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Anatomy of a Photo: Bringing Back The Hour

Anatomy of a Photo: Bringing Back The Hour

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Brad Wiggins is sitting at home, watching his team implode at a Tour de France he was not invited to.

What’s on his mind? An attempt at the Hour Record, that’s what. Now that the UCI has allowed riders to mount a conventional (track) time trial machine in their efforts and the likes of Boardman, Obree, Moser, Rominger, and Indurain all get their records back, I’m getting wicked psyched for a renaissance of one of the coolest periods of Cycling when rider after rider attempted and re-attempted the record during the 90’s.

Unfortunately, the regulations won’t allow for anyone to hop aboard Fignon’s old monster – which he never rode – but at least we have a chance that Wiggins, Cancellara, Martin and co will spend the next few years one-upping each other in what could be the most gratuitous suffer fest our sport has to offer.

Bring it the fuck on.

// Anatomy of a Photo

  1. Well thankfully Fignon didn’t take aerodynamics all that seriously at a particular time trial in late 1989. Perhaps that rig was his way of overcompensating.

  2. Boardman, Obree, Moser, Rominger, and Indurain don’t all get their records back. The line is still Sosenka’s record, which is a bit silly because beating it on a modern pursuit bike won’t be that hard, relatively speaking. Honestly I think the old status quo with two categories, Merckx and aero, was better than these new rules.

  3. @thefringthing

    Boardman, Obree, Moser, Rominger, and Indurain don’t all get their records back. The line is still Sosenka’s record, which is a bit silly because beating it on a modern pursuit bike won’t be that hard, relatively speaking. Honestly I think the old status quo with two categories, Merckx and aero, was better than these new rules.

    Not sure what I think about them being able to use pursuit bikes other than maybe the idea is that it would be more apealing to attempt for TT guy’s, I guess if get’s people more excited about it I am ok with it .

  4. @thefringthing

    Boardman, Obree, Moser, Rominger, and Indurain don’t all get their records back. The line is still Sosenka’s record, which is a bit silly because beating it on a modern pursuit bike won’t be that hard, relatively speaking. Honestly I think the old status quo with two categories, Merckx and aero, was better than these new rules.

    I agree, Merckx and Aero should the only categories. Even if Ritter was a whiny pussy complaining the weather kept him from beating Merckx, he was still on a real mans Bicycle. Fuck the space ago looking BS, hammer it out like a man on a regular bike, or stay home.

  5. Last I heard Faboo has shelved his hour record attempt. I like his stance on the subject as well, said that the romance of the traditional hour record held by Merckx had nostalgia being able to compare ones self with the greats of cycling.

  6. Yeah except nobody was prepared to actually do it so the whole thing was shoved away into a corner.

    The last time anyone got excited about the hour record was the Boardman/Obree era and why was that? Because you had two people who were not only great athletes but also prepared to apply innovation – new things get people interested.

    It was a ridiculous division – why did it stop at Merckx? Why not insist on replicas of bikes from 1910? Why not set an altitude limit?

    I just wish the Swiss Bitch would STFU and have a go. His whining is on par with his time trialling.

  7. @ChrisO

    It was a ridiculous division – why did it stop at Merckx? Why not insist on replicas of bikes from 1910? Why not set an altitude limit?

    I think this is an important point. Yes, records were set on specific sets of equipment, but innovation is key to progress in any sport. You don’t see F1 racers going back to old timey cars to compete, or for sprinters to wear leather shoes with no spikes, or or or or. Why should cycling stop at 30 year old or more technology? Let the pursuit bikes in, yes they’ll smash the old records but it will be exciting to watch them fly around the track at full speed.

  8. @thefringthing

    Boardman, Obree, Moser, Rominger, and Indurain don’t all get their records back. The line is still Sosenka’s record, which is a bit silly because beating it on a modern pursuit bike won’t be that hard, relatively speaking. Honestly I think the old status quo with two categories, Merckx and aero, was better than these new rules.

    The official record is Sosenka’s, but their records are back on the list. Fubar to be sure, but they do have credit for them in the books again.

    Those records, peaking with Boardman’s 56.374km record attained in the “superman” position and on a bike that is not legal under current UCI rules, will remain on the books but will not be the mark to beat for a modern attempt.

  9. Time to add Michael Hutchinson’s The Hour to The Works? And Edward’s Pickering’s Race Against Time too while I’m thinking about it.

  10. Thank you supporting my ability to rationalize another bike purchase.

  11. Honestly, what is up with the aero bikes that break enough wind to displace a train. Recently, some non bike oriented adult friends and I visited a trek bike shop. While I drooled on the floor, imagining myself on a 7 series, they learned that this was an aero bike. The instant response was, “Wouldn’t a skinnier downtube be more aero?” As the salesperson attempted to outmaneuver  this bit of logic, it made WAY too much sense to me. Wouldn’t a skinny tube have to break less air?

  12. @hyppy Totally agree The Hour should be there – I’ve said it before. And his new book Faster is pretty good too, but The Hour is a classic deserving of being in The Works.

    @Fausto Crapiz Well as someone else said recently, aero is a funny thing. The problem, as I understand it, is not so much the breaking of the air as the release of the air. So if you can make air ‘stick’ to surfaces for longer, or not have to attach and re-attach to different bits, and then be released in a more controlled manner it ends up being more efficient.

    The measure is drag i.e. how much air are you towing, not how little air are you pushing.

  13. @ChrisO

    @hyppy Totally agree The Hour should be there – I’ve said it before. And his new book Faster is pretty good too, but The Hour is a classic deserving of being in The Works.

    @Fausto Crapiz Well as someone else said recently, aero is a funny thing. The problem, as I understand it, is not so much the breaking of the air as the release of the air. So if you can make air ‘stick’ to surfaces for longer, or not have to attach and re-attach to different bits, and then be released in a more controlled manner it ends up being more efficient.

    The measure is drag i.e. how much air are you towing, not how little air are you pushing.

    Wow, I think I need to look into this more. Thanks ChrisO for the info.

  14. @ChrisO

    Yeah except nobody was prepared to actually do it so the whole thing was shoved away into a corner.

    The last time anyone got excited about the hour record was the Boardman/Obree era and why was that? Because you had two people who were not only great athletes but also prepared to apply innovation – new things get people interested.

    It was a ridiculous division – why did it stop at Merckx? Why not insist on replicas of bikes from 1910? Why not set an altitude limit?

    I just wish the Swiss Bitch would STFU and have a go. His whining is on par with his time trialling.

    +1 he is behaving these days more like Frandy than any sort of Spartacus.  There is an awful lot of guff escaping from his face and none of it is emanating from his legs.

  15. @Fausto Crapiz

    Honestly, what is up with the aero bikes that break enough wind to displace a train. Recently, some non bike oriented adult friends and I visited a trek bike shop. While I drooled on the floor, imagining myself on a 7 series, they learned that this was an aero bike. The instant response was, “Wouldn’t a skinnier downtube be more aero?” As the salesperson attempted to outmaneuver this bit of logic, it made WAY too much sense to me. Wouldn’t a skinny tube have to break less air?

    This is the 7-series Aero bike:

    and this is the 7-series aero road bike:

    The first has a super-skinny downtube, and is, in fact, the second-fastest bike you can buy right now if you’re doing a time-trial. The second is a road bike first, with aerodynamic shaping second. That means stiffness, weight and handling all have to be taken into account.

    I’ve ridden thousands of kilometres on my TT bike, and yet it will never be as reassuring as the road-bike. Bombing descents and muscling up rolling hills is integral to road racing, and if the bike feels noodly and unstable, you’ll lose the race.

    Plus, aero is weird, and shapes and their interactions often matter more than nominal tube thickness – especially when a rider’s legs dwarf the size of any tube. The Madone has a thick downtube but it’s shaped properly, and still comes out more aerodynamic than the skinnier Spesh Venge – while keeping the famous sublime Madone handling. I’d rather have a Cervelo S3 if it were my money, but it’s still a decently-aero bike.

  16. @Fausto Crapiz

    Honestly, what is up with the aero bikes that break enough wind to displace a train. Recently, some non bike oriented adult friends and I visited a trek bike shop. While I drooled on the floor, imagining myself on a 7 series, they learned that this was an aero bike. The instant response was, “Wouldn’t a skinnier downtube be more aero?” As the salesperson attempted to outmaneuver this bit of logic, it made WAY too much sense to me. Wouldn’t a skinny tube have to break less air?

    It’s all to do with attachment of laminar airflow which results in reduced drag as summarised by the below.   In a round wire the airflow does not attach and so you get turbulence=drag behind.  In the aero section the airflow attaches and you get minimal turbulence and so low drag.  However, in the aero section if you start to change the angle of the airflow you do get turbulence at the trailing edge and so in a crosswind drag increases.   So the challenge is that this also has to work where the airflow is not necessarily straight ahead.  In essence this is achieved by some rounding of the trailing edge to reduce trailing edge turbulence as the angle of attack increases.  So optimising the shape is more to do with reducing turbulence as the angle of attack changes.  If the airflow was always directly ahead a narrow aero blade would be more efficient but as the angle of attack changes some fattening of the section will help the airflow to remain attached on the downstream side to minimise turbulence/drag.

  17. Sorry to drag you all away from the fascinating science, which I don’t really understand and which is all starting to sound like ways of “breaking wind” more efficiently.  I’m amazed that no-one has yet posted this…

  18. Insert “Dueling Banjos” at 1:30

  19. @ChrisO

    The last time anyone got excited about the hour record was the Boardman/Obree era and why was that? Because you had two people who were not only great athletes but also prepared to apply innovation – new things get people interested.

    Just goes to show how clueless the UCI was (is?) about their own sport, thinking the innovation in the Hour was killing the spirit of it.

    Of course, that’s also the attitude Desgrange had during his reign in the Tour, but overall, when innovation does spur interest, as you say.

    But in the end, we just want to see people go batshit fast. Bring it on.

    It was a ridiculous division – why did it stop at Merckx? Why not insist on replicas of bikes from 1910? Why not set an altitude limit?

    Actually, I think Boardman was behind the decision, or at least was involved in it. Honorable then that he at least went and broke the Merckx record, but still so ridiculous.

    I just wish the Swiss Bitch would STFU and have a go. His whining is on par with his time trialling.

    Christ I’ve missed hanging around here while getting the servers humming again. That last line is gold.

  20. @ChrisO

    @hyppy Totally agree The Hour should be there – I’ve said it before. And his new book Faster is pretty good too, but The Hour is a classic deserving of being in The Works.

    I wish we could get the fucking book outside the UK so I could read it and make the call. I’ve heard excellent things but can’t get my hands on the bloody thing.

  21. @Ccos

    Well thankfully Fignon didn’t take aerodynamics all that seriously at a particular time trial in late 1989. Perhaps that rig was his way of overcompensating.

    That’s a Renault Gitane, so it would have been a bike for an attempt some time in the early to mid 80’s. I’m guessing ’84.

    @anhtony

    @thefringthing

    Boardman, Obree, Moser, Rominger, and Indurain don’t all get their records back. The line is still Sosenka’s record, which is a bit silly because beating it on a modern pursuit bike won’t be that hard, relatively speaking. Honestly I think the old status quo with two categories, Merckx and aero, was better than these new rules.

    Not sure what I think about them being able to use pursuit bikes other than maybe the idea is that it would be more apealing to attempt for TT guy’s, I guess if get’s people more excited about it I am ok with it .

    The point is that it is an ITT, so the gear should be allowed. In fact, I hope the rules get relaxed enough that they get to innovate a bit again as well rather than just using the same bikes.

  22. @Deakus

    @ChrisO

    Yeah except nobody was prepared to actually do it so the whole thing was shoved away into a corner.

    The last time anyone got excited about the hour record was the Boardman/Obree era and why was that? Because you had two people who were not only great athletes but also prepared to apply innovation – new things get people interested.

    It was a ridiculous division – why did it stop at Merckx? Why not insist on replicas of bikes from 1910? Why not set an altitude limit?

    I just wish the Swiss Bitch would STFU and have a go. His whining is on par with his time trialling.

    +1 he is behaving these days more like Frandy than any sort of Spartacus. There is an awful lot of guff escaping from his face and none of it is emanating from his legs.

    All this talk of not wanting to tow people to the line, and cobbles being too hard when they’re wet…for fucks sake. It’s that awful fucking kit Trek is wearing, it’s impossible to have morale wearing something like that.

  23. @Mike_P

    Sorry to drag you all away from the fascinating science, which I don’t really understand and which is all starting to sound like ways of “breaking wind” more efficiently. I’m amazed that no-one has yet posted this…

    Gutted not to do it again this year, but I’ve got a plan to do it on the anniversary of Merckx’s ride this October.

  24. @frank

    @ChrisO

    @hyppy Totally agree The Hour should be there – I’ve said it before. And his new book Faster is pretty good too, but The Hour is a classic deserving of being in The Works.

    I wish we could get the fucking book outside the UK so I could read it and make the call. I’ve heard excellent things but can’t get my hands on the bloody thing.

    Need someone to source and send you a copy?

  25. @frank

    @Mike_P

    Sorry to drag you all away from the fascinating science, which I don’t really understand and which is all starting to sound like ways of “breaking wind” more efficiently. I’m amazed that no-one has yet posted this…

    Gutted not to do it again this year, but I’ve got a plan to do it on the anniversary of Merckx’s ride this October.

    This was sooo much fun following the live feed last year.  We need to have more events where Frahnk kills himself and we can all sit back and laugh and get fucked up in our own houses at the same time.

  26. Never been on the boards but going for the first time at the weekend.  Looking forward to a buzz.

  27. @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Mike_P

    Sorry to drag you all away from the fascinating science, which I don’t really understand and which is all starting to sound like ways of “breaking wind” more efficiently. I’m amazed that no-one has yet posted this…

    Gutted not to do it again this year, but I’ve got a plan to do it on the anniversary of Merckx’s ride this October.

    This was sooo much fun following the live feed last year. We need to have more events where Frahnk kills himself and we can all sit back and laugh and get fucked up in our own houses at the same time.

    I’d tune in, especially if there were some system by which we could drunkenly support/heckle him as he destroys himself. And/or compares himself to some sort of ubermench at the start like this one.

  28. @Owen

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Mike_P

    Sorry to drag you all away from the fascinating science, which I don’t really understand and which is all starting to sound like ways of “breaking wind” more efficiently. I’m amazed that no-one has yet posted this…

    Gutted not to do it again this year, but I’ve got a plan to do it on the anniversary of Merckx’s ride this October.

    This was sooo much fun following the live feed last year. We need to have more events where Frahnk kills himself and we can all sit back and laugh and get fucked up in our own houses at the same time.

    I’d tune in, especially if there were some system by which we could drunkenly support/heckle him as he destroys himself. And/or compares himself to some sort of ubermench at the start like this one.

    Isn’t this place, right here, where we normally drunkenly heckle Frank? If only we could somehow organise Frank versus Haleakala versus The Hour as an event in two halves to run one immediately after the other. That’s got to be worth pay-per-view.

  29. @frank

    @Ccos

    Well thankfully Fignon didn’t take aerodynamics all that seriously at a particular time trial in late 1989. Perhaps that rig was his way of overcompensating.

    That’s a Renault Gitane, so it would have been a bike for an attempt some time in the early to mid 80″²s. I’m guessing ’84.

    @anhtony

    @thefringthing

    Boardman, Obree, Moser, Rominger, and Indurain don’t all get their records back. The line is still Sosenka’s record, which is a bit silly because beating it on a modern pursuit bike won’t be that hard, relatively speaking. Honestly I think the old status quo with two categories, Merckx and aero, was better than these new rules.

    Not sure what I think about them being able to use pursuit bikes other than maybe the idea is that it would be more apealing to attempt for TT guy’s, I guess if get’s people more excited about it I am ok with it .

    The point is that it is an ITT, so the gear should be allowed. In fact, I hope the rules get relaxed enough that they get to innovate a bit again as well rather than just using the same bikes.

    Is innovation really that great? I mean, look at the lead photo and the Trek 7 series aero, their grotesque mutations of the fabulous machine we call a bike.  I think the UCI is a bit arcane and mysterious sometimes with their rules sometimes, but without some of those rules we might see Pro-Tour riders TT’ing on recumbents due to better aerodynamic properties or on some crazy contraption made out of a dishwasher. Respect the Bike.

  30. @therealpeel

     

    Is innovation really that great? I mean, look at the lead photo and the Trek 7 series aero, their grotesque mutations of the fabulous machine we call a bike. I think the UCI is a bit arcane and mysterious sometimes with their rules sometimes, but without some of those rules we might see Pro-Tour riders TT’ing on recumbents due to better aerodynamic properties or on some crazy contraption made out of a dishwasher. Respect the Bike.

    The Trek is limited by having to conform to the basic Diamond (double triangle) shape currently required by UCI regs.  As I remember it it was the likes of the below that made them restrict development.

  31. @Mike_P

    Sorry to drag you all away from the fascinating science, which I don’t really understand and which is all starting to sound like ways of “breaking wind” more efficiently. I’m amazed that no-one has yet posted this…

    Did the video cut just as they got to the result?

  32. @Owen

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Mike_P

    Sorry to drag you all away from the fascinating science, which I don’t really understand and which is all starting to sound like ways of “breaking wind” more efficiently. I’m amazed that no-one has yet posted this…

    Gutted not to do it again this year, but I’ve got a plan to do it on the anniversary of Merckx’s ride this October.

    This was sooo much fun following the live feed last year. We need to have more events where Frahnk kills himself and we can all sit back and laugh and get fucked up in our own houses at the same time.

    I’d tune in, especially if there were some system by which we could drunkenly support/heckle him as he destroys himself. And/or compares himself to some sort of ubermench at the start like this one.

    We should be able to make all your dreams come true.

    @Mike_P

    @Owen

    @Buck Rogers

    @frank

    @Mike_P

    Sorry to drag you all away from the fascinating science, which I don’t really understand and which is all starting to sound like ways of “breaking wind” more efficiently. I’m amazed that no-one has yet posted this…

    Gutted not to do it again this year, but I’ve got a plan to do it on the anniversary of Merckx’s ride this October.

    This was sooo much fun following the live feed last year. We need to have more events where Frahnk kills himself and we can all sit back and laugh and get fucked up in our own houses at the same time.

    I’d tune in, especially if there were some system by which we could drunkenly support/heckle him as he destroys himself. And/or compares himself to some sort of ubermench at the start like this one.

    Isn’t this place, right here, where we normally drunkenly heckle Frank? If only we could somehow organise Frank versus Haleakala versus The Hour as an event in two halves to run one immediately after the other. That’s got to be worth pay-per-view.

    Once Google gets Wifi at the top of the Big H, we should be able to pull it off – not in immediate succession, but at least in series.

    @therealpeel

    @frank

    @Ccos

    Well thankfully Fignon didn’t take aerodynamics all that seriously at a particular time trial in late 1989. Perhaps that rig was his way of overcompensating.

    That’s a Renault Gitane, so it would have been a bike for an attempt some time in the early to mid 80″²s. I’m guessing ’84.

    @anhtony

    @thefringthing

    Boardman, Obree, Moser, Rominger, and Indurain don’t all get their records back. The line is still Sosenka’s record, which is a bit silly because beating it on a modern pursuit bike won’t be that hard, relatively speaking. Honestly I think the old status quo with two categories, Merckx and aero, was better than these new rules.

    Not sure what I think about them being able to use pursuit bikes other than maybe the idea is that it would be more apealing to attempt for TT guy’s, I guess if get’s people more excited about it I am ok with it .

    The point is that it is an ITT, so the gear should be allowed. In fact, I hope the rules get relaxed enough that they get to innovate a bit again as well rather than just using the same bikes.

    Is innovation really that great? I mean, look at the lead photo and the Trek 7 series aero, their grotesque mutations of the fabulous machine we call a bike. I think the UCI is a bit arcane and mysterious sometimes with their rules sometimes, but without some of those rules we might see Pro-Tour riders TT’ing on recumbents due to better aerodynamic properties or on some crazy contraption made out of a dishwasher. Respect the Bike.

    Fair point, but innovation is really what drove the excitement of the Hour. Obree’s, in particular, as he busted himself on those jacked-up bikes, thinking outside the box and going batshit fast.

  33. Looks like Jacky Bobby is having a crack at the Hour too…

  34. Isn’t he handicapping himself by trying to set it in a station? I know there are big clocks everywhere that would help with the timekeeping, but surely an indoor track would be better suited?

    David

  35. Hell’s bells, I can’t keep up with all the folks going for the record. It’s like waiting for a bus: you wait for ages with nothing in sight then 5 come at once. Should be fun to watch. I see the really big names (Fabs, Tony Panzerwagen) are keeping quiet . . . maybe waiting to let the young uns make their efforts then see what they have to do. Can’t believe the UCI actually did something that generated genuine excitement. Would never have happened in McQuaid’s day, that’s for sure.

  36. Mathais Braendle  51.852 Km

    Jack Bobridge 51.3xx Km

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