Hour Record training – 1 hour test at Hellyer Velodrome

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…



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5 Responses to Hour Record training – 1 hour test at Hellyer Velodrome

  1. Steve Palladino

    Looking good, Kevin! Good luck in July!

  2. Giovanni Ciriani

    Are you planning to maintain your cadence at sea level?

    • admin


      Good question. In general I am a relatively high cadence guy. I’ve raced at MUCH higher altitudes than Aguascalientes (Pikes Peak for one). But you bring up a good point. Spinning is more aerobic and there is less oxygen at 6-7,000′. What if I start with the expectation of doing 108 rpm and realize part way through that I’d rather push a bigger gear and spin a bit less. Then I’m kind of f’d…

      Thanks for bringing that up. I’ll have to do some thinking on that topic.

      That said, my present intention is to keep the same cadence. Subject to change I guess.


  3. Giovanni Ciriani

    According to the paper Equation of motion of a cyclist,* which determined that one can obtain the best result at an altitude between 3000 and 3500 m. According to the same your max power should decrease but neverthless you should be able to go faster because of the reduced aerodynamic drag. My further inference is that if you want to express your best power at that altitude, your optimum cadence should remain the same. Because you are decreasing the gear by 1/15th (from 15 to 14), that may be enough to increase your speed and maintain the same cadence. going from 45 km to 47 km is exactly 1/15th so it may be just right for you to be able to maintain your cadence.

    Note*: I have a copy to e-mail you if you don’t have it;
    di Prampero PE, Cortili G, Mognoni P, Saibene F. Equation of motion of a cyclist. J Appl Physiol. 1979;47(1):201-206.
    My email is first name last name at gmail.

  4. admin


    Thank you, I would be quite interested to read that paper. Please send it to me at nslckevin@sbcglobal.net.

    In December with good SRM data I averaged a bit over 105 rpm. Last weekend on the same gear (and tires) I averaged a bit over 106 rpm as far as I can tell. Higher for the first 30 minutes. This begs the question of whether or not I would have maintained the higher cadence for a full hour if it had been calm. I think I would have maintained somewhere around 108-109, but I certainly can’t be sure of that. Based on my gear cadence chart, 106 rpm in a 52×14 would take me 49.37 km. 108 rpm would put me at 50.30 km. Frankly, anything less than 49 km will be kind of disappointing. So, if I stick with the idea of 52×14, then I need 106-108 rpm. On the other hand if I went with a 53×14, then 104-106 rpm gives me the speeds I’m looking for.

    Thanks for giving me things to think about over the next month or two. As always, it sounds like I need to spend some more time on the track to figure these things out!



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