712 kilometers offroad in 55 hours: FatPigeon undertakes an incredible endurance challenge

In early June, Piotr Havik showcased an outstanding performance at Unbound, but he wasn't the only standout on a Ridley that weekend. Our ambassador, FatPigeon, was simultaneously tackling the Hardennes Gravel Tour. This monstrous challenge is among the classics in the world of ultracycling. "I survived it on my Kanzo Adventure," Nol reflects back to us.

Having participated in events like the Gran Guanche, The Ardennes Monster (the paved version), Unbound, and Traka, Nol has plenty of experience with endurance tests on the bike. He even completed an ultra race along all the spring classics with his Grifn, which resulted in an extensive documentary. However, the Hardennes Gravel Tour caused quite a bit of nervousness. "Rain was forecasted beforehand, and I knew then it would be a tough story. Moreover, I didn't have a great preparation due to fatigue from Traka, extensive travel, and a busy period at work."

The Hardennes Gravel Tour is grueling. "40% of the 712 kilometers are on paved roads, the rest is offroad. 15% includes single track, and 10% technical single tracks. My bike setup was similar to the one used in Traka, but I did make adjustments. The Kanzo Adventure can accommodate 29 x 2.3 inch tires, which is a huge advantage. The additional mounting points and 'internal cable routing for dynamo hubs' make this bike a beast." Specifically, Nol opted for 50 millimeter tires and an 11-50 cassette.

3-hour power naps

He embarked on the epic journey alongside his cycling buddy, Erik. There were moments of enjoyment, like encountering a deer or experiencing the 'golden hour' in the wilderness. However, the rain made it extremely challenging, and at times, the riders had to traverse rivers. "We chose to take a 3-hour power nap each night and for safety, we walked down some very dangerous descents."

Ultimately, he completed the 712 kilometers (with 12,000 meters of elevation gain) in 40 hours of cycling. This extended to 55 hours total. With an average weighted power of 225 watts and burning 25,000 calories, he achieved impressive figures. "In the last 20 minutes, I maintained over 300 watts because we were still challenged in the fight for the podium. We secured that podium spot, so physically I wasn't completely shattered. Mentally, though, I needed some patching up." With the iconic words "I'm dead, I'm gone," he stylishly concluded the ordeal.

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"Half of the participants didn't finish, and some might still be out there," he jokes during the analysis. "Now I can say it was fun, but at the time, it was mentally very tough." Meanwhile, Nol is already working towards new goals. You can read all those stories on our channels.

Photos courtesy of Tanguy Sterckx & 2shadowland
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