Last Word

World Records and Sur­pass­ing Great­ness

Pedal Magazine - - Contents - BY GORD SIN­GLE­TON

Set­ting a world record is an ac­com­plish­ment that sur­passes great­ness. It is a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity that is given to you and then you take it to the next level. You be­come a trail­blazer in the relay of life, set­ting the mark for the next priv­i­leged one who will catch your ba­ton and as­cend to a new height. Let’s face it, records are set and meant to be bro­ken. It is a mo­ment in time that is fleet­ing, but that mo­ment is one of life’s great honours. It makes you a part of the evo­lu­tion of life.

Break­ing a world record is a mo­ment in time when the en­vi­ron­ment has to be ab­so­lutely per­fect. In 1980, I broke the 200-me­tre, 500-me­tre and 1,000-me­tre world records in Mex­ico City. The 333-me­tre out­door velo­drome in Mex­ico City was cho­sen due to its high al­ti­tude and re­fined air pres­sure, mak­ing it the fastest track in the world. To­day, the Union Cy­cliste In­ter­na­tionale (UCI) has man­dated that all in­door tracks are specif­i­cally 250 me­tres. We’ve learned to con­trol the at­mo­spheric pres­sure by rais­ing the in­door tem­per­a­ture to 28°C.

My records were ac­com­plished com­pletely out of com­pe­ti­tion. There were no scream­ing fans, no elec­tric­ity in the air – it was sim­ply man and ma­chine ver­sus dis­tance and time. On Sept. 24, 2017, the Mil­ton Velo­drome was the scene of World Hour Record at­tempts, and very much like the at­mos­phere in Mex­ico City, the velo­drome only had a hand­ful of spec­ta­tors con­sist­ing mostly of fam­ily and friends of the par­tic­i­pants. Self-mo­ti­va­tion and courage were the or­der of the day and es­sen­tial to en­dure the pain and suf­fer­ing of sus­tain­ing a World Hour Record pace.

Like any great ac­com­plish­ment in life, prepa­ra­tion is a pre­req­ui­site and it is the key that pro­vides the con­fi­dence you need to over­come your demons when go­ing into bat­tle. It is im­por­tant to as­sess a sit­u­a­tion fully be­fore you com­mit to ven­tur­ing into the un­known. Prepa­ra­tion gives you the con­fi­dence to take a leap of faith. But you can’t just have faith; you must re­al­is­ti­cally as­sess your prepa­ra­tion. Prepa­ra­tion is com­pletely dif­fer­ent for each and ev­ery racer.

Giuseppe Mari­noni be­gan a cou­ple of years prior. He called on the ex­per­tise of men­tor Eric Van den Eynde for sup­port, ini­tially work­ing hard to get his body back into con­di­tion to with­stand the in­tense train­ing. Ed Veal con­tin­ued his rac­ing and train­ing regime, but fo­cused on op­ti­miz­ing his per­for­mance for a 60-minute ef­fort.

I was in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion when for five years I was pre­par­ing for the 1980 Olympics. Af­ter the 1980 Olympic boy­cott was an­nounced, I turned my fo­cus to­ward a new goal. It was eight weeks of noth­ing but speed and power and aim­ing to do it all on one spe­cific des­ig­nated day and mo­ment.

If we look back when cy­cling records were first es­tab­lished, many as­pects have evolved. Velo­dromes have changed. Track sur­faces have im­proved. We’ve moved en­tirely in­doors. No more are there 500-me­tre or 333-me­tre out­door velo­dromes. The UCI has reg­u­la­tions con­cern­ing bi­cy­cle ge­om­e­try, and F1 re­search, tech­nol­ogy and aero­dy­nam­ics have be­come the norm. Bud­gets and fi­nan­cial sup­port have taken train­ing and equip­ment to an en­tirely dif­fer­ent level then ex­isted for those who at­tempted the feat in the grass­root stages of the sport.

Sir Bradley Wig­gins of Great Bri­tain, with an al­most un­lim­ited fi­nan­cial bud­get and no stone was left unturned, broke the Open World Hour Record in 2015, rid­ing 54.526 kilo­me­tres in one hour. Team

Sky spent £6000 to per­fect the ef­fi­ciency of the bi­cy­cle chain alone. Mari­noni used a bike he had per­son­ally hand­crafted for the late great Jo­ce­lyn Lovell in 1978. Fit­ted with disc wheels and aero bars, he set off in pur­suit, and 60 min­utes later, a new mark was es­tab­lished in the 80+-age cat­e­gory – 39.004 kilo­me­tres.

After­ward, Mari­noni said, ”I got hun­gry near the end, but I was too ner­vous to eat be­fore the ride.” Ed Veal (40-44 age cat­e­gory) was very con­fi­dent in his equip­ment se­lec­tion and used the same bike as he had for his pre­vi­ous at­tempt back in 2015. He said, “The big dif­fer­ence was my knowl­edge of what to ex­pect.”

At the end of the day, it takes an enor­mous amount of courage for an ath­lete to men­tally ar­rive at this level of high per­for­mance. It takes a tremen­dous de­ter­mi­na­tion to re­main fo­cused dur­ing the record at­tempt and, even more im­por­tantly, ear­lier de­ter­mi­na­tion to re­main fo­cused dur­ing the prepa­ra­tion. Ev­ery­thing you strive for and at­tempt to do in life is in­flu­enced by doubt and be­lief.

Suc­cess is ac­com­plished by never let­ting doubt win. In­stead, be­lief pushes you to­ward your goal. When you whole­heart­edly be­lieve in your­self and have faith you have ac­com­plished all men­tal and phys­i­cal prepa­ra­tions, suc­cess hap­pens without sur­prise.

Giuseppe Mari­noni, 80 years old, achieved a mile­stone set­ting a World Hour Record again.

Giuseppe Mari­noni: the man, the leg­end

Mari­noni, the renowned frame builder

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