Christoph Strasser – 24 hour road attempt – July 16-17, 2021

Congratulations to Christoph Strasser for his new 12 WUCA World Records.

Christoph demolished the 12 existing road records from 24 hour down to 100 km.

He is the first person in history to have record over 1000km (and 600 miles) in less than 24 hours!

Distance Event Kilometers Time Avg Sp (Km) Avg Sp (Miles) Existing records Solo, Male, 18-49, Standard new record
100 Kilometer Road Record 02:12:14.16 45.37 28.19 Stanislav Verstovšek, 2020-10-02, 2:21:42 26.31 mph yes
200 Kilometer Road Record 04:25:27.65 45.20 28.09 Stanislav Verstovšek, 2020-10-02, 4:44:09 26.24 mph yes
300 Kilometer Road Record 06:38:57.93 45.12 28.03 Stanislav Verstovšek, 2020-10-02, 7:10:50 25.96 mph yes
500 Kilometer Road Record 11:16:04.47 44.37 27.57 Stanislav Verstovšek, 2020-10-02, 12:18:42 25.24 mph yes
1000 Kilometer Road Record 23:18:20.27 42.91 26.66 Francisco Vacas Rodriguez, 2011-05-07, 1:07:01:16, 20.03 mph yes
Distance Event Miles Time Avg Sp (Miles) Avg Sp (Km) Existing records Solo, Male, 18-49, Standard new record
100 Mile Road Record 03:32:57.88 28.17 45.34 Stanislav Verstovšek, 2020-10-02, 3:48:06, 26.3 mph yes
200 Mile Road Record 07:08:44.91 27.99 45.04 Stanislav Verstovšek, 2020-10-02, 7:43:50. 25.87 mph yes
300 Mile Road Record 10:52:37.73 27.58 44.39 Stanislav Verstovšek, 2020-10-02, 11:51:17, 25.31 mph yes
500 Mile Road Record 18:20:26.46 27.26 43.87 Stanislav Verstovšek, 2020-10-02, 20:43:50, 24.12 mph yes
Timed Event Miles Kilometers Avg Sp (Miles) Avg Sp (Km) Existing records Solo, Male, 18-49, Standard new record
6 Hour Road Record 168.299 270.851 28.05 45.14 Stanislav Verstovšek, 2020-10-02, 156.71 miles, 26.12 mph yes
12 Hour Road Record 330.711 532.228 27.56 44.35 Stanislav Verstovšek, 2020-10-02, 302.608, 25 miles.22 mph yes
24 Hour Road Record 637.662 1026.217 26.57 42.76 Stanislav Verstovšek, 2020-10-02, 567.946 miles, 23.66 mph yes

All photos compliments of: (c) Manuel Hausdorfer

………….

My plannings to try to improve that record began at the beginning of 2020, I was dreaming of riding 1000 kilometres within 24 hours on a standard road TT bike. I was calculating, researching and figuring out, what power is necessary, how aerodynamics influence the performance and what power output is possible as a consequence of my maximum possible calory intake.

Numbers seemed to be quite sure: About 290 watts would be necessary to achieve that here at home in Austria, at the given sea level. But in higher altitude, like in Colorado at about 1800 metres above sea level, it would be 40 watts less. I knew that in my best rides over 24 hours my power output was about 255 watts (at 24h TT World Championships in Borrego Springs and in my former 24h Road Record over 896 km in 2015, who was improved by Stanislas Verstovsek in 2020)

So it was quite clear: Pushing 290 watts is impossible for me, but I was sure that I can perform at about 250 to 270 watts, especially when not riding RAAM that year, but fully focusing on that big goal.

In Spring of 2020 I was testing my equipment in a velodrome, measuring and optimizing the air resistance of my seat position and my bike-setup. The next step was getting the fastest TT skinsuit in my design, which we compared to other suits in that test.

But when I wanted to do the next steps and finalize my plans with the PPIR racetrack in Colorado, Covid began, travel restrictions were in place and it was clear, that riding in USA would be impossible. So I postponed everything for one year.

Now, in 2021 I tried to do it again. But before (trying to) doing it in Colorado in September, I wanted to to a test ride here in Austria, just to find out if my nutrition concept, my fitness, my setup and everything are good to go. By the way, I wanted to do it on a road course here, so in the best case I could set a new WUCA road record over 24 hours now, and another one on the outdoor track in Colorado later.

Searching for the perfect road course was very difficult. It must be a flat loop, not too long and not too short, no stop signs, no bad curves, not a lot of traffic and a good surface. I found that road around the military airport in Zeltweg, Austria. After getting permission and receiving great support of the Austrian Armed Forces in terms of organization, I was really optimistic. The course is closed to public traffic, quite flat, is 7.58 km long and most curves can be ridden at full speed. Only one very sharp left turn and another roundabout are tricky. But because of the many right and left curves it is definitely a road course and not a track.

Bike setup: I was trying to find all marginal gains: chain treatment with wax, ceramic bearings in the bottom bracket, the rear derailleur and wheels, the fastest tires available, thin and fast tubes, a 58 chainring for not riding the small rings at the cassette but the middle rings (which gives a straight line for the chain). The frame was s Specialized S-Works ShivTT, I used a Roval 64mm wheel in the front and disc wheel in the back. Bottle cage was removed in order to increase aerodynamics.

In the last training rides I tested one part after the other, one ride was in the skinsuit to find out about the body temperature in that long-sleeve and tight “thing”. In hot conditions this will be tough, at cool weather it will be nice. Same with the helmet: I could only use the helmet when it is cool, on a hot day I need to replace it with a road helmet to cool my head. I also tested the bike wheels, but the chain is not made for eternity, so I just tested it once. Same with the tires, because of the higher chance of suffering a flat tire, I only rode them once, and then replaced them with ordinary tires again.

I never tested the whole package together, so I was not aware of the difference that happens, when the whole package is working. Saving so many watts and seeing the speed possible at my given watts output, was very surprising when the attempt finally started.

First hours: After the start on July 16th, 17:02 o’clock, I was finding my rhythm very soon. Riding fast, pacing myself in a range between 280 and 300 watts, focussing on having enough nutrition and staying in that painful aero position. I know from training, that back pain will definitely be a main factor, and that it always comes bad in the first 2 hours. But I am also quite mentally relaxed on that, since I know that the pain decreases a few hours later. For a rookie it must be hell, to realize that shoulders, neck and back are hurting like hell after two hours, since you maybe think that it gets worse and worse. But I knew that after 2 hours it will get better again, and it did.

Nutrition: I was using a similar nutrition concept like in RAAM, but more amount of the same. One bottle of Ensure Plus in about 40 minutes and a bottle of my Peeroton Hi-End Endurance drink, which provides different sources of carbs. Summing it up, I was having about 110 grams of carbs per hour, which is quite the limit. I was not feeling well in my stomach in the first 2 hours, I was close to vomiting, but later on it became better. This is something, I was focusing on in training, testing my stomach, testing different combinations of drinks, because holding such a power output is only possible with having a very high amount of carbs per hour. The more carbs you can get, the longer your power stays high. Finally I had an overall intake of 14.400 calories over 24 hours.

Coverage: I was very glad to find a TV company who did a great livestream coverage. They covered the start and finish and had 3 extra videos of about one hour each. They had 3 cameras there, one was inside my follow vehicle, one was on a motorcycle which was riding behind me, and the third one was in the start-finish area. A presenter was directly on site, another one was talking and analysing my progress from a studio. The production was really great, and can still be watched on y facebook page and on youtube. Just the final hour had over 31.000 viewers (15.000 on Youtube and 16.000 on Facebook):
www.facebook.com/christophstrasser.at
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2JoTh-lqVVk6-wlRjGBnfuCp3HMynHVq

 

Officials: Three WUCA Officials were observing and my attempt and did a great and accurate documentation of laps and times and observing the rules. Thanks to Andreas Zemann, Irene Rohregger and Kurt Matzler. One of them always was on start-finish, one was inside the follow vehicle, and the third was exchanging, so they also had some time off to recover.

Weather: Middle of July can be quite hot, and also thunderstorms can happen. I was lucky to enjoy cool and mild and quiet weather for the first 15 hours, even if rain was in the forecast. But the second day was not so good. Still very constand temperatures of about 15°C, no strong wind, but lots of rain, which made the curves quite slippery and dangerous. I had to take care, but was able to manage the conditions. I was riding in my skinsuit all the time, only for the last 90 minutes I was putting a warming softshell jacket on, because I was feeling very cold in the end.

Final hours: My speed was so high and constant for the great part of the ride. After 12 hours I had about 532 km and so I knew, that I could really achieve 1000 km if no big problems occur. The speed was decreasing of course in the rain, but I still was staying with my nutrition concept, had strong legs throughout the ride, and only suffered 2 flat tires. This is the risk you have to take when using thin and fast tires. There were little stones on the road, from the rain and the wheels of the follow vehicle. The road is a narrow road, so in some curves on tire of the car was in the grass and threw some stones onto the road. But I had a second bike, so I immediately changed the bike and rode on, while my crew was fixing the tire then. As soon as my first bike was ready again, I changed back to it. After 23 hours and some minutes I was really reaching the 1000 km barrier, emotions and joy were so great. The last minutes were just overwhelming and I was looking forward to the final lap. We finished the final lap and stopped at the start-finish line, so the detailed distance was matter of a calculation from the average speed of the last lap and the time of the last lap. I did not to stop in the middle of the loop, but stop in the start-finish area and share that moment with the 300 visitors and fans, who were attending, even it was still raining. What a fine moment!