Canadian endurance athlete Jessica Bélisle got onto her bike attached to a Wahoo Kickr paired up with Zwift on Saturday, March 4 at 6 a.m. and in the next 128 hours proceeded to surpass the previous indoor cycling record for that time period by 234 virtual kilometres covering a staggering 3109 km.
Bélisle, a master’s student in mathematics at l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, set out to set two world records in her indoor ride. She was eyeing Jasmijn Muller’s single session Zwift record of 1829 km in the virtual social training platform in 72 hours and she wanted to surpass the indoor distance record over 128 hours which was set at 2,875 km.
The first accomplishment came after 59 hours and 11 minutes in the saddle when Bélisle equaled the mark set by Muller less than a month ago. After attaining that mark she proceeded to continue with an eye on the 128-hour stationary bicycle distance record of 2,875 km. On March, 8 which was international women’s day, Bélisle equaled the indoor 128-hour record at 10 pm.
After an hours rest, Bélisle went back to pedalling early Thursday morning. In the afternoon she took a break to move her set up to Laferté Bicycle in Trois-Rivières before wrapping up the immense effort at 2 pm on March 9. At that point, she had covered 3109 km over the previous 128 hours.
“It went super well. I try to explain to people that I feel good. I don’t look exhausted because, in ultra cycling, you maintain a steady rhythm,” Bélisle explained to La Presse after disembarking from her bike. “One of my legs is tight but it should pass in the coming days.”
Le champagne est " poppé "! 3109km en 128h!!!! Merci à ma famille, toute la gang du Laferté, mes supporteurs! J'ai l'impression de vivre la plus belle aventure de ma vie et vous en faites tous partie! Un gros après-midi et une soirée chargée en vue, alors les nouvelles viendront dès que possible!!!! #sslacasse #lafertebicycles #defi128h #findmyway #happygirl #champagne #worldrecord #recordgirl
Having only slept 11 hours over the course of the 128-hour effort, Bélisle felt she had the condition to continue riding. “The hardest part is not the physical exhaustion, it’s the mind that falters,” she stressed. “During the challenge, each time I had doubts of reaching my goal, it was because I told myself I would have to go to bed. But that moment never came. In terms of managing the need for sleep, it helped me. I am beginning to understand that it is not normal what I am able to do.”
While the record has not yet been made official because of the Guinness World Record process which can sometimes take a few weeks, if it holds up under official scrutiny, it will be the new mark for both genders. The 2,875 km mark was set by a man. “I have realized that this gives hope for women to be equal, but also to stand out in our own way,” Bélisle said.
Over the summer Bélisle plans to ride a tour of Quebec during which she plans to ride to all the provinces administrative regions.