Jack Bobridge on his hour record attempt: “I’ll go to hell and back several times”

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Reigning individual pursuit world record-holder Jack Bobridge announced yesterday that he will be attempting the world hour record. Today he announced further details about that attempt to better Matthias Brandle’s mark of 51.852km, set in October.

Bobridge’s attempt will come on January 31, 2015 at the DISC Velodrome in Melbourne — the final night of the Australian National Track Championships.

Bobridge’s coach, Tim Decker, explained why they chose DISC.

“There’s a few reasons why we’ve chosen DISC and that date. From a Cycling Australia aspect, we need to look at preparations leading into Rio [the 2016 Olympic Games]”, Decker said at a press conference today.

“The second thing is that it’s on the same weekend as Cadel’s Classic [the inaugural Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race], the same day as the Track Nationals, and we’re looking for mass support, looking for Jack’s fans, and for people to be able to see the hour record. We’re giving Australia an opportunity to support the hour record, and to support Jack.”

Attempts at the hour record have been made in various parts of the world in recent decades, with riders searching for the right conditions to ensure the fastest time possible. Melbourne has a reputation for having “four seasons in a day” and Decker says that this could create a favourable (or unfavourable) environment for Bobridge’s attempt.

“The track at DISC — if we get the right weather, conditions are quite fast. We’ll be doing a few weather dances to make sure the conditions are right”, Decker said. “Provided it’s nice and warm, there won’t be any hinderance in doing it in Melbourne at DISC.”

How much of a difference would the weather make?

“I would say 1 to 1.5km”, Decker said. “If it’s nice and warm in the lead-up and then we get a storm, that’s fantastic because it lowers the air pressure which will be a benefit to the ride.”

Tim Decker (Australian track coach) and Jack Bobridge underneath Flinders Street Clocks in Melbourne after announcing the details of Bobridge's hour record attempt.
Tim Decker (Australian track coach) and Jack Bobridge underneath Flinders Street Clocks in Melbourne after announcing the details of Bobridge’s hour record attempt.

“I’ll go to hell and back”

Eddy Merckx famously said about setting his hour record, “It’s very, very hard. I couldn’t walk for a few days after I did it. That’s how hard it is.”

Bobridge said that he’s prepared for the pain.

“I’ll go to hell and back several times throughout that hour”, he said. “It’s something I’m willing to do, something the people around me will do, and something I’m willing to do in improving myself.

“I’m one of the best track endurance riders in Australia, if not the world, and if I didn’t go to hell and back there’s something wrong, and I’m prepared to do that. That’s part of the thrill.”

Tour Down Under Selection?

In 2011 Bobridge was near unbeatable. He won the national road race championships that year and after a successful Tour Down Under, he set a new world record for the individual pursuit on the track; a record previously thought to be unbeatable.

When asked how he’s going to prepare for the hour record over the next six weeks without a guaranteed entry into the Tour Down Under — Bobridge will be racing for the Continental Budget Forklifts squad in 2015 — he said:

“That’ll [ed. the Tour Down Under] be a big goal of mine. Obviously to make the UniSA team for Down Under which will be selected through the road nationals. The build up for the road nationals and a selection for Down Under will be a great way to go into the hour record.”

Decker said that assuming Bobridge makes the UniSA selection for the Tour Down Under, keeping him fresh will be key.

“If he manages to get that start at the Tour Down Under the most important thing will be recovery”, Decker said. “Then we look at mainly being on the track for the two or three days leading up to Saturday.”

Olympic silver medalist, Rohan Dennis, has also announced that he will attempt the hour and there has been speculation about former British time trial champion, Alex Dowsett, and 2012 Tour de France winner, Sir Bradley Wiggins, also trying to break the record.

“I think it’s great that everyone is starting to put their hand up for it. It makes it more interesting,” Bobridge said. 

“I’m aiming to set a benchmark that leaves everyone questioning themselves about whether they want to do it or not.”

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