Redbull timelaps 2020 – virtual edition

RedBull timelaps 2020

Written by Olivier Salmon

November 5, 2020

As 2020 continued to reserve its surprises, and so many events being cancelled or postponed, I had little hope the Red Bull Timelaps 2020 would go ahead. If lucky, the most I was expecting was for a virtual event, following in the footsteps of iconic events like the Leeds triathlon, the IronMan series and the 40th London Marathon.

Then finally, it was confirmed. Red Bull Timelaps would be going ahead in 2020 as a virtual event. Having done the 2019 event and slept in my car’s boot, faced cold, rain and punctures, I, somehow enjoyed the decision to go virtual. And saw this as an opportunity to save some money and be part of something that might never happen again.


RedBull timelaps 2020


Red Bull timelaps is a 25 hours event where you can drink as many energy drinks as you possibly can. It is also known as the world’s longest one-day cycling race. Starting at 12pm on Saturday and ending at 12pm on Sunday, teams of four riders aim to clock up as many miles as possible in a relay format. At 2 am (BST) the clocks go back to 1 am (GMT) creating an additional hour known as the Power Hour with the distance ridden being doubled.


Being virtual, we didn’t bother taking any selfies. So, from left to right, some random photos taken from our WhatsApp group during the event:

  • 🇬🇧 Mark
  • 🇮🇹 Andrea
  • 🇵🇱 Liam
  • 🇫🇷 Olivier

I don’t think we could have gone more cosmopolite. I don’t think we could have done better on the team name either, BTS bumblebees. Or maybe we could have?


Considering most of my events have been cancelled this year, training has been like a roller coaster, without fun. I had a quick chat with my coach, and we decided to do less running two weeks before the event and do a bit more cycling.


Zwift level 35


My original plan was to use the event to finally get The PRL Full badge on Zwift by riding a single leg of 6h15mn, but we went for a different strategy. We decided we will all do two legs: 3h15mn and 3h00. The weather conditions didn’t look good for a human being, so we all agreed to use Zwift; with some variations. I’m not a planner. And went full-on and rode solo for most of it, while my teammate planned to join Zwift events and ride in groups saving some Watts and cycling faster.

To avoid the other teams spying on us – but mainly to avoid any penalties – we decided to go with a WhatsApp group for our communication. With the previous rider posting a go when his data are available on Strava.


I didn’t have any strategy. Just go out in the garage – also known as the pain cave – and cycle. Looking back, that was stupid. But I’ve learned from my mistake, so my strategy changed, and on the second bike leg, I took it easy on the first hour, riding with a few insomniacs. Then pushed hard on the Power Hour to clock as many kilometres as possible, and move into survival mode for my last hour between 2 and 3 am after 5h15mn cycling … I was in pieces and stopped 5 minutes before the end.

I remember reading a book, it might have been To The Finish Line by Chrissie Wellington which I highly recommend. She advised to always set three goals pre-race. And review them post-race. I often forget to do that. For this one, it was pretty straightforward:

  1. Finish it
  2. Give everything I can on the power hour
  3. Ride the 6h15mn over 30km/h average
Red Bull timelaps lead


Despite a brilliant start and an early lead, the competition went fierce and we lost some grip over time. But we gave it our best, and came 34th in the male category and an honourable 53rd overall

Total Distance: 596.48 miles
Andrea (Sat 12 – 3:15 pm & Sun 3 – 6 am): 143.29 miles
Mark (Sat 3:15 – 6:30 pm & Sun 6 – 9 am): 156.48 miles
Olivier (Sat 6:30 – 9:45 pm & Sun 1 – 3 am): 142.96 miles (power hour 25.01 miles)
Liam (Sat 9:45 pm – Sun 1 am & Sun 9am – 12 pm): 128.76 miles (71.33 miles indoors, 57.43 miles outdoors)


In England, there is a saying “third time lucky”. In France, it’s different (yeah, as usual). It’s “Jamais deux sans trois“. Which basically means I will have to do it a third time.

But maybe as a mixed team for a change and balance things up. This year there were 114 All Male teams vs 14 All Female teams and 65 Mixed teams.

Gonna put Red Bull Timelaps 2021 in your diary then? Did you take part this year?

Comment below!

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