Omar Di Felice - “Crazy Ultra Cyclist”
Pedaling Across Italy… in 30 Hours
Omar Di Felice last month took on his ultra-challenge of his 2015 season -- Race Across Italy. He covered 833km (518miles) with 10,500m (34,448feet) of elevation with extreme climbs and passes in 30 hours and 26 minutes for the victory.
A select group of 44 riders from all over the world took part in the competition. With a bit of time to recover, Di Felice took time to chat with us about his approach to a form of cycling that many cyclists consider a bit crazy, given the training time, weather conditions and distances raced:
- How did you train for this particular race?
After the Paris-Rome nonstop ride (1600 km), in February I had a rest period of 6 days. Then I started a short, but intense week of hard training. I worked a lot with the data I from my Quarq Power Meter. The main focus was to recover after the tough ride from Paris to Rome and increase my watts per kilo, then I went in the Abruzzo area to study the route and the climb different climbs.
- Is Race Across Italy 2015 the most important victory in your career?
I've won other ultra-cycling races before this one, but this is the first time I was able to take the first position from the start. Certainly this is one of the most solid performances I've ever done so far.
- How did you feel after the race?
I was very happy. It’s a big satisfaction. During my training and the route reconnaissance before the race, I had to face terrible weather conditions. During those days I dreamt a lot about how it would be to win, which helped me. When you realize a dream you can only be proud of your work, which I am.
- What do you think about when you are on your bike for more than 30 hours?
I think only about all sacrifices that I have done to be here, how much I love cycling and going beyond my limits over and over…
- What was the turning point in the race for you?
I knew that I would have to control the race and my competitors during the first half of the race, and I did. Then, at the end of the night when I saw the sun starting to shine over the mountains in the Abruzzo/Molise area, I realized that I would have to push harder, and I did my best to overcome the competition. I’m a climber and I love when I’m able to push hard on long mountain passes.
- What are you focuses now?
I will ride “Le Raid Provence Extreme” (Ultra-cycling race, 585 km going over Mont Ventoux!). I won the 2014 edition in the “Solo with a support car category” and now I will try to win the “Solo unsupported mode” category to become the first ultra cyclist able to win this race in both categories. The start date is (Friday) May 15. In June I will do the “Race Across the Alps” (533 km non-stop race), then the “Haute Route - Pyrenees” to train for my ultimate goal of the year: “Ultra-cycling Dolomitica” that will nominate the “Italian Ultra-cycling Champion.” With the Race Across Italy victory, I’m currently in first overall position.
- What do you like about your Force 22 groupset?
I love the Force 22 groupset for his robustness during such extreme and tough training and races. After 30 hours of riding the only thing I had to take care of was my body! Also WiFLi [Wider-Faster-Lighter: compact crankset with 11-32 cassette] is perfect for ultra-cycling, you can climb anything without loosing energy and watts.
- Ultra Cycling. Isn’t it crazy?
What would be a life without a lot of craziness? I think that the perfect performance is the right mix of craziness and rationality.
Congrats and Good luck for your next challenges!
Follow Omar’s adventures on Omar and SRAM’s social media outlets:
Twitter and Instagram: @sramroad & @omardifelice
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