Molly Van Houweling (Metromint Cycling) set a new American Hour record of 46,088m at the Velodromo Bicentenaro in Aguascalientes, Mexico on Friday evening. Her record also qualifies as a Master’s 40-44 UCI World Best Performance.
It is now the somewhat confusing case that Van Houweling’s record exceeds the current world record of 46,065m (known as the UCI Hour Record) that Leontin Van Moorsel established in Mexico City in 2003. Van Houweling’s attempt was overseen by a UCI International Commissaire and meets the technical requirements for a UCI Hour Record. However, it is not an official UCI Hour Record because Van Houweling has only been enrolled in the UCI Registered Testing Pool and biological passport program since March. The UCI requires that a rider be enrolled in this anti-doping program for 5-10 months prior setting the UCI Hour Record. Van Houweling was only enrolled in this program when she set her sites on UCI Hour Record. The program includes all ProTour men but only a very small handful of women. Even those who are already in the program are required to undergo additional intensive testing to be eligible to set the UCI Hour Record, because the UCI considers this their most prestigious record.
Van Houweling tells NorCal Cycling news, “I am completely thrilled to have gone past Van Moorsel’s long-standing record on this attempt, even if only by a few meters. It was my pacing goal and it was a daunting standard to meet.”
Van Moorsel set her record under now-discarded rules that restricted riders to a standard drop bar track bike similar to the bike that Eddy Merckx used to set the men’s hour record in 1972. Those rules were relaxed a year ago to allow riders to use a track pursuit bike. This rule change revived interest in the record, and led to a series of attempts on the Men’s record. It has been extended multiple times during the last year, and was recently pushed to 54,526m by Sir Bradley Wiggins.
On the women’s side, Olympic and World Champion Van Moorsel’s record has proven more stubborn. The only woman to officially attempt the record under the new rules was Dame Sarah Storey of Great Britian, who came up more than 500m short in February. Van Houweling observed, “Van Moorsel really put in an incredible ride when she set that record. Unlike the men’s record that existed before the rule change, her standard has not proven to be so ‘soft,’ as Dame Sarah Storey’s experience proved.”
Van Houweling partly credits her success to bringing the record back to its traditional home in Mexico. Many people know that Merckx established his classic record on the velodrome in Mexico City at an elevation of over 7000ft. Mexico figures equally in the history of the Women’s Record with both Van Moorsel and Jeannie Longo setting their standards there. Van Houweling tells us “I chose the beautiful and fast velodrome in Aguascalientes, Mexico as the location for my attempt. It is situated at 6200ft where the thin air brings aerodynamic advantages, though they come with some physiological risks for endurance events. The staff at the velodrome and the Instituto del Deporte de Aguascalientes have been incredibly welcoming to me and the Performance Cycle Coaching group I came here with.”
Van Houweling also points the the help of many others in her successful record attempts. “My coach Dave Jordaan designs my training. Nutritionist Anne Guzman helps with the fuel. Stacy Sims and OSMO Nutrition are my experts on heat and hydration. Beyond Aero in Berkeley has provided financial and technical support. USE supplied my slippery TULA aerobars. CeramicSpeed contributed speedy bearings and an UltraFast chain. And Atomic SS coated critical parts to reduce my drivetrain drag to a minimum. And, of course, my Metromint road teammates have been supportive as I pursue this unusual goal and inspirational as they continue to dominate NorCal road racing!”
What’s up next? Van Houweling reports that she is currently trying to organize another record attempt in late August when she will she will meet all of the UCI eligibility requirements.
More photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/18472724@N00/sets/72157655416422406
And a race report here: http://metromintcycling.com/?news_1436035356
And a video with commentary by Jim Turner here: https://youtu.be/dc5I8mJR7ug
There’s more exciting NorCal news from Mexico: The group that joined Van Houweling in Aguascalientes included four other masters cyclists from Northern California who also set new national and world records. Ethan Boyes set new world records in the 35-39 flying 200m (10.287) and 35-39 kilo (1:02.950). Ethan also set a new USA Elite flying 250 record (12.937). Mark Rodamaker set a 65-69 flying 200m world record (11.778). Mary Ellen Allen set a new 65-69 2k pursuit world record (2:41.369). Finally, Jim Turner set a new USA 75+ flying 250 record (17.580).
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