In my line of work I meet all types of riders; from those whose bum hurts after 25 minutes in the saddle to people like a guy I met yesterday in the Luberon named Peter.
I had the chance to meet Peter thanks to friend Youenn, who lives in San Francisco but has a home in the village of St Saturnin Les Apt (which he rents out to large groups. It’s lovely) and comes over at least once a year with a bunch of cycling buddies.
Youenn got me up to speed on the riders who I needed to chat to, including probably the first American to work the Mavic Neutral Service in the Tour de France (1984), and Murphy, who is famous in the Bay Area as an organizer of seriously tough bike events on all sorts of surfaces. But Peter really took the cake.
After casually telling me that a couple of years ago Peter had ridden from Youenn’s place to Ventoux, climbed it 5 times, then rode back (over 9000 meters of climbing) to the house, I was then informed that he had raced around Iceland. At first I thought oh, Iceland can’t be that big, but then the numbers started jumping out and I found out that this annual race (WOW Cyclothon), more or less following the same road right around the island, is 1358 km long.
Most people do it in teams, but it can be done solo, too. Peter won this race last year by hours over the next in line. His Strava ride has slightly lower distance numbers and has him riding for 50 hours. I’d suppose the actuals are a little higher. Strava also tells us that he climbed over 27,000 meters on that ride.
Make yourself a coffee and let that sink in. Then cry into your coffee over your inadequacies…..oh, sorry, I was thinking out loud there…
Truth be told, I like to meet people like this. It doesn’t make me want to ride 1000 km in one go (he has done this many times, by the way), but it reinforces a belief we should probably all hold – the physical limits we think we have are there because we think we have them. We can usually do so much more.