Location: Aguascalientes Mexico
Date: July 28-29, 2014
Event: World Record Attempts
2K Individual Pursuit – World Record in men’s age group 75-79 in time of 2:48.483
200-meter Time Trial - World Record in men's age group 75-79 in time of 13.889 seconds.
The Hour – World Record in men’s age group 75-79 of 38,494 meters
My biggest cycling goals this year center on setting National and World records for my newly-entered 75-79 age group. The process began last year when my coach of 12 years, Dan Smith, and I talked about how to do this. One of the things that Dan emphasized from the beginning was that we shouldn’t stake it all on one single attempt but think in terms of progressive steps. We have followed that plan.
The first step was to set up a low key record attempt event at our local Hellyer velodrome for the National record for the 2K Pursuit and the Hour. We did that onMay 1 when I set new National records for the Pursuit and for the Hour.
For the World Record attempt the plan was to do those at altitude. There is a very significant aerodynamic benefit of lower air resistance from the thinner air at altitude. Two velodromes came to mind, the Olympic Training Center velodrome in Colorado Springs and the velodrome in Aguascalientes Mexico. They are both at similar altitudes of about 6100 feet. Our preference was the Aguascalientes velodrome because it is an indoor facility (no rain, no wind) with a high quality board track (low coefficient of rolling resistance). The anticipated difficulty there though was getting the appropriate infrastructure (officials, drug testing).
In February I began to try to schedule time at Aguascalientes. Getting time on the track there proved not to be a problem so we set tentative dates for the attempt in late July. The UCI rules for setting cycling World Records (technically they are “World Bests” but I’ll continue to call them World Records) are strict. It became more and more problematic that we could meet the UCI requirements at Aguascalientes. On short notice Mark Rodamaker pointed out a possible record attempt opportunity at Colorado Springs so I jumped at that, went there and set new World Records for the 200-meter time trial and 2K Pursuit on July 11. A rain delay preempted my planned attempt at the Hour record.
Shortly after getting back from Colorado Springs the situation at Aguascalientes improved dramatically. By UCI rules your head official must be an International Commissaire (IC). There are no ICs in Mexico but I got a waiver from the UCI that allowed me to use a National Commissaire as my head official. Again on short notice I scheduled my trip to Aguascalientes and set the record attempt dates for July 28 (2K Pursuit and 200-meter time trial) and July 29 (Hour record). I flew there on July 24 and coach Dan came in on July 26. We ironed things out at the track on the 27th and were ready to do the first attempts on the 28th.
Through all my time there I was treated like a rock star. I was even the center of a televised press conference on the 25th. All of the people that I dealt with were generous in their assistance and support. I’ll write much more about that in the “Long Version” of this report. I was given unlimited exclusive use of the fabulous facility that the velodrome is. It was as though I owned the place.
There is no air conditioning in the velodrome and it heats up from cool in the morning to hot in the mid to late afternoon. Hot air is faster so we scheduled my shorter events for the afternoon when it was hot but I wouldn’t be riding very long at one time. The temperature in the velodrome during my Monday attempts was 99 degrees.
I had a good start in my 2K pursuit and felt good throughout. My final time of 2:48.483 was 3 seconds faster than my own World Record for the event. The 200-meter time trial also went well and my time of 13.889 seconds bettered my own World Record in the event by 0.2 seconds.
We scheduled the Hour record attempt for the morning of the 29th, forgoing the speed advantage of the hotter afternoon air to avoid getting too dehydrated during the much longer Hour effort. There was some delay starting the Hour attempt which I discuss in the Long Version of this report but I started my ride at 10:45. Dan and I initially targeted 38,500 meters as my planned distance but I asked Dan to back off that a little to 38,200 meters when my warmup effort seemed slightly harder than I expected. The new target required lap times of 23.5 seconds on the 250-meter track.
Again I had a good start and got settled into a nice rhythm on my aerobars. Dan called lap splits for me and we found that I was very gradually pulling ahead of the schedule. Dan was indispensable. On some laps he called splits, on some he called how many seconds that I was ahead of schedule, on others he simply called encouragement or urged me to keep focus. As preplanned he called remaining time every ten minutes with more frequent remaining time calls during the last 15 minutes.
An hour seems like a really long time when you’re doing an effort like that but it eventually got down to the bell lap. My final distance was 38,494 meters – only 6 meters off our original plan.
There was an interview with the press after my attempt and then off to drug testing. That took much longer than it had for the prior day’s test simply because the effort was so dehydrating even in the cooler morning temperature. I drank 2.7 liters of water before I could produce a 100 ml urine sample.
Dan and I flew back the following day. It was an incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience. There will be much more detail in the Long Version of this report that I will write soon.
There has already been international press coverage of my successful record attempts. One of the funniest ones is from a French website, no less. Below is a rough translation of the first few sentences of that writeup. URL is www.20minutes.fr/insolite/1423455-americain-75-ans-bat-trois-records-monde-cyclistes
“Jean-Christophe Péraud, had his 37th birthday and his second place in the Tour de France , is good. Jim Turner is better. This American 75 broke three world records in track cycling in his age group in two days in Mexico, including the distance he rode Tuesday, 38.494 km.”
Click article title to view a couple of photos.
Twilight Cycling, presented by Rabobank, will be held August 12 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. during Monterey's Classic Car Week, just prior to the start of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. The paddock will be full of vintage race cars and their drivers may even join in on the fun.
The evening is hosted by the Alto Velo Racing Club, which was founded in 1992 and has over 200 members, and the club's Alto Velo Elite Racing Team (AVERT), a program designed to foster team racing and racer progression from the Cat 4 to Cat 1 levels.
The popular local cycling club will hold a gravity race from the top of the Corkscrew starting at 6:00 p.m. There will be a modern “aero” division and a classic “non-aero, non-carbon” division. Prizes will go to the winner (longest coasting distance) and most stylish bike (judge’s discretion) in each division. This will be followed by a five lap circuit race starting at 6:30 p.m. Prizes will be awarded following the races.
The evening concludes with a free BBQ, offering the ideal way to unwind after challenging the 2.238-mile world-class road circuit.
“This is a rare opportunity to ride your bike on one of the world’s most famous racing circuits,” says Mike Reed, general manager of AVERT. “No cars, but pure excitement!”
The monthly cycling sessions provide a wonderful way to meet fellow cyclists and perhaps engage in some friendly competition. The evenings are open to all ages and levels and costs only $10 per person. Helmets are required. Twilight Cycling participants should follow the signs to the Red 9 parking lot and then proceed over the start/finish bridge.
The picnic was a great success! Many thanks to George Miranda for pulling it all together and his crew of helpers. Lots of good food, plenty of drinks, and some fun in the sun. The bike polo game was hotly contested. We had one person on a bike specially "modified" with a lowered seat and protection for the front wheel spokes. Another person brought out his bamboo bike! The beer kickball game was more laid back and required mostly being able to not spill your beer while running, kicking, etc. Some were less successful than others - you know who you are!
A good time was had by all. Again, thanks to George for leading the charge!
Click on the article title to view a slideshow of pictures taken. Additional pictures can be found at: https://plus.google.com/photos/107612102175140162792/albums/6041201844316612129