July 1st and 2nd, 2023 | Aldenhoven Testing Center (ATC)
Author: Holger Seidel
In November 2022, it was clear that I would like to tackle the 24 hours in a record attempt and try my hand at Christian von Ascheberg's 13-year-old record. I discussed with my coach Roland Kauke the rough training schedule for the next few months and Jens Buckbesch and Sven Kröll outlined the optimization of the Bülk. During the course of the year, the project picked up speed. Jens Buckbesch and Eggert Bülk developed an aero kit for the Bülk with the help of Prof. Eric Helter, made molds for it and manufactured the individual parts. My training was characterized by very intensive rolling sessions during the week, followed by long endurance rides of 100 to 300 km on the weekends. With spring, the days became longer and so did the sessions. For the preparation I used the brevet series at the Ostfalen Randonneuren and rode the distances of 200, 300, 400 and 600 km. A first test was the 600 brevet and the 24 hours at Brelinger Berg. Both events did not run ideal yet, but I was in good spirits. I was able to improve my fitness levels once again or keep them the same as last year. In order not to miss the big goal, I did without many other events this year. But it should be worth it.
The record weekend played a decisive role in my planning for a long time, I was also involved in the organization. The week before I was able to pick up my optimized Bülk at Velomobile-Nord. Now it looked even faster than usual. Then it was the time to pack all things and head west. With the Aldenhoven Testing Center we had an ideal venue. On Friday I was able to get my team in the right mood and then it was time for the final work on the Bülk. Measuring the track and rolling it out, polishing the body, masking off all the holes, fitting the aero kit, etc.
On Saturday morning we got a briefing from the observers and then we started. We could register our start at our own discretion and off we went. 24 hours are long and at the beginning you can't really imagine it. The lap in Aldenhoven is about 2 km long and so it should be over 600 laps in the 24 hours. At the beginning I started the ride much too fast and let myself be tempted by the speed rush. But it was really a lot of fun. The average speed in the first hours was over 57 Km/h. That was way too fast. That was way too fast and I noticed that. I took something out and had to recover a bit first, but the speed remained high.
The weather was not ideal with rain and storm, but it was not warm. And that was a big advantage! The ride into the night can be described as almost entertaining. There was always something going on on the track and the spectators were unique! During the night I lost a bit of energy and had to take a longer break. But the body recovered and so I could increase my performance again and stabilize. Ruben and I overtook each other several times and also rode a few laps in a row every now and then. This brought variety into the monotonous course. A few heavy showers also meant that it didn't get boring.
Concentration at night was important, the lower lane was limited with lights and had to look to stay on the second lane. Especially in heavy rain this was not easy. The night went much better than expected. I was expecting fatigue, but it did not set in. And so it dawned at some point and I knew that the night was now over and I had the most difficult hours behind me.
But it was still a few hours to the finish and the last 100 km dragged on. It was clear to me that I would break Christian's record. Ruben was still a bit faster than me and had a few laps ahead. But my goal seemed to be fulfilled. At the end, the body is empty, but two or three hours are long, but I knew at that moment that I could do it and go through very well. So it was, the last laps again at full speed and with great jubilation to the finish. On the speedometer was then 1,230 km in 24 hours. Without breaks, that was then an average of over 54 Km/h.
Ruben Schütze rode 1,256 km and deservedly took the new world record. Nevertheless, a dream has come true for me and I will compete again in 2025 and attempt the record.
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