, I was only rolling for 3 times in the whole attempt, because in the curves you need to pedal in order to stay on the black line and not to crash, and the straight parts are so very short and only last for maximum 4 seconds. I was pedalling for about 23h:57m and only stopped once for a pee (after about 22 hours).
My bike was the “Specialized Shiv S-Works” with some modifications compared to the RAAM setup: I was demounting the front shifter, the front break and the left lever to improve aerodynamics. The demounting of the front break was granted by WUCA’s Drew Clark with a special waiver. My Garmin Edge was supported by a USB-powerbank in order to have enough energy to record 24h straight in one file, which will be published.
I was using a power2max powermeter in the crank, had the CeramicSpeed oversize-Pulley-Wheels to reduce chain friction and the chain was treated with “DryFluid”, a very high end product with better quality than any oil.
The wheels were Roval CLX64 in the front and a Roval TT-Disc at the rear (this Disc will be officially available soon and was provided by my sponsor). Tyres were the Specialized Turbo Cotton with some modifications, to reduce rolling resistance.
I was using the S-Works time trial helmet with the Terrano system inside, which gave me the chance to communicate with my crew and I was wearing a time trial suite from my sponsor owayo.
Why did I want to do that record: For me it was a thought, which was in my head for many years. I was excited about Marko Baloh’s record ride in 2010 but did not feel able to do that for many years, since I never rode the track in my life. I was focussing on ultra races like Race Around Slovenia, RAAM and Race Around Austria in the coming years, but I was always thinking, that once in my lifetime will be my day to try that indoor track ride.
After beating Robic’s road record in 2015 I was sure that the track had to be next. I knew that this is the toughest challenge you can do in 24h racing, so I prepared very carefully over one year. I was learning to ride in the Velodrome and wanted to attempt the record in October 2016, but had to postpone it because of a cold. Being sick is the worst thing for a DNS, but I had to accept and looked forward to to it one year later.
I was wondering how many KM I could ride in 24h without having winds, day and night, rain or anything else. The track is the place where you can ride without any bad conditions, it is the pure cycling challenge where you ride on your own – also without big support from your crew. That was my reason to do it. Just me and the track!
The ride itself was very tough, much tougher than expected: For any reason I could not push as hard as I used to and as I was hoping for. On the road I did 250 watts over 24hours several times, but on the track my performance decreased after 5 hours and it was hard for me to even keep the output at 200W. The reasons were my problems with nutrition intake and back pain. I needed to take one painkiller after 2h and was nearly vomiting for half of the time. After 5 hours I had to fight against tiredness and had to fight with all my mental power not to fall asleep. The monotony of the track is so tough, you need to concentrate yourself on riding the black line in every of the more than 7500 curves. You can crash in the curves or move too far to the right, if you don’t take care. That need of concentrations takes a lot of energy, I had to take 4 caffeine tabs during the ride to maintain that state of mind.
My crew was running beside my while doing pedestrian handoffs, we did that about all 20 minutes. They gave me a bottle with only little fluid inside, so it was easier for me to grab them. Ensure and carbo-electrolyte drinks were my main nutrition, while feeling sick we changed to green tea. Throwing away the bottle was a little bit of fun, we had some kind of basket (hoola-hoop) with a net, so I could enjoy myself having a target to where to throw the bottle, and we also did not want to throw the bottle on the ground, which could cause dirt or damage.
The worst part of the ride were the first 22 hours, I could never enjoy the ride because of the aero-position on the bike. This was a reason for the stomach issues and of course for the neck and back pain, which was more on the left side of my upper body. But I could manage to stay on the bike and stay in the position for almost the entire ride. I got out of the saddle sometimes to stretch my upper body, but I recognized that this costs a lot of speed and slows me down. After 22h I was able to pee for the first and only time, before that I did not feel the need to do so, because I was not drinking enough.
The best part were the last 2 hours: I could speed up again, the short toilet stop gave me a little recovery and also the people in the Velodrome were great and did a lot of cheering. Music was played, the party was on. Specialized organised a big event around the record ride, so we attracted a lot of people to come. The live-stream on youtube was on air the whole 24h and I knew, that a lot of people were following the ride via internet. My motivation in the last 2 hours was great, I was beating Markos record after about 23h and 5 minutes and had 55 minutes left to improve the record. In that last hour I had the same power output like 4 hours after the start and I did a sprint in the last lap.
After the ride we had a small ceremony with the crowd and Marko was handing me a small document with the numbers: I did ride 941,873km in 24h. I was hoping for 960 to be honest, but considering all the problems I am very happy with the ride. I was tested by the antidoping.ch agency for performance-enhancing-drugs immediately afterwards.
WUCA officials were Irma and Marko Baloh and Anne Mei from Italy. They did a great job and have been around all the time, documenting everything and writing down my lap times. We had a super-modern electronic timing in the Velodrome on the one hand, and the manual time keeping on the other hand, to fulfill the WUCA rules.
Here is the link to my training-file on trainingpeaks: http://tpks.ws/HZAb1
Attached you see some graphics, how speed and power evolved over 24h.
Here are the pictures from my ride: https://www.christophstrasser.at/24h_track_rekord_live/
Here is an English interview: http://www.cyclist.co.uk/news/3582/i-will-never-ride-on-the-track-again-says-austrian-cyclist-after-smashing-24-hour