Canadian Cyclist


April 10/15 14:40 pm - Hour Record Attempt - A Primer

Posted by Editor on 04/10/15

On Friday afternoon, Ed Veal will attempt to set a new Canadian Hour Record and, possibly, a World Hour Record for Masters Men 35-39.  However, what does the 'Hour Record' mean?

Until aerodynamics intruded it was pretty straightforward - everyone rode a standard track bike.  Eddy Merckx set what was considered to be an almost unbeatable record in 1972 of 49.431 kilometres.  However, then Francesco Moser began to muddy the waters with aerodynamics and odd sized wheels, setting a record of 51.151 kilometres in 1984.  The record distance started to climb rapidly in the 1990s, with Graeme Obree and Chris Boardman swapping leads, before Boardman set a definitive time of 56.375 kilometres in 1996.

The UCI stepped and decided that these times would be 'Best Human Effort' records, and that they would return to Merckx-style equipment for the 'Hour Record'.  That caused the record attempts to stagnate, until last year, when the UCI introduced new rules, which allow riders to use equipment that is currently allowed for pursuit events, such as disc wheels, monocoque frames and aero helmets.  There have been a flurry of attempts since, with Rohan Dennis now holding the new 'Unified' Hour Record at 52.491 kilometres.

So, where does this leave us in Canada?

Well, thanks to research with Kris Westwood at Cycling Canada, we have the following situation:

'Merckx bike' Record - Roy Williamson in 1958 at 39.977 kilometres

'Best Human Effort' Record - Mike Nash in 2011 at 45.959 kilometres

So, Ed Veal's attempt will be the first under the new rules, but to really count he needs to beat Mike Nash's time.  Veal will also be hoping to get the Masters 35-39 world record, which is held by Australian Jayson Austin of Australia, set in 2009 at 48.315 kilometres.

So now you know.


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