Getting to the other side
A mere four months after sitting anxiously in front of three laptops and a tablet waiting for the clock to strike 10:00:01am… the day had arrived. It was ‘H-Day’!
A Quiet Sunday At The Track
While it was not my first trip to the Lee Valley Velodrome, something made me think it might be a little more memorable than my first. Nothing against the Track World Cup meeting I attended back in December 2014, but the Wiggins Hour Record is another level (and for the record – the most memorable thing of that event was the almost unbelievable size of Fostermann’s thighs).
There was a weird atmosphere surrounding the Velodrome when we arrived before the doors even opened… never has a World Record been considered so routine, nobody even contemplating if he’d do it, but rather by how much. 54, 54.5, even upwards of 56 was mentioned at one point; but the intelligent money seemed to be on somewhere between 54.5 and 55.5km.
No ifs. No buts
As with any cycling event the conversation also revolved around gear ratios, tyre pressures, cadence and temperature, although not often is the air pressure discussed with such fervor; and with good reason, Sir Bradley commented afterwards that the pressure cost about a tenth per lap, no inconsequential differential when you’re aiming to do over 200 of them.
History, Old and New
So after a little time in awe of the Team Wiggins Jaguar parked outside and having a lively discussion about how much of a drop angle was on the Pinarello Dogma on the roof, we joined the queue we venture in. Once through the air-lock, we were greeted almost instantly with a tangible sense of excitement. With so much to marvel at, a small group of purists were huddled around a rather incongruous looking machine by modern standards, but for those who know the folklore of The Hour, it was something truly special – Indurain’s Hour Record Bike.
With the warm-up elimination and scratch races done and dusted, just enough the to whet the appetite…the cycling canapés were over. It was time for the main course. Here he comes.
Suffice it to say that I won’t bore you with a lap-by-lap commentary of the attempt. The roar when the all too familiar beep supposedly went off was incredible, with some who had the pleasure of being at the 2012 games saying that it was even louder.
Fast forward about 58minutes, he went further than any man before (under this set of UCI rules). I didn’t think the volume could increase from the revolving wave of noise that chased Sir Brad around the velodrome. Oh, was I wrong.
A Moment for a Lifetime
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some spectacular things in cycling. Chris Froome being led out by the Team Sky train on the Champs Elysee of the 100th Tour de France. I’ve seen Nibali attack on the Cobbles of Flanders and Jensie attack for glory on the hills of Yorkshire, but I think this will stay with me longer than any of them.
…And the ‘intelligent money’ was right… he rode 54.526km