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All day ride: Norwegian spends 13 hours riding 510km on Zwift

Nick Busca
11 Jun 2020

12 hours and 55 minutes, 511.57 virtual kilometres, 13 energy bars and several pairs of bibshorts: Jonas Abrahamsen's big day on Zwift

It seems we need to redefine the idea of 'Monster Ride' almost weekly. And during the Covid-19 pandemic, we've already heard of a lot of lone and crazy rides outdoors or on Zwift. Yet there's one that has flown under the radar for a while.

On 9th April, 24-year-old Jonas Abrahamsen, from the Norwegian Development team Uno-X, spent 12 hours and 55 minutes on Zwift covering a huge 511km. He started at 06:30 and jumped off his Tacx Neo at around 21:30. Though he used his road bike for the entire time, on Zwift he used an avatar with a TT bike meaning he didn't benefit from any virtual drafting.

Before we get to the stats for his epic ride, you need to know a couple of things about Abrahamsen.

He is based in Skien in Norway (130km south of Oslo) and has a resting heart rate of 28 beats per minute. Even Exercise Physiologist and 'endurance guru' Stephen Seiler – who did a video on his YouTube channel about the ride – describes it as 'a very exceptionally low HR'.

Abrahamsen is 182cm tall, weighs 67kg, and his six minute power has been tested at 447 watts; 20 minute at 391W and 60 minute at 356W. He started cycling in 2011, after first trying to break through in football.

'That was painful for my legs,' Abrahamsen tells Cyclist. 'Then, when I started cycling, I was training two to three hours per day, all out. When I won my second race, I thought I had something to give to this sport.'

Taking up the challenge

During his monster Zwift ride he didn't look at power numbers or heart rate values. He rode only on feeling. Despite that, his numbers didn't show any dips. He averaged 230W (max 558W) and 121 beats per minute (max 138bpm). The only notable variation was in the last 15 minutes, when he increased the pace. Just because.

You can see his ride statson Strava, here: strava.com/activities/3276541769

'I had done a 300km ride outdoors in March,' says Abrahamsen. 'And after that ride, two riders of the Team COOP [UCI Continental team in Norway] did a 500km one and challenged me to do the same.'

National attention

Not only was Abrahamsen challenged by two peers, but then even the national broadcaster TV2 asked Abrahamsen to accept the challenge. For a rider who likes to go long and rides 28 to 30 hours per week, you don't have to ask that twice.

'I love to challenge myself and my body to do something new and extreme,' says Abrahamsen. 'I think when I do things like this, it gives me something. I do shorter and intense rides every week, but then I feel like I do something special when I do long rides, which gives me good feelings. Just to challenge the body.'

He was initially planning to ride outdoors, but because of the lockdown restrictions (he had to be alone for the whole time), he decided to take the challenge indoors on Zwift.

The TV2 channel filmed Abrahamsen when he was five hours into his task. 'That hour passed very fast,' he says.

But what about the rest of the time?

'In the beginning, I listened to music, then looked at Zwift. After two hours I watched a couple of movies, then the TV production came, I listened to music again, and then some friends visited, and we had a chat. Then I listened to music again and watched another movie, another friend came and brought me some candies.'

Abrahamsen fuelled the ride with 13 energy bars (1 per hour), and 17 bottles of water-energy drink mix (50/50). He stopped to go to the toilet three times and changed his bibshorts a few times because he was sweating a lot. In the end, he burned 11,000 calories and used a lot of chamois cream.

'I have also had to use a lot of that the week after because it was not so good!'

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