I used to be quite fast over 50 miles.
Now that I’ve passed my 50th birthday I’m starting to look at “fast over 50” in a whole new light and it’s got me wondering if it’s possible to turn the clock back with some modern cycling science interventions.
My back-in-the-day 50 PB was 1:59:03 which was set in 1984 when I was racing in the Junior ranks. This was in the days before aero cycling, so no tri bars or fancy positions and race numbers flapped in the breeze. Juniors in Scotland in those days were gear restricted to a 52×16 gear (around 86 inches). It was a good ride on a slow course that was both traffic free and certainly lumpy if not quite hilly. It was good enough to win the event overall, see Graeme Obree & Bob Addy finish 2nd & 3rd to me respectively and set a new Scottish Junior Record over the distance. To the best of my knowledge my record was never beaten on equal terms as the gear regs changed and tri bars and aero tech soon came to the fore.
Since then I’ve never really taken TT’s seriously and have never trained specifically for one. I’ve gone faster since ’84 with aerobars and fancy wheels but as I’ve never “got” bike and rider aerodynamics until very recently I do now shudder at some of the aero faux pas I’ve committed over the years.
So turning 50 got me thinking of time passing too fast – much like it used to do when racing a 50 – and a curious symmetry emerged. Instead of wishing for another day in my 17 year old body could my 50 something year old body go faster than the 17 year old me?
Well the answer to that question remains to be seen. 2019 will provide an answer. But hey at least I look the part – of a tester if not a 17 year old 🙂