An 81-year-old cyclist from Shropshire has given Sir Bradley Wiggins something to aim for in around 50 years’ time – by setting an age group UCI Hour record for the Hour.
Walter Fowler from Kinver rode 35.772 kilometres at the Newport Velodrome on Saturday to break the UCI Masters 80-84 record, reports Stourbridge News.
It’s the Stourbridge Cycling Club member’s third age group world record – his others being over much shorter distances in the 200 metre flying lap and 500 metre time trial.
He smashed the existing age group Hour record of 29.187 kilometres set by Peter Grandiek of New Zealand earlier this month.
But like some of the world’s top pro cyclists who have attempted the feat, he found the going tough towards the end as his legs cramped up.
“I set a target of 36 kilometres so I’m disappointed in failing to make that. I was short by nearly a lap.
“But cramp was a fear of mine and it struck in my right leg in the last 10 minutes, so I couldn’t go as hard as I had intended to.
“I passed the old record with about 12 minutes to go, so the most important thing was to ensure I finished. It would have been devastating to have had to pull up because I’d pushed too hard.”
In September last year, Sidney Schuman of Hither Green, south east London, became the first ever holder of the 80-84 age group Hour record.
Aged 84, and having only taken up track cycling four months previously, he rode more than 28 kilometres at the velodrome at Lee Valley VeloPark.
Last year, comparative stripling Mike Cotgreave from Cheshire broke the Hour record for the 70-74 age group, riding 41.227 kilometres in Newport.
You have to cross the English Channel to find the doyen of Hour record holders – in February 2012, Robert Marchand of France celebrated the centenary of his birth by pedalling 24.251 kilometres on the track at the UCI’s World Cycling Centre in Aigle, Switzerland.
Marchand, who had last ridden the boards 80 years earlier, said at the time: “I just wanted to do something for my 100th birthday.”
Last year, he rode further still at France’s national velodrome near Paris, managing 26.925km – at the age of 102.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.