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Old 02-26-05, 12:23 PM   #1
alanbikehouston
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Bikecult.com has a chart of the various attempts on the "one hour" record over the past 125 years. The slowest one hour times were those of the riders who attempted the record "the hard way": on a bike with traditional geometry, riding in a traditional sprinter's position on a track near sea level.

It was interesting to see how slowly progress has been made on the "traditional" hour's record. No funny bikes. No funny riding positions. No advantage from riding at high altitude. The slow gains made in the traditional hour record, and the unwillingness of most modern riders to attempt breaking it, suggests that Boardman's time in 2000 may be approaching the outer limit of human ability.


The "Traditional" Hour's Record - Key Times


2000 Boardman 30.6 mph

1967 Braeke 29.8 mph

1956 Anquetil 28.6 mph

1933 Richard 27.7 mph

1912 Egg 26.9 mph


It took eight decades to advance the record less than 4 mph. And five decades to advance the record 2 mph. That suggests, under "traditional" rules, it is unlikely that any rider in 2005 can complete a "traditional" hour going faster than about 31 mph. Could Lance be the guy who proves the human limit has not been met?

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Old 02-26-05, 01:18 PM   #2
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I'm still confused about one thing. If the air is so thin at altitude wouldn't it be easier to achieve a faster time at sea level? I can't imagine that the aero advantage would be that much better in thinner air.
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Old 02-26-05, 02:30 PM   #3
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With power being roughly a function of velocity cubed, a small increase in speed requires a huge increase in power. At 10,000 ft the air density is ~ 70% of the sea level value. That's a 30% reduction in aero resistance! Of course, 30% less air to breathe
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Old 02-26-05, 04:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by boyze
With power being roughly a function of velocity cubed, a small increase in speed requires a huge increase in power. At 10,000 ft the air density is ~ 70% of the sea level value. That's a 30% reduction in aero resistance! Of course, 30% less air to breathe

Which was my point. I'm surprised that the loss of wind resistance is a great benifiet than the handicap of less dense air. It's obviously the case but suprising non the less.
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Old 02-26-05, 05:02 PM   #5
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Which was my point. I'm surprised that the loss of wind resistance is a great benifiet than the handicap of less dense air. It's obviously the case but suprising non the less.
Because, you can always acclimatize to altitude by spending (and training) up high... In about 4-6 weeks your blood becomes more dense with red blood cells and that allows you to produce 'almost' the same power output as at the sea level, with the benefit of lesser air resistance...
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Old 02-26-05, 05:13 PM   #6
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Because, you can always acclimatize to altitude by spending (and training) up high... In about 4-6 weeks your blood becomes more dense with red blood cells and that allows you to produce 'almost' the same power output as at the sea level, with the benefit of lesser air resistance...

Gottcha, thanks!
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Old 02-27-05, 03:45 PM   #7
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That's amazing stuff - I can't believe how long the 1967 record held, and only to be beaten by .8mph, and in the days of EPO no less.
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Old 02-28-05, 07:45 AM   #8
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That's amazing stuff - I can't believe how long the 1967 record held, and only to be beaten by .8mph, and in the days of EPO no less.
It is my impression that there have been very few attempts to break the 1967 record. That record was set at sea level, using a traditional style of road bike, and a traditional riding position. Most of the record attempts since that time have involved riders who chose to use either a "funny" bike, a "funny" riding position, or who chose to ride at high altitude.

Sometimes boxers, even world champion boxers, are accused of "dodging" fights with a tough opponent. I'm inclined to guess that guys such as Lance and Ullrich might be a bit nervous about going after the "traditional" hour record. The "traditional" hour measures a rider not only against the best riders of this generation, but allows a direct comparison with the best riders of prior generations. What if one of today's "best" riders attempted this record, and ended up with a "28.5 MPH ride"? Might be a bit of an embarrassment.
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