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Unsupported challenges

/ unsupported

Loneliness, Thoughts & Thoughts

What is ultra cycling really? I had a great debate on our Facebook-page some time ago. Do I have enough experience with my two years in ultra cycling to answer this and how are unsupported races ranked compared to ultra cycling and the supported-category where I compete?

To become more aware of this and to learn some of the skills of unsupported I completed Challenge 24 Funen. 24 hours without support on Funen for the purpose of exploring and becoming wiser on unsupported and of course getting a good workout in relation to my upcoming races.

The hard facts:

  • 638 km
  • 11.641 Calories
  • Around 5 hours of wasted time (buying supplies, fixing defects, pie-breaks etc.)

What did I learn about unsupported?

  • Half-liter bidons are too small when you do not have a car with supplies just behind you
  • It is incredibly stressful to think about food, water and supplies all the time
  • You should really be able to pack light and sleep on a rock (no, you do not sleep in 24 hours, but you get what I mean)
  • The race-feeling lives despite challenges of a whole different character than you experience in supported
  • You can never bring too many powerbanks

What is in it for me and possibly you?
24 hours alone on the roads gives time for reflection. Time for loneliness. Time for thoughts. Time for thoughts. Yes, I wrote thoughts twice, but many of the thoughts are thought through, analyzed and considered more than once in 24 hours. I see this as a great advantage to take away from unsupported. Unsupported challenges force you to be sharp all the time. In supported racing you can kind of shot down your brain and be the body and the engine thanks to the crew. In unsupported you have to be everything from rider, navigator and cook to a therapist, mechanic and mental coach. At the same time, loneliness allows you to work with mental things that you do not otherwise have time for. In unsupported all you have is time.

I would never change from supported to unsupported as I love the interaction between rider and crew. To motivate, fight and succeed as a team is my greatest motivation and ambition. However, the experience has given me mental tools that I want to explore further. I now to a greater extent understand why some people choose to go unsupported. With space for thoughts and thoughts.

/Mads Frank

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