The Insane Numbers Behind Cycling's Most Masochistic Race

WIRED | 1/11/2019 | Robbie Gonzalez
normanorma (Posted by) Level 4
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I straddle my bike, clip into my pedals, and take a slow, deep breath. What I'm about to do won't take long, but it's going to hurt and I know it. Really, it's all I can think about.

My bike is attached to a stationary trainer that controls how hard I must pedal to turn the cranks. Controlling the trainer is Evelyn Stevens, an Olympic cyclist who, in 2016, set a world record in one of her sport's most celebrated—and most masochistic—events: the hour record.

Hour - Purest - Record - Set - Distance

The hour is widely considered to be cycling's purest record, albeit an unusual one: Instead of requiring them to traverse a set distance, this event allots cyclists a set time of 60 minutes to pedal as many laps as they can around a velodrome. And whereas other competitive pursuits typically pit multiple athletes against one another, the hour is a solo affair. The race, if you can call it that, is against the clock.

And against yourself.

Point - Body - Mind - Place - Stevens

"The whole point is to push your body and your mind to a place they've never been before," says Stevens, who recently visited WIRED's offices in San Francisco to give me a taste of what it's like to pedal one's ever-living brains out. That's what the bike and trainer are for: to see how long I can maintain the power output of a world-class hour-record cyclist.

Athletically speaking, I'm not a world-class anything—but I'm no slouch, either: I've been a runner all my life, raced triathlons in college, and have completed multiple marathons. Still, as I begin pedaling, I can't help thinking how unprepared I am for the task at hand. Not just physically, but mentally.

Stevens - Years - Brain - Body - Go

Stevens spent years preparing her brain and body for a go at the hour record. She worked on cultivating mindfulness with a sports psychologist. She floated for hours...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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