Hi, I'm Ahmet, and in this blog, I will talk about some of the experiences I have gained during my extended long distance rides.

Like most cyclists, my passion for cycling started with weekly bicycle tours, then I found myself on the tour, arguing with my friend about whether I could ride or not, and then as the result of a bet I became an individual who participated in tours every week by getting caught up by atmosphere. When I was a child, I rode a mountain bike and I was at the front and looked over my shoulder at older guys riding road bikes. I started road cycling after a year by recommendation and everything suddenly changed. I left the tours and focused on training to ride faster and stronger. With the support of my family who saw this, I started to participate in competitions and ride in teams. After competing in different teams, in 2021, in the 4th year of my sports career; I realized that what I wanted to do and what I liked was ultra distance cycling, now my training and equipment would focus on this discipline.

Ultra distance rides and regular cycling races are very different from each other. They differ in every detail from nutrition to physiology. I will tell you how I prepared for my 24-hour cycling challenge last year and how the ride went for me. I rode 566 kilometers in the 24-hour race in 2022. However, that race was postponed in 2023, so I could not update my record and bring it to a new level. I wanted to do a ride before the end of the summer and I started preparing.

The two most important issues for this ultra ride were: First, what will be my route? Second, how will the weather affect me? Because conditions in the Marmara region can be quite challenging and changing. First of all, I started by planning my route, I was going to leave Istanbul and go to Çanakkale, for this, after examining all route options, designing and planning details such as safety, road quality, break points, road illumination and the scenery of the route, my route was ready. I was facing the longest course planned to be done in 24 hours with a length of 636 kilometers and I had to get ready for it

After plotting my route, I determined my stopover points and target times. You can think of it as the route guide on the buses. I planned details such as what time I would be at what kilometer and how many breaks I would take. After planning my route and road guide, I came to the most troublesome part, nutrition and equipment preparation.

Since this ride is an ultra-long two-day adventure, I had to take plenty of food and equipment with me. If I was going to spend more than 12,000 calories in one day. I tried to meet my energy needs at the right rate by choosing the foods I would take with me. Some that can be consumed quickly and have high carbohydrate value. So here are they as follows; sandwiches, potatoes, energy gel, electrolytes, energy bars, chocolate, nuts. Since I often consume these foods while riding, I carried them in stock at points I could reach during the movement, and I consumed these snacks by easily accessing them from my top tube bag TopRock L, my frame bag Mira, my handlebar bag Perfecda, and my rear top tube bag TopRock M as I was riding in the saddle.

In addition to snacks, I also had to carry spare parts; repair kits, and civilian clothes that I would wear that I would carry for 24 hours. By carrying this equipment with the Inova Light model bag with a larger internal volume, I could carry all the items I needed in a protected and robust way while I could reach them quickly in case of need, which was very helpful in saving time.

I started riding at midnight from Kadıköy and I rode back and forth between Kartal and Bostancı on the coastline to make riding safer in the darkness of the night. I took my first break around kilometer 170 while continuing towards Izmit towards the sunrise, and I quickly set off after meeting my basic needs such as washroom and drinking water. Since I entered Izmit in the morning business hours, I stayed in traffic for a while, but I continued as safely as possible and reached Yalova, where I took my 2nd break at my 300th km. I had an average speed of 32.4 km/h , which was a great value, and my average power output was good, I felt more confident. But now the weather was getting warmer, and the wind was rising. Between Yalova and Gemlik, the weather got hotter, my water loss was increasing rapidly, and I was consuming water more often, which caused me to take more breaks. I didn't want to get into Bursa traffic, so I took the route to Bandırma over Mudanya coast. This cost me kilometers of broken roads and bumpy tracks. While I was fighting with the heat and the vibration from the road between Mudanya and Bandirma, as I reached the main road to Bandirma, I was challenged by the intense wind, yet I took firm steps towards Canakkale by fighting this wind over hundreds of kilometers without giving up.

After leaving Bandırma, it slowly got darker, and we entered the most difficult hours of the day. Fatigue was growing more and more and the darkness was causing hallucinations while sleep was trying to prevent me mentally and physically. With 2 hours to go, I was close to Çanakkale, and the beautiful glittering view of the Çanakkale bridge sobered me up and motivated me. As I continued on my way, the unique view of the Gallipoli on my right side was shining under the moonlight. As I was the only one on the road, the wind was blowing sweetly, cooling the heat of a tiring day. In a few hours, all this pain would turn into happiness at once. I left behind one of the craziest days of my life by pressing the finish button on my Garmin road computer device in front of the Trojan horse on the Çanakkale coast at 23:50. It was just as I had planned, riding a magnificent challange.

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.