Red Bull Timelaps 2020 – Virtual Edition
As 2020 continued to unfold and July and then August arrived without any announcements regarding Red Bull Timelaps 2020, it became apparent that the live event was highly unlikely - and the most we...

As 2020 continued to unfold and July and then August arrived without any announcements regarding Red Bull Timelaps 2020, it became apparent that the live event was highly unlikely - and the most we could hope for was a virtual event, following in the footsteps of iconic events like the 40th London Marathon.

Then finally, it was confirmed. The Red Bull Timelaps will take place in 2020 as a virtual event. And even though I'm not at all a fan of virtual events, I saw it as an opportunity to make those years 25 hours of cycling all that the real life event was not in 2019 and could not have been. Besides doing everything, he probably never will be.

What is Red Bull Timelaps?

Starting at 12 p.m. on Saturday and ending at 12 p.m. on Sunday, teams of four runners aim to cover as many miles as possible in a relay format. At 2 a.m. (BST), the clocks return to 1 a.m. (GMT), creating an additional hour known as Power Hour.

I knew what I wanted this virtual event to be - in an ideal world. Simply put, luxury; the luxury of sleeping, sleeping in a real bed. The luxury of warmth and the luxury of choice - that is, not having to ride in the pouring rain like last year.

And I knew what I didn't want - especially to be confined to the same walls that I had been for most of 2020. only event I planned to attend in 2020, and it still held, so I wanted it to be an unforgettable event.

Meet my Red Bull Timelaps 2020 team

From left to right: Sophie, Georgina, Sam and myself.

My team during Timelaps, Printworks, London on October 24, 2020

Our original plan was to end up in a barn in Essex that we rented on Air B'n'B using it as a base to get on and off, on a turbo trainer. Less than a week before the timelaps started, Essex entered Tier 2, meaning groups were no longer allowed to be together. So we needed a new plan ...

At the last minute, Red Bull confirmed they had hired Printworks in London, where our team and another team could ride. Space was not a problem in this place, so it only remained to get to the start line ...

Training for Red Bull Timelaps 2020

Since I had no idea if Timelaps was going to play out or not, I couldn't really train for it. However, I had started a 3 month training program in early September and had participated in Zwift Academy for the 3 weeks leading up to race day.

Ideally if the race had been confirmed earlier I would have trained for the event - probably with multiple sessions in a day and at different times of the day. But I knew if I could survive it in 2019, as unfit as I was then, I would do it until 2020.

Timelaps Team 2020 Race Strategy

Now everything was a bit last minute for this event, including our team race strategy. Georgina set up a program where we started with an hour of walking, progressing to two hours overnight to allow for sleep. Once the morning was up, we returned to an hour's walk.

Thinking back to my 2019 post and now looking back at this event, I certainly would have preferred to start with 90 minute stints when I'm feeling my best. I did just over 30km in my first hour and I know I could have pushed harder and longer.

My individual racing strategy

Once the virtual event was announced and we decided to get together as a team, I had pretty much decided to work my hours on an indoor trainer. In terms of strategy, you could have more control on the pitch and reduce the risk of issues like flat tires, mechanical breakdowns, and getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.

When we changed locations for the warehouse I was even more sure to stick with the turbo, but figured I wouldn't 100% say ride the track until I saw it.

This year I rode the Liv Avail 2020 Advanced Pro 1 again. Last year I chose it mainly because of the 700 × 32 tires which were perfect for tackling Windsor Great Park and bad weather.

This year I chose it because it's the same bike Sophie uses so she had the necessary skewer for the Wahoo turbo trainer that we were loaned to, because my 2019 Liv Avail is on my own turbo and the Avail is known for its all-day driving comfort.

Once I saw the warehouse space, I made the decision to stick with the turbo. You can check out the trail in the Georginas video below - the ground was quite smooth, the course was quite short at ~ 350m and there were a lot of turns. With minimal sleep I figured I would do my best on the turbo.

I researched and found out that the Tempus Fugit route on Zwift was the flattest route I could take. I was told to switch to the TT bike as well, but in all honesty, in the rush to get ready for my first hour, I completely forgot that.

I really only had one goal in mind for this event, and that was to beat the distance I covered in 2019 (which wouldn't be too difficult).

  • A goal: Drive 100 km +
  • Objective B: Beat the distance of 2019

How the 2020 event was different from 2019

With the obvious difference that this was a virtual event - meaning you could ride outdoors, on a turbo, or a mix of the two, there were other slight differences.

Two of the main differences concerned the application of penalties and how the Power Hour could be raced. In terms of penalties, should two riders record races that intersect for any amount of time? Fortunately, our team had very few penalties, but in most cases nothing could be done if you didn't delete the entire trip. I'll cover Power Hour in the next section…

Also, in this virtual event there were no neighbors by the pit door to chat with, share crawler pumps, and get help. The virtual format definitely lacked the sense of camaraderie we had when we were all bombarded with freezing rain and wind in the pits!

Virtual power hour

Choosing who competes in Power Hour is always a difficult task - even more difficult when you've never ridden with your team before. Georgina nominated Sophie for our Power Hour team and I had no problem with that.

I'm not sure we read the rules at that time, but it was allowed to ride more than one person during the hour - which was a change to the rules of the virtual format. This would mean, however, that more than one person would have to be awake.

Sophie takes Power Hour during Timelaps, Printworks, London on October 24, 2020

The Right to Home

After doing my rounds at 12 p.m. on Saturday, at 4:30 p.m. (departure delayed by 4 p.m. after connection difficulties with Zwift), then at 9 p.m., I managed to get back to the hotel for a few hours of sleep in a king-size bed comfortable.

I got up early and early for my next laps at 4am, then my last laps at 8am. After my 4 a.m. tour, I had to take a nap for a few hours on an ottoman to get me through the last hour. It was less the distance and more the start stop and lack of sleep that was happening to me at this point.

After my 8am was over, I returned to the hotel to shower, have breakfast, and collect my things, ready to head back to Printworks to cheer on the rest of the team for their final stints.

Red Bull Timelaps 2020 team statistics

  • Total distance: 474.88 kilometers
  • Power hour distance: 13.92 miles
  • Power hour Premium: 13.92 miles
  • Position: 13th women's team
  • My total distance: 137.39 km (85.37 miles)
  • Driving time: 5 hours 32 minutes
  • Hours of sleep: ~ 4 hours

Tinelaps 2020 Vlog by Georgina, Fitcetera

Check out what my teammates did to make laps around Printworks, London in the video:

It wouldn't have been possible without ...

Now is the time for my thanks for this year's event… I keep it as short and sweet as possible:

  • A massive cry to Fresh fitness food who sent us back for the weekend with enough food and snacks to fuel an army. Not having to think about food was a huge weight on my shoulders and it tasted great was an added bonus.
  • Liv bike (for whom I am an ambassador) for letting me take over their IG account for the event. You can catch up on the highlights here.
  • Giant Loughton for sorting me out with my fuel on the bike and again, listening to me discuss this event, laughing at me, wondering about team tactics… and more!
  • Thanks to Wahoo for the loan of KICKR Smart Turbo Trainer and the KICKR Headwind Smart Fan (and the KICKR climb - but no escalation was desired lol).
  • Last but not least, without a doubt, thanks to Red Bull to sort the place and take care of us throughout the weekend!

Who's back for 2021 then ?!

I had always planned to do 2020 because once you participate you have to participate again to put all of your learning into practice. Being a virtual event, it was very different from previous years, so I think I'm still going to have to do at least one more. more. time.

Also, I will continue to do so to defend a certain diversity. This year there were 114 men's teams versus 14 women's teams (including my team). There were also 65 mixed teams.

I feel like many would have been put off if they felt they had no chance of winning - but you know what? The old cliché of "It's not about winning, it's about participating" is actually perfect.

Are you going to put Red Bull Timelaps 2021 in your diary then? Did you participate this year ?!


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