Hour Records – Not just for the pros


London club Hounslow and District Wheelers sees its riders  making successful attempts at hour records on the track

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Hour Records – Not just for the pros
From: Chris Lovibond

Loz Wintergold – Hour Record at Herne Hill

Chris writes … Elite-isation* – attention is paid only to those at the very top, that’s the way of sport generally in the twenty first century. This is certainly true in cycling, where many newcomers now have no aspirations beyond riding sportives and ‘The Hour’ is seen as the very tip of the pinnacle, only to be contemplated by ordinary mortals in televisual form.


I’m proud to say that the Hounslow and District Wheelers stands out against the spirit of the age and recently has seen three different members make successful attempts at hour records.

Loz Wintergold is the latest in our series. His targets were the club’s open air record and the VTTA record for his age group, which both stood to the Hounslow’s Rob Gilmour who set the distance at 25.612 miles at Palmer Park, Reading in 2014 when he was sixty three years of age. A further possible target was the 26.602 miles recorded by Steve McGraw (a former international) in 2011 when he was forty eight. Under VTTA rules, a ride which exceeds the distance recorded by a younger rider beats the younger rider’s record. Loz was fifty one at the time of this ride.

For a rider whose recent 25 mile performances on the road have significantly faster than this and who had been able, in training, to lap consistently at 26.8 mph these seemed easily achievable ambitions. However, as we have seen before, the hard reality of these attempts is quickly revealed once the rider is on the track. On the evening of the attempt (23rd July) the conditions were reasonable but far from perfect with a tough headwind on the back straight and the sun still powerful enough to make shade seem desirable, although by about half distance both these problems had lessened.

Starting just after 7.30pm Loz appeared to settle quickly into the necessary pace, lapping consistently at just under 39 seconds, enough for the club record, but never allowing him to be up on his ambitious schedule which anticipated an 80 second improvement on the record.  … continued after advert


Jeff Marshall stood at the trackside near the timekeeper with a red and green board to indicate whether the rider was ahead (green) or behind schedule. It quickly became clear that the plan was over optimistic and with 20 minutes completed Loz was 10 seconds slower than he had hoped, a deficit which gradually doubled in the remaining 40 minutes. This meant that the first two objectives (the club and the VTTA 51 year records) were achieved with almost a minute in hand, but the 48 year age record was not beaten. Perhaps the recordman’s morale would have benefitted from seeing that green board on display.

As the hour ran out Loz had completed 26.022 miles (41.878 kilometres), comfortably improving on the distance he had set out to beat. However our man was not really satisfied with his performance, which, perhaps surprisingly to us ordinary folk, he felt was sub optimal.

This is an exercise where hindsight can be beneficial and Loz accepts that not every decision taken before the ride was perfect. He feels that his gear (97”, 55×15) was too high for the prevailing conditions and that his machine was not ideal for the job. It was actually his ordinary time trial bike modified for the occasion, but the alterations included a change of position to which he was not fully acclimatized. Apart from the bike he feels that his starting effort was too hard and that more relaxed pacing would give a better result. Will we see our man in action again? The answer is – Yes! – he’s already looking for another available slot at the track.

And just to show that there are other Hounslow members whose enthusiasm has not been damaged by the passing of fleeting years, Rob Gilmour has booked a slot at Newport on the 26th October to attack the UCI 65 to 69 years World Hour Record. We wish them both Good Luck!



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