Appsbroker is proud to support a major 24hr world record attempt later this year by James MacDonald, and cycling world record holder and Google Customer Engineer. But what exactly is involved in this day-long test of endurance? And how can technology, in particular Google Cloud, push James beyond the mental and physical barriers to achieve success? Read on to find out more.

What’s the story behind this world record attempt?

In July 2021, when venues started opening up again after COVID restrictions, James shared his ambition to repeat an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the furthest distance travelled by cycling in 24 hours on an indoor track. The issue wasn’t the will, the appetite, the fitness or time, it was the money needed to cover costs associated with travel, logistics and venue hire. Not only that, but if possible, to make a donation to the Marie Curie Foundation in memory of former Google colleague Steve Thompson.

Everyone working on this extraordinary project is giving up their time to help James reach his goal, including the data team at Appsbroker that will create a dynamic data-driven dashboard, giving James a clear overview of his fitness and performance from multiple sources during training and on the big day.

MacDonald is being put through his paces at the Silverstone wind tunnel. Credit: James MacDonald

What technology is being used?

James wears various device data that records his blood sugar levels, performance and, in the case of an energy management system produced by Supersapiens, his glucose data. The popularity of wearable technology has grown significantly over the last decade, to the point where James can now see whether or not he’s eating enough and manage his energy input on the move by looking at his computer or a watch.

One of the devices is a Whoop band that aids recovery by checking whether James is sleeping properly and tracks heart rate variability, which is a measure of recovery. But whilst these devices are all key components in the optimisation of both training and recovery, disparate data from multiple touch points presents its own challenges:

How is Appsbroker driving extraordinary change?

Together with Google Cloud, Appsbroker is creating a dynamic dashboard, combining at least three data sources together in one place. Using Google tech, Looker and Machine Learning will allow James and his team to easily identify trends that could influence his performance. The result should be an improved recovery formula, leveraging deeper insight for those marginal but all-important gains.

At the moment, James doesn’t know why certain rides were better than others. It could be that source isn’t in the data, but what he can do is anecdotally identify and conclude that the variable was, let’s say, a hill. What we’re doing is bringing multiple sources of information to him and his coach in a single place, which allows them to look for patterns and make smarter decisions as a result. They can then adjust training patterns to be in a much better place to hopefully complete what is an extremely difficult challenge.

Matt Penton

Head of Data and Analytics at Appsbroker

Appsbroker also has access to historic device and performance data that can be backfilled for analysis and combined with DSE (Density of Science Engineering) services which can be switched on to reveal what training is working best.

In the build-up to the World Record attempt itself, Appsbroker and Google Cloud will look to work on different scenarios and model planning. Big Query is a great solution to achieve results in a short space of time and play everything out with only a handful of input parameters. 

Can data and ML also play a part on the day itself?

Streaming live data sources is easy with Google Cloud. As James takes to the track in a bid to break the Guinness World Record for the furthest distance cycled in an indoor velodrome in 24 hours, the focus will shift away from the slow data and historic analysis and move more towards the live data coming in from the velodrome. 

With planning still underway, there is the possibility of displaying near real-time information with minimal lag or creating an artificial lag so it can be processed more efficiently by the team. Either way, this data can be made available to the coach as an additional feed mixed in with James’ devices to make ingesting and displaying insights a relatively simple task.

What World Record does James MacDonald currently hold?

In September 2017, James clinched World Bike Speed Record for the fastest solo ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End and back again. He broke the original record by three hours, reaching John O’Groats – covering 2,711km – in a time of 5 days 18 hours and 3 minutes. In December 2021, James secured the WUCA World Record for the fastest 100 km cycled at an indoor velodrome with a time of 2:19:19.69 time. He also broke the “fastest” and existing 18-49 age group, a 2017 record previously set by Christoph Strasser, for which James earned a Guinness World Record.

A closer look at the home-based training facility in Scotland. Credit: James MacDonald

Find out more

Appsbroker is one of the largest Google Cloud-only MSPs in EMEA, delivering extraordinary transformations with GCP and Workspace. To learn more about how data can drive growth and change for your business, click here.

Listen to our podcast series The Inside Track on Spotify to hear more from James and our data team. Visit our YouTube channel and LinkedIn page for regular updates ahead of this incredible World Record attempt.