Pro rider Laurens de Vreese has been spending his time inside doing something mind-blowing: he completed a 370 km non-stop indoor ride in Zwift. It took the rider of the Astana Pro Team 11 hours to complete his challenge on the Tacx NEO 2T. This wasn’t just a crazy attempt for a new record, he wanted to create awareness for the current worldwide situation and to motivate people to keep on training, in a safe way.

How it all began

De Vreese, who is starting his sixth season in a row at the Kazakh team, is just like many other pro riders sitting at home due to the cancelation of the cycling races. To stay motivated and push themselves, they sometimes come up with some bold ideas. Fellow Belgian rider Oliver Neasen, created some attention with his outdoor training ride of 365 km. This tickled De Vreese, but when he was riding outside, he noticed many tourists, families and other cyclists on the road. “On my training ride of 150 km, I saw more than 2.000 people,” he said. “In times like these, I don’t think this is appropriate. But I was also a bit scared. The more people I passed, the greater the risk of getting the virus. Then I came up with this idea: I’m going to beat that ride of Oliver, but then indoors on the Tacx! Not just for fun, but to create awareness about the possibilities in these days. This was my motivation. Yes, I was suffering a lot during that ride, but the publicity it created was very satisfying. I hope to encourage people to sport while they stay inside. That was my whole point.”

Round and round

De Vreese decided to wake up early because 370 km is obviously quite a distance to complete in one day. In fact: it was going to be the longest single ride he ever rode! He does a 300 km ride outside every once or twice a year to prepare for Milan – San Remo, but his record on a Tacx was ‘just’ 200 km and this was spread over a day. But there is more. “In Zwift, you can select multiple routes,” he continued. “To make it mentally even more difficult for myself, I decided to select a route of just 3 km. I thought it was going to be easy because it only had 30 altimeters, but these were counting up rapidly during the day. My legs were feeling so heavy!”

“Mentally I’m quite strong, so this wasn’t a problem for me. But you shouldn’t underestimate this: on an indoor trainer, every cycle rotation counts double,” according to De Vreese. ”Outside on the road, you can slowdown smoothly every now and then and recover a bit in the corners. On a Tacx, you have to keep moving, so I pedalled every inch of that 370 km! It was intense and heavy and took me eleven hours to complete.”

For those of you who wonder what his nutrition plan looked like for that day:

  • 4 Tacx bottles filled with energy drink
  • 4 bottles of water (1 litre each)
  • 1 ice tea
  • 1 coffee
  • 2 energy bars
  • 4 sandwiches made by his girlfriend which he consumed while pedalling

Who will challenge him?

De Vreese named his effort the #olivernaesenchallenge and is waiting for someone to beat his attempt. “What an answer to my ride, it’s the most crazy thing I’ve ever heard,” was Naesen’s reaction in the Belgian Sporza. De Vreese laughed about it and said: “It would be very nice of course if someone will accept this challenge. But maybe I’ll surprise you all again soon because I think I’ll be able to go even further. I’d love to test my body once again and pull another stunt.” Follow De Vreese on Instagram to stay informed and give him a big high fife for his attempt!