Triathlete Pascal Pich accumulates miles for a good cause while not going anywhere fast

SAVIGNARGUES (France): confined to his small ultra triathlete living room Pascal Pich It is still going far in a good cause. The 56 year old French He is a five-time ultra-triathlon world champion in which athletes can swim 3.8 kilometers, cover 180 kilometers and finish running a marathon.

While in confinement due to coronavirus Pandemic has traveled 8,000 kilometers (4,970 miles) on a stationary bicycle on wheels. His goal, while pedaling like crazy, is to raise money to make life easier for healthcare workers.

His program has included a return to an old favorite, the Tour de France. He once toured the Tour route in eight days and eight nights. This time he started covering the equivalent of the 21 stages in 14 days without moving from his home in Savignargues, 30 kilometers from Nimes, in the south of France.

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The mileage is pretty monstrous, but it's nothing exceptional. The exceptional thing is to do it alone and locked up, Pich told AFP. The idea is to simply pedal.

It is published on social networks every day and one of its sponsors agreed to contribute money in exchange for likes. They are using the funds to buy equipment such as coffee machines, microwaves, and ping-pong tables for healthcare workers.

One hundred machines were delivered to medical personnel at 28 different hospitals, says Pich.

At the beginning of the official closure in France, Pich looked for ways to help those on the front line in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Everyone does what they want to do, and I want to pedal, so I pedal, he said. I don't care what other people think! It's so stupid to be sitting in your living room in front of the television pushing back the beers.

After covering the 3,471 km of the 21-stage Tour without leaving home, a brief recovery week was allowed. He then got back on his stationary bike for 54 hours of running for six days, the equivalent of a week's work for doctors.

More recently, beginning April 24, he began working on what he called 3x8 shifts to reflect medical teams. That means eight hours of pedaling, eight hours of recovery.

He was aiming for 88 hours of cycling in seven days, covering between 250 km and 320 km in each eight-hour session.

In total, he will have traveled 8,000 km, only in his small living room with his only view of the outside world, the balcony where his sportswear hangs to dry.

I am completely alone in the apartment. It is really difficult to manage because I am locked in a room of about 14 square meters. There is very little air, says Pich, whose world records include the distance traveled in six days by a stationary bike (3,165 km), which he established in May 2018.

It is surrounded by electronic screens: a huge timer, like those used in major sporting events, a laptop, and a TV screen where you can watch movies.

I hope this is the last challenge for everyone, he said. Because I'm starting to burn a little bit, because it will mean we've made a little progress with this virus. And that the medical staff is a little more relaxed.