25 Hour Challenge
25 Hour Challenge with AskJenUp and VeloEliteCarbon Wheels
by Sam Woodfield
The morning of Saturday 29th October loomed, and the weather looked reasonable for October at least, the body and mind was fuelled and motivated to undertake the biggest challenge I had ever set myself since recovering from anorexia/orthorexia.
I swung my leg over my SystemSix which was loaded with the VeloElite Carbon Wide 180 – 50mm disc road wheel set, at 1015am I rolled down to the cafe for a final oat flat white and last bit of human interaction. With the challenge starting at precisely 1045am with Jennifer Tomei riding with me for the first hour, with Alex Duffill being in charge of capturing all the highs, lows and everything in the middle with his camera. We were also lucky to have local support from Mike Deely and his KLM taxi firm providing a following car for the majority of the challenge and most importantly the 12-14 hours of riding in complete darkness.
The challenge was to replicate Red Bull Time Laps 25 hour event which I had done 3 times in the past, finishing 3rd in the mixed team category back in October 2019 around Great Windsor Park. The motivation behind the challenge was to raise money and awareness for the AskJenUp non-profit organisation to launch an Online Eating Disorder Platform for schools, sports clubs and businesses to use as a resource to help with the early prevention of Eating Disorders which have risen sharply since the pandemic, 2020.
We had set an ambitious but achievable target of £3000 (at time of writing the total is £2600) to allow for the platform to be developed to completion and allow a few schools a free trial period allowing for feedback and further development.
The wheels fitted where laced with Conti GP5000 tubeless tyres and ceramic bearings making them super-fast, light and stiff making them hugely enjoyable and fast for the entire 21 hours which turned out to be the total moving time over the 25 hours. I had the privilege of using the first ever model Tom produced back in early 2019 and it is phenomenal to see how far these wheels have come since then and how fast and smoothly they rolled during the 25 hours.
The daylight hours passed without a glitch, and I had to managed to cover over 275Km before the darkness well and truly set in, during this time Jenny had also ran 10Km over a hilly route and completed 25Km on her bike with myself during the first hour.
With a quick stop back at HQ, bottles topped up with UpShift Nutrition SUSTAIN and more food in the pockets, I loaded the bike up with lights, put my head torch on and set out for the night shift, this part of the challenge was always going to be the toughest element.
However, I had an amazing driver who stuck to my rear wheel like glue and offered music, banter, drinks and support when needed. He was slightly blown away by the speed I was maintaining, and I put this down to the VeloElite Carbon wheels, as I didn’t actually have the best of leg days, so had to put a lot of trust and faith in the wheels, tyres and knowledge of the roads. The roads I used were my normal 2-hour training loops, so I knew them very well to say the least and ended knowing them even better after the challenge!!
As 2am on Sunday morning approached and the clocks were about to change, I suffered one low point as my Wahoo head unit automatically sprung back to 1am meaning I had to see 2am again and meant it was time to try and step on a little bit to replicate the “power hour”. I knocked out 32.5Km around the Southwick RR course with 4 ascents of the hill and finished back at the flat for “dinner” lol!
The distance was doubled as per the Red Bull event and added to my total distance at the end. Jenny also completed her own power hour in her own way and did 6 hill reps over Southwick Hill going up and down both sides towards the local infamous water tower.
With 8 hours or so left, the body was starting to struggle and shut down, however I knew I definitely had 505Km in the legs as I had done this before with Isaac Hudson back in 2020. So this was my next target to knock off and did so faster than 2020 and this time it was all solo. So, with 16h40m of moving time completed I had achieved 502Km. Over the course of the next 4h20m I managed to find another 110Km which is slow by my normal standards, I can be known as a bit of a one pace wonder! At 0530am the driver pulled me over and told me very firmly to sit down in the car as I was wondering all over the road, one fizzy drink later and a few caffeine pills popped I embarked on a journey to a local supermarket to grab some breakfast and let Alex capture me interacting with a human as I paid for it. What is normally a straightforward easy task, proved harder than expected!
As the sun came up and Jenny embarked on her last 5Km run around the Oundle tricky triangle loop, morale was high, and the end was in sight now. I met Jenny with 1 hour to go and we finished it off as a team and in style going up Southwick hill again!!! We then headed to the finish line for precisely 1045am Sunday 30th October, where we were greeted by her parents, Alex and a bottle of Bucks Fizz!!
Bike dismounted, glasses removed, head unit paused, ride uploaded, it was time for the money shot of the 25hour stare, the stats from the Wahoo and to be drenched in the Bucks Fizz. We rolled back to my house in shock with what we had achieved over the 25hours, which was made even better considering we are both still recovering from years of suffering with an eating disorder and overtraining syndrome.
Stats for the Elapsed 25hours
Total Distance for Sam – 613Km + 31Km for power hour. Total moving time – 20h54m
Average power 178W/204NP
Total calories burned – 14503
Coffees consumed – 7
Bottles of UpShift SUSTAIN – 9 all with 75g of carbs in Loaves of Soreen – 5