Recently one of our Veris Racing riders Sabine Bird contested the world championships across 24hrs of riding, and won.
Sabine is supported by partners of the Cycling Development Foundation (CDF). The CDF seeks to increase gender diversity in sport and in non-sporting contexts. In fact Sabine is also an academic and business woman in her own right.
Sabine was aptly assisted by other friends and family on the day, highlighting how the athlete themselves are a product of the community they are associated with. This is an important distinction for the CDF as we actively seek community engagement through sporting and exercise endeavors understanding that no individual lives within a social vacuum. We manage charity rides, group rides, training days and ride to work days in order to increase community engagement through cycling. Giving back is key to real development.
We hear more from Sabine around her exploits on the day.
The “24 hour Road Race World Champion” – title was up for grabs in Busselton, WA!
24 hours of racing a bike comes with a whole range of challenges: Not only is it a physically vigorous challenge for the body, which has to push through muscle fatigue and cramps, and through pains and aches in every spot of the body. But it also comes with the mental challenge of pushing through these aches, finding motivation to keep going through the cold night and pushing through mental fatigue… I learnt a lot from my previous experiences in 24 hour races, and this time, my support team and I wanted to get it all right and attempt to race the best we can do at this stage.
The goal was to hit 700 km, no matter what placing it would result in at the end of the race – the target was the magic 700 km. And it worked! We got the nutrition right, we had tactical breaks, we had an extremely dedicated support crew that had any type of food ready whenever necessary, whose cheering and encouragement was of tremendous value and who kept me pedaling hour after hour after hour…
Whilst racing, I experienced a number of highs and lows: The first 6 hours flew by, a mixture of very fast hours close to threshold heart rate recordings, mixed with more moderate laps. Bunches of similarly strong riders formed, and the work at the front was shared. By nightfall the pace eased up, and when riding within a bunch of riders, the work at the front was often left to the fresher legs of the team riders. I was constantly reassessing my perceived strength and stayed at a limit that I felt I could hold for a long time whilst keeping the 700 km goal in sight. I knew that 24 hour races are often won throughout the night.
And this is exactly what happened: After a 12-hour battle for the lead position with Jo Kocik in the first 12 hours, a short break with some decent food lead to a 3-hour window of fresh energy, and strong, high pace riding, so that I was able to pull away eventually. When the morning sun rose, we were certain that the win is very close. I was euphoric about that, yet with 5 hours to go, a lot of work remained to be done in order to reach the 700 km mark.
Whilst going through 2-3 hours of tiredness at around 5 am, a lot of riders assisted me with constant kind words of encouragement, wind protection and treats! My crew, my friends, new friends and strangers – everyone was just amazing! All I had to do is pedal and concentrate on my riding, pedal and focus on the wheel in front, pedal and fuel up.
It was a phenomenal atmosphere in the final hours of the race! It’s the time of day, when everyone understands how tough the night was, and how sore and bruised the body feels after 20 hours of racing. In the end, I was able to not only win the women’s race, but also to break the women’s record by 26 km! A solo rider at a 24 hour solo event is never that solo after all! Without the team and the passionate spirit of the riders on track, it could have been a very different outcome. We reached every one of our goals; We won that race on so many levels! Thanks Team!”