While many cycling fans spent the weekend mourning the loss of the Tour of Flanders, one ultra-endurance athlete used the spare time very productively.
Maxim Pirard completed a 1,001km ride around the north of Belgium, which took him 34 hours and 31 minutes, only resting for 11 hours and clocking an average speed of 29km/h.
>> Subscribe to Cycling Weekly this Autumn and save 35%. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<
He burned over 16,000 calories during the ride, which also took in over 4,000m of elevation. Pirard, who raced as a stagiare for Bahrain-Merida in 2018 but is currently not riding for a pro team, also had to cycle past his own house when he arrived back home as he was only on 999km and wanted to make sure he hit 1,000km.
“I had already made this plan during the winter but I wasn’t sure when I would implement it. Now that we are out of races I wanted to pay tribute to the Tour and there was no better time than last weekend,” Pirard told Sporza.
“I checked it beforehand. I didn’t cross any borders and I barely cycled with anyone else. I may have followed the advice to avoid extreme efforts a little less but I knew what I was getting into. This was not my first time.”
And how did he feel the morning afterwards?
“Did I get up with cramps? My legs fell off my body yesterday. I don’t feel anything anymore. Could the police bring me a chicken soup? I think I’ll go for some fries now. Andalouse sauce.”
Belgium’s interior minister, Pieter De Crem, said last week that France’s limit on cycling, keeping people within 1km of their home, was tighter than needed but that a 70km bike ride was too much.
Last month, Pirard completed another monster ride alongside Ag2r La Mondiale’s Oliver Naesen.
They took on an immense 365km ride around East Flanders on March 18, spending more than 12 hours in the saddle.
The pair averaged 30.4km/h on the mostly flat terrain, while Naesen averaged 182 watts and hit a maximum power of 861. Naesen also says he burned around 8,000 calories for the ride.