Chad Tavernia rode over 100 virtual miles on rollers in under five hours without taking a seat to drink or eat and became the first-ever to complete a Virtual No Saddle Century!
On November 22, Chad Tavernia rode 100 miles in under 5 hours to become the first person ever to attempt and complete a Virtual No Saddle century. There was a bit of hype and controversy leading up to the ride, as mentioned in this interview with Chad a few days before the ride, but that didn’t phase him one bit.
Now that Chad has had a few days to process the experience, I thought it an excellent time to ask him about the tremendous accomplishment. The Cycle Jockey had this to say.
The Virtual No-Saddle Century ride is complete, and after taking a few days to process the experience, how would you sum it up?
The ride was very difficult. It was harder than the outdoor ride because on rollers you have the requirement of balancing, as well as no allowance for any coasting. It was a constant turning of the pedals at respectable power output.
How was your preparation in the days and hours leading up to the Virtual No-Saddle Century ride on November 22?
In the few days leading up to the ride, I dialed back my regular training volume to ensure I would be fresh enough to tackle the challenge.
What was your mood, and what thoughts went through your mind in the moments before getting on the pedals?
I went into the ride feeling very motivated to conquer the challenge. In a lot of ways, it felt like lining up on the start line of an important or challenging race or event.
How did you feel mentally and physically as you were warming up and settling into the long effort?
I felt strong in the early miles like I would be able to execute the ride.
How did your feelings change as the ride progressed? If you hit the wall during the ride, when was it, and how did you push through?
Well because my goal was to not stop, the ride became more difficult as every minute passed away. I started the ride with good energy, but the tank slowly began to run dry over the course of the ride. In the last 2 hours, I did have several moments of doubt begin to creep in as to whether or not I could reach the 100-mile mark.
What was the most significant challenge you faced during the ride?
I never stopped turning the pedals from the moment I started riding. And with standing on rollers, I had no option for eating or drinking during the effort. The lack of nutrition did become the number one factor in whether or not I was going to finish the challenge.
Was there ever any doubt that you would achieve your goal, and how did you overcome it mentally?
In the first half “no.” I felt strong and energetic. The last half of the ride really did become quite grueling. I got through it by chunking down the ride. I focused on taking it in 10-mile increments. I remember saying to myself, once you get to mile 90 it is basically over. You can do anything for 10 miles. The last 40 miles were straight refusing to fail!
Did live streaming on your Cycle Jockey Facebook page affect you?
It did help provide some positive energy. Knowing that other people were cheering for me to be able to complete the ride certainly helped motivate me to not give up.
How did you feel mentally and physically as you approached mile 100 and the ride was almost over?
Honestly, I felt very depleted. I was very relieved to hit the 100-mile mark. I was never so thirsty in my life!
What is the first thing you did when you unclipped?
Went to my refrigerator and drank an ice-cold Monster Energy drink.
How did the Virtual No-Saddle Century compare to the outdoor ride you did earlier this year?
It was more difficult. I think mostly due to the fact that it was a constant pedaling effort, with no ability at all to coast.
How did it compare to the other extreme cycling challenges and goals you have achieved?
I would have to say this was the hardest ride I ever completed.
Would you do it again?
I would, but would have to have some way to add to my motivation. For example, if someone ever rode that Zwift course with no saddle faster than I did, I would likely get enough motivation to attempt to better my time.
Are you surprised by the Virtual No-Saddle Century's overwhelming interest, and what is the reason for the support you received?
I sort of am. But then again, how often do you see someone riding so long with no saddle on the bike. I think the uniqueness of the achievement is what leads to the interest in it. I think people have supported it because there really hasn’t ever been anyone to my knowledge to have the desire to tackle it before.
What do you say to the individuals who criticized your motivation and for publicizing the attempt and who felt the Virtual No-Saddle century was ridiculous and unnecessary?
There are a lot of people who attempt and complete unusual challenges. Why are any of those attempted? Because some people, myself included, like to push the capabilities of human endurance and push themselves to new limits.
Why DO you do it?
Because I love to challenge myself. And nothing motivates me more than someone telling me I cannot achieve something. If even one person is positively impacted it makes it all worthwhile!
What is the next on the list of challenges for Chad Tavenia - the Cycle Jockey?
I haven’t totally committed as of yet, but in July 2022, don’t be surprised if you hear about some weirdo who rode an outdoor double century with no saddle.
I can’t wait to talk to you then. Thank you, Chad!
Any suggestions for Chad’s next challenge?
Comment below! Chad and the rest of your fellow virtual cyclists want to know.
To learn more about Chad and the Virtual No Saddle Century challenge check out this interview with Chad conducted a few days before the big ride!
Semi-retired as owner and director of his private Orthopedic Physical Therapy practice after over 20 years, Chris is blessed with the freedom to pursue his passion for virtual cycling and writing. On a continual quest to give back to his bike for all the rewarding experiences and relationships it has provided him, he created a non-profit. Chris is committed to helping others with his bike through its work and the pages of his site.
In the summer of 2022, he rode 3,900 miles from San Francisco to New York to support the charity he founded, TheDIRTDadFund. His “Gain Cave” resides on the North Fork of Long Island, where he lives with his beautiful wife and is proud of his two independent children.
You will read him promoting his passion on the pages of Cycling Weekly, Cycling News, road.cc, Zwift Insider, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!