1000km self supported bicycle race in Portugal

On Monday, the 1st of May, Thomas hast started a 1000km unsupported bicycle race in Faro, Portugal. All riders follow a given GPS track and 2 obligatory checkpoints have to be passed. Riding in groups or drafting is not allowed. Every starter has to organise food and accommodation on their own. Possible mechanical issues have to be solved by the riders themselves; only public service, which is available for everybody, is allowed.

The start was at 05:00. It is especially in the beginning of these kind of adventures, that the riders are tempted to speed up a bit, since the muscles are still fresh and the adrenaline is rushing.

But it was only after around 180km, when Thomas experienced some odd cramps in both of his legs. Cycling was still possible, indeed, however with more effort and interspersed with many short breaks.

But then, all of a sudden, at the 250th km the front wheel got a huge cut. There was nothing else to do, but trying to fix this problem – at least provisionally.

Right, the task, the tools, the action. Another focus and the cramps have magically evaporated. Hard to explain, even for an experienced in cycling physiotherapist! Anyway, the tire was stable long enough, till the Checkpoint 1, localised in Sagres, 280km after the start line. Success!

The next morning Thomas planned heading further at 5am, but he had to wait till the only bike shop in town opened up their business. So, with a “small” time slip, at around 11am, he could ride further on with a brand new tire and a tube.

The temperatures during the days already in May were pretty high, which forced 4 starters to scratch due to heatstrokes. But beautiful landscapes and mostly very respectful car drivers made this race to a very memorable time.

On Thursday’s early morning, at 00:38, Thomas finished the race in Faro after 91 hours and 38 minutes. Distance: 1000km, elevation: 12.500m.
Our team here, back in Gdansk, was very proud of his achievement!!!!

For people who are not a part of or not familiar with the ultra endurance cycling world, these races sound incredible. How strong and super-trained one must be, to reach the finish line?! Of course, to climb up the elevation or speed up against headwind, one would need some physical strength. But, as many involved would admit, it’s rather a matter of the brain, of the spirit and stamina of the cyclist, than the actual physical power.

And to make it clear: passing such race in the maximal allowed time of 120 hours, is possible for many people, who simply like cycling and challenging themselves.
Honestly, Thomas rarely “trains” on his bike. He simply commutes on a daily basis. Sure, he does some multi day bike-packing trips for pleasure every now and then, but in between, there’s almost no special training for ultra endurance cycling. And still, with every race he proves, that seemingly “impossible” is actually possible.
Sometimes it’s good not to push the body to the limits, sure. On the other hand, there are situations, when it’s beneficial to leave the comfort zone. So, go and try! Cycle, run, do whatever you like. Challenge yourself and the others. It is truly amazing what people can achieve when they start believing in themselves.

…and who knows, maybe from simply accomplishing a challenge, one day you will start reaching for victories, like our team-member, Agata!

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