On November 26, 2022, ultra-endurance virtual cyclist Saverio Addante rode 1,000 km and climbed 10,000 vertical meters in under 28 hours. It wasn’t the first time and won’t be the last.
The virtual cycling community is often one for extremes. Something about the platform lends itself to pushing the limits of endurance. It could be the convenience void of elements or the safety of cycling in the comfort of your home. Or the nurturing support of cycling colleagues spread across the globe.
Saverio Addante is extreme. He has logged over 115,000 Zwift km and climbed over 800,000 m Saverio has 14 vEverestings to his credit, including 305 reps of Innsbruck’s Leg Snapper and 500 km of the Volcano Circuit.
Saverio completed two non-stop 1,000 km rides to raise funds to support a friend and the Italian Red Cross (of which he is a volunteer). He is a Team Italy and USMES (United States Military Endurance Sport) ride leader and the impetus behind the Sunday “Team Italy Endurance.”
As you may have guessed, the ride isn’t your classic Zwift group ride. Saverio urges the attendees to join him in Gran Fondo-type challenges, like the PRL Full and 2.5 times around the Four Horsemen.
Saverio’s extraordinarily exceptional will of endurance is exceeded only by his kindness and willingness to lift up his fellow cyclists. Always one for a helpful word of advice or recipe ideas.
He celebrated Level 60 and his 5-year Zwiftaversary on November 26, 2022, with a challenge that would cause even the most diehard extremists to take notice. Including world-renowned ultra-cyclist Chris Hopkinson, fresh off his WUCA (World Ultra Cycling Association) 24hr Title, who joined Saverio for half a day in the Big Foothills.
A 1,000 km and 10,000 vertical meters Virtual Everesting Roam on Zwift. It was his second, and he did the behemoth in under 28 hours. Only his own words can do it justice. Honored, here’s Saverio Addante.
I chose as Pace Partner my “friend” Coco Cadence, with whom I’ve already shared my last two 1,000km rides. The most suitable route Coco takes to complete the Everesting Roam of 1000km 10000mt ascent is the Big Foot Hills of 67.5km 700m to be covered about 15 times.
The expected pace is around 2.7wk on average, but the most significant difficulty this time is the hilly route which means that there are many changes of pace and no longer a steady ride like the one done on Tempus Fugit.
The other difficulty of this route is that the only place to take a break is at the beginning of the volcano’s ascent. From the arch near the banner, you have about 15 minutes for the Coco group to climb the volcano and return and rejoin me. I can make each break no earlier than about 2 hours, the time necessary for the group to complete the tour.
Picking a Date
From the route calendar, we identify a single date, Saturday, November 26th, when Coco is on Big Foot Hills. The expected pedaling time from the previous tests was around 30 hours plus breaks, trying to cover as many km as possible with the group. We arrive on the fateful day of departure.
The Big Day Arrives
I’m not 100%. I have had an annoying sore throat for a few days, but I decide to try anyway. The planned departure was around 8, and naturally, I woke up 2 hours earlier than expected.
I have breakfast with a slice of panettone and orange juice (an Italian Christmas dessert). I didn’t drink coffee for two days because I wanted to keep the bonus for the night, usually the most challenging moment of the ride.
At 6.30 am, I’m on the saddle, and I start pedaling and live streaming on my Twitch channel and Facebook. I was also vocally connected on a dedicated Discord channel where anyone could join and chat with me. When I think about reading messages, talking, and answering questions, I definitely use 10% of my energy for the social part. In return, I get a huge drive and mental strength that helps me always stay on top and commit myself as much as possible.
One KM and One Meter at a Time
The odometer shows a few dozen km. As for the other times, when there is a 1000km high wall to face, I try not to think about it and go on, km after km. But this time, the ascent meters are another obstacle to overcome. I love climbs, but 10,000m is a lot, especially in this context.
Friends Make All the Difference
Luckily, there are many friends with me. Some will accompany me for a short time, and others have traveled several hundred kilometers to share the moment. There are also many people cheering me on from various social networks, asking me questions, always keeping me busy answering and not thinking about how long the ride is to reach the finish line.
For the nutrition part, I prepared the usual food I usually eat. As I often tell those who participate in my endurance rides, never experiment during a long ride to avoid surprises, and always try to eat the stuff you know and, if possible, you like.
One part is sweet, and the other is salty, another little trick learned over the years. Too sweet in the long run makes you nauseous. It is also essential to provide a good protein intake both from the food I will eat and also using BBCA supplements which help recovery and muscle catabolism.
I try to eat about 40/50g of carbohydrates every hour and drink about 400/500 ml water per hour. I don’t sweat too much with the fan always on me. I can maintain a suitable temperature that cools my body at the right point.
Day One is Done
Between one chat and another and replying to the various messages, the kilometers go by. The first day is about to end, and the part I fear most, the night, is about to begin. I’m used to pedaling in the dark. My standard training time during the week is 4/4.30am. That doesn’t make it easier mentally or physically now.
Half Way—Finish Line is Approaching?
The kilometers begin to become many, and after 13h45 minutes of pedaling, I am halfway. My mind begins to relax, and I feel the finish line slowly approaching. I don’t know how I do it, but I pedal, eat, drink, chat and talk without stopping.
Above all, I keep the Coco group even though there are few people throughout the night, and it gets harder to stay awake. Legs ok, neck and arms a little sore but ok, bottom ok, we carry on.
Morning Arrives, and Fear is Gone
Almost without realizing it, between one thing and another, 4 am had already arrived, and the part I feared the most passed without problems. I can’t believe how happy it made me, even though I prepared myself to cope with the situation.
I had planned to take a shower and a longer break if the situation arose. I didn’t need it.
The only caffeine I took in the four days was three small Pocket Coffee chocolates. By now, I’m very hungry, but physically I still feel good. The watts are there, and even if I’m not as brilliant as at the beginning, I keep the group. I’m almost always behind, and I’m starting to struggle.
At 6.30 am, after 24 hours, I covered 800km and more than 8,000 meters in altitude. Only 200 and 2000m to go, I try to fool my brain by thinking about that—another little trick to feel less tired. The fatigue is obvious and makes itself felt.
Many people write to me, encourage me, and join in voice chat. I keep answering everyone and thanking them, but at the same time, I try to stay focused on the goal. It’s very close. At the 700km mark, I take a 10-minute break.
Above all, I don’t want to be a hero or make a wrong decision. Now’s an excellent opportunity to take off my shoes, relax my feet, rinse my face, and start again.
At 900 km, most of Coco’s group are all friends who ride to support me. It’s amazing. I see that they are concerned. They ask me how I am, and as soon as I drop a little, they slow down and give me some draft so I don’t get tired.
The Best and Hardest Part
The best part of the ride was the most challenging part, the last 70km. I fell away from the group and couldn’t get back. Immediately my friends left the group and came to support me. In the end, it went well because I was in a supergroup that kept to my pace, and one km at a time, I managed to cross the desired goal of 1000KM 10000Mt altitude.
My second Virtual Everesting Roam in 27 hours and 54 minutes
I am incredulous about what we did, but above all, of how it went. I can’t thank those who supported me one by one. There are many of you, and I would feel wrong to omit someone. I sincerely thank everyone, and I limit myself to writing my two sentences which I repeat to everyone, especially those entering the world of Endurance for the first time.
Mind leads always our legs!
Endurance is for everyone!
What's next, Saverio?
“I am thinking for the next year to ride 250 laps of the Volcano, another 1,000 km, but this is a story for a different day,” is what he said. Thank you for sharing the story this day of your epic ride. Keep having your mind lead your legs!
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, Endurance.biz, and Bicycling. Chris is co-host of The Virtual Velo Podcast, too!