A Windsor cyclist biked for more than 87 hours on just seven hours of sleep this August.
Darcy Haggith was just one of almost 7,000 riders who took part in 'Paris Brest Paris,' a 1,200 kilometre ride that spans Paris, France to Brest and then back to Paris again.
As the oldest cycling event in the world, Paris Brest Paris takes place every four years and has grown since its inception in 1891.
"My group started at 6:15 p.m. on a Sunday evening," said Haggith. "Then we rode basically continuously, with a little bit of sleep here and there until we were done on Thursday."
Haggith's final time ended up being 87 hours and 41 minutes.
Up until about the 1940s, the event was considered a race, but now it's "just a race against time" said Haggith.
"We all kind of call it a race, but it's not really," said Haggith. "The goal is just to finish in under 90 hours."
According to Haggith, about 25 per cent of participants dropped out of the event.
Haggith's average moving time was about 25 kilometres per hour, riding on an endurance road bike.
"You just take sleep when you can get it," said Haggith about sleeping for just seven hours during the event.
Haggith said he never felt unsafe — if he got the least bit drowsy he would just pull over and sleep on the side of the road.
"The management of sleep, that was a bit challenging," said Haggith. "The way the mind slows down ... we really become impaired."
The other thing Haggith wasn't expecting was the cold.
"I looked at the forecast before I left and it said it was going to be a low of 11 C," said Haggith. "It turned out to be between zero and 5 degrees. I didn't have the appropriate headwear or gloves."
Haggith said there we "dark moments" but for him, that's what makes the event excellent.
"You're exploring your outer limits and finding out what's really possible."
According to Haggith the riders did 11 kilometres of riding — in elevation.
"The longest climb was about three or four kilometres in length," said Haggith. "Not like Essex County."
French community embraces the event
There's no single thing that Haggith can point to as his favourite moment, but he said the French community's embrace of the event stands out to him.
"It could be 3-o-clock in the morning and you would have people out at the end of their laneways with tables and tents set up, feeding us," said Haggith. "Just out of the kindness of their hearts."
Haggith said there's nothing like hot coffee in the middle of the night.
"Never a honk," said Haggith. "Sometimes in Essex County we're not always met with kindness. It's completely opposite there."
He plans to ride the event again in 2023 when it's offered again.