Lots of people (okay, my Mom and Dad) have been asking for a link to the video of my two record attempts. So here you go Mom.
There have also been a couple of article on the GU website and one on Slowtwitch. I’m including the links below. And please scroll down far enough to see the list of records set by our group. They were an impressive group.
One of the things I had considered doing in Mexico was to take a crack at the World Record for the 2km Individual Pursuit. The record was set by Gary Mandy in October, 2016 at the Master’s World Championships in Manchester, England. His record was 2:19.395. To try and beat that I set a schedule that called for an opening lap in 23 seconds, followed by 11 laps at 16.5 seconds for a total of 1:18.5. I have very limited experience in the 2km. This would be my second one ever. But I do know that it’s a pretty violent effort. It’s much closer to a sprinter type of an event than the 4km pursuit (elites) or even the 3km pursuit (younger masters groups). I liken it to the 800 meter running race in the track. My point being that a schedule and pacing for this event is somewhat notional. There isn’t much time to settle in. The schedule is useful in the case where maybe my second lap was a low 15 second lap. I’d know to ease up just a bit. Or if it was 17 seconds I’d know I need to dig in harder. But this is not an event where there is much time to settle into your pace.
For this event you want it as hot as possible to minimize the air density. I ended up making my attempt at about 4:15pm when it was about 95 degrees in the velodrome. I warmed up for about 15-20 minutes on the rollers and then went out to do some laps on the track to get a feel for what a 16.5 second lap felt like. Back on the rollers for another 5-10 minutes and it was time to give it a go.
There really isn’t a whole lot to say about the attempt itself. Considering my relative lack of experience with the starting gate I think I actually did a really good job of getting off the blocks and my opening lap was right on schedule. Rob was calling splits and each lap seemed right on schedule as far as I could tell. It’s kind of hard to hear splits when an aero helmet on. With three laps to go it started getting pretty horrible and I think I was feeling the effects of my hour from the previous evening. But it’s only three laps so you just suck it up and keep going. The last lap was kind of a blur of suffering and heavy breathing. And then it was over. I didn’t think I had done it, but when I came by the start/finish line Chris was cheering and smiling so I figured I had done it. My final time was 2:18:052 so I took a bit more than a second off of the record. That made me very happy of course and now I think I have a reasonable shot at winning to 2km at worlds in October. I don’t necessarily think that this record makes me the favorite by any means. It’s hard to compare times between Aguascalientes and Manchester. But I am optimistic. Also, Rob tells me that my opening kilometer is a new national record for my age group. My time was 1:12, which I think is pretty soft. It was only a record because nobody had bothered to set/submit one to USA Cycling before.
Afterwards we packed up our bikes and went out to a celebratory dinner with the whole group. All told there were 16 records set, most of them world records. Then to bed for our 2:30 wake up call for the trip home.
Now that I’m home it’s time to change things up and prepare to defend my national hill climb championship up Pikes Peak on August 12th. Long rides, LOTS of climbing and some dieting are in my future for the next couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to the change and the challenge.
After months and months of preparation yesterday was finally the big day.
I went to the velodrome in the morning to run splits for my team mate Dan Bryant as he attempted to break Kent Bostick’s 45-49 record of 49.361km. Unfortunately he fell short. I think that Dan has the power to break the record as he averaged over 380 watts at 6,200′ above sea level! He just needs I more time on a steep 250 meter track to prepare.
After that I took an Uber back to the hotel and basically spent the next 5-6 hours eating and sitting around resting. The velodrome temperatures indicated that a good start time would probably be between 8 and 8:30 pm. We headed over at about 7, checked the temperature and I started getting ready. I was kind of nervous… I spent about 10 minutes on the rollers we had set up in the tunnel to the velodrome (much cooler down there). After that I got up on the track and did maybe 3-5 km on the track with some race pace laps and pulled off. Time to get on with it!
I needed to beat 47.773km to break the record. I felt like I could do 49.5km and that is what I set my schedule to. That called for about a 24 second opening lap and then 18.1 second laps. BTW, on the live stream, the timing data was based on the old record, not the schedule I was working with.
I had a good first lap and then it took a while to settle into my goal pace. Probably about 2km worth of sub 18 second laps to finally get it right. Then I rode around in circles for a really long time… For the first half I think I did a good job of keeping on schedule. Lots of 18.1’s and a few 18.2’s. I also did a pretty good job of riding the best, shortest line to minimize riding extra distance that I got no credit for. I had a few oopsie moments where I went wide or tagged a sponge, but not too bad.
Through 30 minutes I was pretty much right on schedule at 49.5 kph.
Photo: Craig Huffman / Craig Huffman Photography
After 30 minutes it kind of started getting hard. I was seeing more than the occasional split in the 18.3, 18.4, 18.5 range. At first a few, and then more and more. I also had a few more oopsie moments. Basically no sponge was safe. 🙂 Every 5 minutes Dan would hold up a white board that told me how many minutes I had done and my average speed so far. At I believe 35 minutes my average speed on the board dipped down to 49.4 kph. Besides breaking my age group record I REALLY wanted to also beat Bostick’s mark to have the fastest hour record of any of the master’s age groups. One of my thoughts upon seeing the board at 35 minutes was, “are they rounding”. And if so, did they get to 49.4 by rounding down (okay) or rounding up (not good). I wanted to telepathically tell them to give me at least two decimal places next time so I’d know, but then I probably hit a sponge and figured I needed to concentrate more on the task at hand. I was either going to be able to hold on or not and knowing the exact speed so far wasn’t going to change that.
At about 40 minutes I started counting laps each time they put the board up. I figured it would probably be somewhere around 17 laps or so per 5 minutes. That helped me break what I had left down into bite sized chunks. Kind of like what I do with my 2×20′ workouts on the trainer. In 5 minutes my life would improve, not because I got a break, but because I’d see a board that told me I had 5 minutes less left to go.
During the last 15 minutes or so I had more trouble holding my most aero position. That position involves holding only the tip of my aero bars with just a couple of fingers so that I can stretch out. That was just getting too hard to do well and control so I choked up a bit for more control.
I don’t remember exactly which time check it was, but I finally saw 49.3 kph and figured that unless I could really dig in during the last 5 minutes I was not going to beat Bostick’s mark. I was bummed, but at that point you just do what you can do. One important tip I got from Rob Van Houweling is that it’s a bad idea to fight hard to hold on to a pace that you’re fading from. It’s one thing if you just have a slow lap to speed up and get back on pace. But if you’re slowing fading off of your goal you’re only going to cause more damage by trying to rally.
This looks like what the last 15 minutes felt like.
This is starting to hurt… Photo: Craig Huffman / Craig Huffman Photography
Another thing I did earlier in the hour was to work the corners and float the straights. With the steep 250 meter track your center of gravity takes a significantly shorter line through the corner than your wheels. The wheels want to accelerate. By putting in a bit of effort you can pick up some speed. Then when you hit the straight it’s harder to hold that so you just float it a bit. If you look at the enclosed power file you can see that every single lap has two cadence blips that represent the turns. My cadence generally fluctuated by about 4 or 5 rpm twice each lap. Towards the end of the ride though it was too much work and concentration to focus on doing that. I was just trying to hold on and ride a good line in the corners to minimize the distance over 250 meters that I actually traveled each lap. FYI, I’m told that the difference between riding exactly on the black line vs. riding in the middle of the sprinters lane is about .1 seconds per lap. That really adds up over 196 and change laps.
At 5 minutes to go I went pretty much all in. That doesn’t mean my speed went up, just that it stopped dropping. 🙂 I saw lap 195 and was hoping to see 196 before I got the bell. (They ring the bell when you’ve got less than your average lap time left to go. So if I saw 196 before the bell, that meant I’d get at least 197 and change. Alas, they rang the bell at 196 and then blew the whistle which signified the end of my ride. You need to continue on at full speed to complete the lap as your final distance is calculated as a ratio of the time from the start of that lap to the bell divided by the total lap time. i.e. if you hit the line at 59:51 and rode an 18 second lap you’d get credit for 125 meters. (9/18 * 250). But if you hit the line at 59:51 and they blew the whistle when you were half way around and you sat up and cruised in for a 27 second lap you’d only get credit for (9/27 * 250) meters. Even though you were at 125 meters when it blew.
I was very happy when it ended. Happy because I had broken the record by a lot. But also happy because it stopped hurting! So much at least.
The official distance was calculated as 49.121 km, breaking the old mark by 1.348 kilometers.
After that was the looong wait to pee for the Mexican Anti Doping Agency. After probably about 6 bottles of water and close to two hours I was able to produce my sample and got back to the hotel at close to midnight.
I feel very thankful for the support I’ve received from my team mate Chris Ott and his company Creative Blue for organizing this whole thing and the tremendous support from GU, BMC, Pearl Izumi and Inside Tracker to get us to this point and help me fulfill this long time goal.
Next up, a crack at the 2km IP record for my age group this afternoon. Because… Why not, I’m already here, right?
Today is the big day. This morning Dan will make his attempt on the 45-49 record at around 10am central time. I will go this evening at around 7:30pm. The timing of the attempts is all based on conditions in the velodrome. It is not air conditioned so it starts out cool in the morning and gets quite hot in the middle of the day before cooling off again. Picking your start time is kind of a Goldilocks thing. The warmer it is, the less dense the air and the faster you’ll go. Until warm is too warm and it affects your performance. The sweet spot is probably around 80 degrees. We have a few people here who are making attempts at shorter records like the flying 200m, 500m, kilometer, 2km pursuit and 3km pursuit. For those attempts they want it as warm as possible for the least air density as the races are too short to worry about overheating. In other words, it’s a long day at the velodrome for the officials!
Thursday was our first day on the track. I’ve haven’t been on a steep 250 meter track since 1999. After a few laps of “don’t die, don’t die, don’t die” I settled in and it was fine. After doing some laps with the 808 front I switched to the front disk wheel. Though I did a few laps with the front disk at Hellyer on a calm morning, I basically have no experience riding a front disk in the aerobars. But again, after a lap or two I didn’t even notice it.
Here is a short GoPro clip from the bike for some 50.5kph laps.
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I did a couple of efforts at race pace. My expectation coming in was to ride something like 17.8 second laps for about 50.5 kph. I had some issues in my efforts going out too hot and not feeling like I could hold my pace for an hour. I started with a 53×14. That seemed kind of big.
To better explain how the gears feel, I need to explain how an effort feels on a steep 250 meter track. Going into the corner at speed you are leaning over and your center of gravity is basically taking a short cut and you speed up a bit to compensate, then when you hit the straight away it feels like more of an effort to stay on top of the gear. For me at least, staying on top of the gear is very important. If I ride 50km, that’s 200 laps. 200 laps is 400 turns, which is 400 times into the straight away and working to get on top of the gear. If I’m slightly over geared those 400 accelerations will take their toll and I won’t be able to hold the pace towards the end.
So, in the 53×14 my cadence tended to vary between 104 and 108 each lap. That felt “heavy” to me. I switched to a 52×14 and that felt a LOT better. The catch though is that to go 50 kph will probably give me a cadence that varies between 108 and 112 between the flats and the straights. A 5 minute test effort felt very comfortable at that cadence, but don’t really know if it will be sustainable for an hour.
Basically, right now I wish I had a 52.5 front chain ring. 🙂 If I was an uber trackie I might have more choices. All I’ve got are 52, 53, and 54 rings and 13, 14, 15, and 16 tooth rear cogs. Maybe something like a 49×13…
Anyway, I think I’m going to stick with the 52×15 and go out at 18 second laps and hope I can hit the gas towards the end to get up towards 50.5 km.
Right now I think that 50 km is possible, but less of a sure thing that I thought it might have been. We will know for sure in about 12 hours.
Another thing we did on Friday was make a few test starts using a starting gate. Another first for me. I did three starts and didn’t fall down so I considered it a huge success! 🙂
Check out our Hour Record Facebook page for more information and a link to the live stream of Dan and my attempts.
Also worth noting is that on Friday, Andi Smith set a US Hour record for 50-54 women at 41.472km. She rode a really good race and I was inspired to work on my line after watching her. She did a really good job hugging the black line in the corners which I’ve been less good at. I took some time in the afternoon to work on that and I feel like I’ll do fairly well in that regard.
Also, Molly VanHouweling broke her own world record for 40-44 women with a 47.061. That’s not terribly far from the 47.773 mark that I’m going after! She rode a pretty huge gear. I don’t know off the top of my head, but I’ll try to update later. Something WAY bigger than what I’m going to ride.
Dan and I went in for our final round of performance testing at the UC Davis Sports Performance center in Sacramento. We got DEXA scanned again and tested on the bike.
The one takeaway from the DEXA scan is that my bone density has dropped a bit. That means I’ll be starting some calcium supplements and continue with the weight workouts once we get back from Mexico.
Our on the bike test was different this time. We started out with a metabolic test. This time we kept it short and only went up to our aerobic threshold. Though it never got hard, the data shows that my heart rate and lactate numbers for a given power were lower than last time. So, I’m more fit than I was in March. Yay!
The second part was pretty hard. We did a Maximum Lactate Steady State (MLSS) test. We took my power numbers from the Loyalton TT last month, did a rough conversion for the altitude difference. 315 watts in Loyalton is approximately 340-345 watts at sea level. Judd had me do 3×12 minutes at 330 watts, 340 watts and 350 watts. During those intervals they tested my lactate every 3 minutes. They had me do the 330 and 340 watt steps in one 24 minute block. When that was finished, they had me spin easy until my lactate got down to under 2.0. Then it was back up to 350 watts for 12 minutes. That one kind of hurt. During the 340 step my lactate climbed and then leveled out and even dropped a bit during the last three minutes. For the 350 test my lactate climbed until the end indicating that 350 is not sustainable.
From that data it would appear that my MLSS power is 345 watts. Converting that power output for 6,200’ above sea level tells me that I should be aiming for about 305 watts in Aguascalientes.
My plan is on my first day on the track in Aguascalientes to do some gear testing and do maybe 5’ each at that power in probably a 52×14, 53×14 and 54×14. From that I’ll pick the gear that feels right and do a 20’ effort at race pace. Given the limited time I think that is my best bet for coming up with a solid idea of my best hour pacing. From there I’ll have two days to rest and recover before my schedule hour attempt at approximately 7:30pm central time on Saturday July 15th.
I also had an Inside Tracker blood test on June 30th. I got the results back via email while we were in the lap and was happy to see that all of my markers were in the good zone.
I am tentatively scheduled to go at about 7:30pm Central Time on Saturday, July 15th. Three weeks from today. But who’s counting…
The District/State NCNCA TT Championship is always a goal of mine and this year it served double duty as a good opportunity to put down a Marker for the hour. Loyalton is 5,000′ above sea level which is fairly close to Aguascalientes (6,200′) and the elapsed time (50′ vs. 60′) make it a fairly decent comparison for my power output. Conditions were not that great, it was 45 degrees when I started and windy, but I had a phenomenal day a set a new national 55-59 record in 50:16.
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Normally I use Q-Rings on my road and TT bikes, but for this TT I used a round 53 tooth big ring. The reason being that I will of course use a round ring on my track bike and that oval rings report a higher power number than round due to the way crank based power meters measure power. For more information on that check Tom Anhalt’s blog here.
My average power at Loyalton was 315 watts. Molly Van Houweling’s data suggests about a 3% drop between Loyalton power and Aguascalientes power. Making that calculation and plugging it into the “magic spreadsheet” suggests that I might go 50.8km for the hour. Rob tells me that I actually have to ride the hour while they watch and that submitting a power file and spreadsheet isn’t sufficient for the record so take that number with a grain of salt. 🙂
BTW, it’s a new USA Cycling requirement that you need to be drug tested for national records. On my way home I met the USADA drug tester in Rocklin, CA at the Bass Pro shop for a urine test. The Reno Wheelmen had set up a tent for USADA at the event, but the DCO didn’t arrive and we arranged the Rocklin meet up. Wonder what the other customers thought as the chaperone and I walked into the handicapped stall together for me to give my sample…
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Meanwhile, I’m taking care of some of the logistical issues. Again on the drug testing front, there is a known issue with Clenbuterol being used in livestock in Mexico. A number of people in big events have tested positive due to this. In those cases the root cause was understood, but I do not want to be “that guy”. You know, the one who says “I ate xx and it was contaminated”. Even when it’s true nobody believes “that guy”. To avoid that I am bringing my own protein source with me.
Clenbuterol free chicken
Also on the food front, I’m pretty happy with the new overnight oat and yogurt breakfast that @guenergy has turned me on to, so I’ll be bringing all of the dry ingredients for that in baggies, so that I’ll only need to get yogurt and skim milk once I get there. OCD much?
For the next few weeks I’ll probably do one more track workout, a hard road race and then the district elite pursuit and team pursuit championships the Sunday before I leave. It’s getting close and I’m starting to get excited and nervous.
It’s official. We have a date. I will be making an attempt on 55-59 World Hour Record (okay, “Best Hour Performance”) at the Bicentennial Velodrome in Aguascalientes, Mexico on either July 15th or 16th. We have a group of four athlete’s, Andi Smith (Women’s 50-54), Molly Van Houweling (Women’s 40-44), Dan Bryant (Men’s 45-49) and myself. We will schedule the attempts over two days as the velodrome is not air conditioned and it gets quite hot inside during the day. To maximize distance you want it as warm as you can stand without affecting your performance. Warmer air is less dense. Going when it’s still cool inside could cost you as much as a lap or two. In general there is usually a window each morning and afternoon when the temperature is in the optimal range.
The record I’ll be attempting to break is 47.773 km and was set by Jim McMurray of New Zealand in March, 2016. To do that I’ll need to ride a minimum of 191.25 laps on the 250 meter track, averaging 18.8 seconds per lap. Based on what I’ve done at sea level at Hellyer Velodrome I believe I can ride 200 laps, at 18 seconds per lap for 50 km. The schedule will need to be fine tuned as I test more and won’t really be final until doing a short test effort once we’re in Mexico. Probably a 10-15 minute race pace effort about two days before the big day.
I know what you’re saying. “Dude, you only rode 46.2km at Hellyer, how the heck to you expect to ride 50kph in Mexico?!?!” Good question. There are four parts to the answer.
Altitude. Aguascalientes is 6,200′ above sea level. The lower air density makes a big difference. Yes, you lose about 8-10% of your sea level power, but air resistance increases by a cube factor as you go faster. The lower air density more than makes up for the power drop.
Aguascalientes is an indoor velodrome. No wind. It was quite windy during my recent Hellyer ride, probably costing me at least 500 meters.
Front disk wheel. Since there is no wind you can safely ride a front disk wheel. The front disk makes a tremendous difference, more than a rear disk.
Aguascalientes is a smooth wooden track and the rolling resistance is significantly lower.
This can all be quantified and calculated reasonably well. Knowing the weather (temperature, air density, wind, etc.) and power from a ride atHellyer, you can calculate your CdA (aerodynamic drag). Knowing that and expected temperature and air density at Aguascalientes you can plug that data into a spreadsheet and get an pretty good estimate of how fast/far you’ll ride at altitude. That data points towards 50kph in Mexico for me.
As kind of sanity check I know that my 40km PR at sea level is about 3 minutes slower than my PR at 5,000′ which fits with the calculations.
My team mate Dan and I have been really lucky to have help from Gu, BMC and Inside Tracker. Gu has assigned us a nutritionist to go over our diet and recommend changes. I’ve made some changes based on her recommendations and I feel like I’ve been riding well so I think it’s helping. BMC set us up with new Time Machine TT bikes to use for the effort. Finally GU set us up with Inside Tracker to get periodic blood tests to monitor our health and nutrient levels. Many of the diet changes I’ve made have been based on those results.
Hour Record Test Run. Hellyer Velodrome. April 29, 2017 Photo: Craig Huffman / Craig Huffman Photography
Dan and I planned to both do 1 hour tests at Hellyer Velodrome on Saturday, April 29th. We just got our new BMC TM01 Time Machines the week before. I got my bike build finished on Thursday and spent a few minutes on the trainer to make sure it felt about right, but didn’t have a chance to actually ride it until Sunday at the track.
The plan was to do a full 1 hour TT to set a marker and to gather weather data to use with the models to estimate how it would convert to our chosen venue at Aguascalientes, Mexico. We are shooting for a record attempt in the July8-16 range and are working on the logistics now.
The weather on our chosen test date was warm, but windy. My initial plan was to aim for 46.5km, but with the wind I set my schedule to 46km. On Hellyer’s 335.75 meter track that worked out to 26.2 second laps. Once up to speed though I found myself consistently hitting lap splits in the high 25 second range. It felt very comfortable so I went with it. What could go wrong, right? I think if it was calm that would have worked out and I might have gone close to 47km. (BTW, the US record for 55-59 is currently 45.019 km and the World Record is 47.773km. Both were set indoors.) As it was though I went through 30 minutes at 46.5km, but slowly started feeling the effects of my effort and slowed over the last 20 minutes or so, finishing with 46.2km. Still, it was 700 meters further than my initial test in December on a pretty calm day. And I again unofficially broke the US National Record, so I was happy with the outcome.
My fitness seems good, the bike was perfect from the get go. The wind blew my all over the track at times and I have bruises on my left knee from the wind hitting me from the right and having to use body english to stay on the track, whacking my knee in the process.
The wind was what really made me pay for my early efforts. Early on, I’d get blasted coming out of turn 2, but was able to power through it and get back up to speed. As the ride wore on I more and more lost the ability to recover my speed after the wind blast. We haven’t had time to review the weather data, but it looks like the wind averaged between 5 and 8 mph. The temperature was close to 80 and that felt fine. That is a good thing to know as the velodrome in Aguascalientes gets quite hot during the day in the summer. The warmer air is less dense, but that doesn’t help if you melt. Ideally you want to go at the warmest temperature that you can handle and it sounds like about 80 degrees will work for me.
The one bummer of the day was that though I thought I pushed the start button on my Garmin (mounted behind my saddle) I guess I didn’t and I have no power data to put in the model. I was VERY unhappy when I finished and realized that I had made that stupid mistake! Dumb ass!
BTW, this attempt was fully UCI legal from an equipment stand point. Garmin mounted on the seat post out of sight an on a UCI legal bike, as opposed to the Specialized Transition I used in December. Also, FYI, I rode a 52×15 gear (same as December) with 175mm cranks. I am guessing that I’ll go with a 52×14 for my official attempt, but still need to do some testing first.
Based on my December ride and this one I believe that I can conservatively ride 49km at Aquascalientes and possibly as much as 50km on a good day. We’ll know for sure in about two and a half months…