Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lance Armstrong in One Hour

Rumor on the street is that Lance Armstrong might be going after the Hour Record. Apparently (according to Velonews, he booked some time at the ADT Velodrome and tested with two bikes: a Trek T1 with 28-spoked wheels, and a bike set up with aerobars and deep-section carbon wheels. Not surprisingly, reports say that in the aeroposition, Lance saw a significant increase in speed at the same power output. The reported 31.6mph (17.7 seconds per lap) would put him at pace to surpass Ondrej Sosenka's record of 49.7k (30.9 miles) record.

Sosenka's record was done on a traditional, twin-triangle bike with drop bars and spoked wheels (image here). The Hour Record is broken down into the "Athlete's Hour," which requires use of a traditional bike, and the "Best Human Performance" category, which allows for innovative use of aerodynamic equipment. Lance might be doing a feasability study on his ability to set the record in either category.

At this point it's probably premature to suggest that he has plans to set the record. If he he tested a traditional bike and an aero bike, it suggests that he hasn't decided which to go after - which means that he probably hasn't decided to go after the record. However, he does have a reputation for being an extremely well-focused and hard-training athlete. Now that he's no longer focused on winning the hell out of more Tours de France than anyone else ever and has transitioned to racing to make headlines to raise money for the Livestrong Foundation, maybe it makes sense that he'd apply his training focus to setting a record that would, by virtue of his big name, make headlines and contribute further to his "I'm racing against cancer, not the peloton" soundbyte campaign.

It would be extremely exciting to see him make a serious attempt on the Athlete's Hour Record, but it's probably too way soon to get excited about it.

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