Sanz misses mark in 24-hour pilgrimage

By Hernan Alvarez

Randonneur Julian Sanz missed his goal of completing the 745-kilometer solo challenge, the Camino de Santiago, in 24 hours earlier this month. The Spaniard set a time of 27 hours on April 6th on his second attempt at the event, starting in Roncesvalles at 10am on April 5th, and finishing in Santiago de Compostela at 1pm the next day. His route included Pamplona, Logrono, Burgos and Ponferrada and finished where the famous apostle Santiago stopped centuries ago.

"I thought a 24-hour time would be showy, a marketing thing, as Camino de Santiago is known to so many people," said Sanz to Cyclingnews. "24 hours was a good, round figure. After it was done and considering the good weather conditions, I now know it is very complicated to do it in 24 hours," Sanz admitted. "At least for me. I think I am able to do it in 26 hours but it is really difficult in 24 hours for me. It is not a failure; it is a reality."

Sanz had planned to complete the event without a single minute of sleep during his ride, but he had to stop for a quick 10 minutes nap as exhaustion overcame him. "I don't normally suffer sleep attacks in 24 hours. If I suffer them, I can control them and overcome them. But not this time. I had to stop 10 minutes, sleep 10 minutes. It is usual in our specialty to sleep for 10 minutes; I fixed the problem with that."

Sanz won the last Tour Ultime in 11 days, 17 hours and 27 minutes for the 4,183.4 kilometers. Now he is aiming to other extremely difficult goals. He will try to beat the 24-hour record in a completely flat 25-km circuit around Vitoria's (Spain) airport on May 3rd. Italy's Orlando Borini is the world record holder as he rode 870 amazing kilometers. "I will try to get the mark," said the Spaniard. Borini took the record on June 23, 2007 bettering Slovenia's Jure Robic by 30 kilometers.

Sanz will also participate in the Race Across America that starts on June 8. Sanz thinks that "every rider who finishes it is a winner because he was able to overcome all the obstacles that the race has."

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