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.
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.
Cool shot from underneath the track.