16 January 2010

Come on, Fabian!

For whatever reason, the Hour Record holds a very, very special place in my heart. The current women's record is held by the Dutch phenom Leontien van Moorsel, who fought fiercely with Jeannie Longo for essentially the duration of her cycling career. Van Moorsel set the record at 46.065 km/h in October of 2003, just in time for Longo's 45th birthday, to beat Longo's second record of 45.094 km/h, set just three years prior. Van Moorsel led an undeniably impressive campaign as a pro cyclist, but Longo competed in the '08 summer Olympic games for France, and finished in the top-25 in the road race, just 33 seconds behind the lead. At 50-years-old. She makes Lance look like a spring chicken. To me, this is what the Hour Record embodies. It takes the variables out of the equation, and truly puts the rider against the clock; if the equipment was good enough for Eddy, then it's good enough for you. Yes, Lance, it's really not about the bike. It's incredible. To me, it's the truest measure of what you are as a cyclist, and conjures up the deepest of emotions as a result. For me, it reaches the same level of purity as the final run through the tunnel in Rudy. For those who know me, that is a mighty stout declaration.

I have this secret dream of travelling to Bordeaux, after having trained for this ride and this ride only, where I set the Hour Record at 46.565km/h, and Jeannie is there coaching and cheering me on, and Connie Carpenter meets me at the finish line - because after all, she is who taught me to ride in the first place. In my head, it looks something like the victory scene in The Flying Scotsman.

It is a travesty that none of today's "greats" have even attempted the record. Graeme Obree announced last May that he would attempt the record again by the end of '09, but then backed out in November. The Hour Record used to be the standard; it was the title. Fabian Cancellara told Cyclingnews: ""It's lost its importance and some of its honour. Before every big champion did it. Guys like Rominger, Hinault, Indurain, Merckx, they all did it and now the current champion is Ondrej Sosenka and nobody talks about it." He wants the record; he respects it; he gets it. I believe he will set the record, but there is no concrete plan to do so as of yet.

His next statement is probably quite honest: "The hour record is a goal but there's no time set for that. It's a big project. It's not just a ride on the track and then you're done. It's more than that. You have to find the training, the bike, the track and I think that if I'm honest there are not that many riders who can do all of that." Where have we come in cycling that there is "no time" for our great riders to go for the Hour Record, leaving it behind to wither in the dust of decades past?

I say let's go, Fabian!

1 comment:

Ben said...

I have become a huge fan of Cancellara, and would LOVE to see an assault on the hour again!