In the tunnel beneath the Joe Ciavola Velodrome in Darebin, a cyclist sat shattered by a ride that lasted an hour. ‘The Hour’ has been reinvigorated and two new records have been posted in recent months. But perhaps it was necessary for someone to miss the mark despite a valiant attempt so that we could get a proper understanding of the pain such a challenge conjures. Jack Bobridge finished two laps shy of Matthias Brändle’s efforts and without the elation that a ‘victory’ provides; the post-ride commentary includes some brutal honesty.
Below you’ll find a rudimentary slideshow from the night at the DISC Velodrome on 31 January 2015 with comments from Bobridge.
– Photos (and questions) by Rob Arnold
Jack Bobridge after the hour record
Rob Arnold: So they had to drag you [off the bike]. Your legs are just completely ruined…
Jack Bobridge: “Oh man, like you would never imagine. That’s the closest to death I’ll ever be without actually dying.”
You can still raise a smile though, you realise what you’ve done…
“Yeah, I think I’m in that much pain it’s funny. I don’t know what else to do but just smile. I can’t even describe how much pain my gluts and quads are in, it’s unbelievable.”
Is there any other sensation you’ve ever had that’s like this?
“Nah. That is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I think it’s the hardest thing I’ll ever do.
“Twenty minutes in, it sunk in what was happening – and what was about to happen. And 20 minutes in, there’s nowhere to go. You have to keep going and it was just utterly brutal.
“It was just brutal – the whole thing, really. There was nothing nice about anything of it.”
You say that at around 20 minutes you started to wonder. Is that the point when you realised it was a bit beyond reach or…?
“Nah, not really beyond reach but I think that’s the point when I knew what I was in for. Obviously I knew it was an hour but when you get to that 20 or 30 minute mark, it really starts to sink in what is happening – what your body is going through. It’s when you realise you’re definitely going to hell.”
After 100 laps, you started fluctuating. You’d see a really reasonable lap and then a slower one; there were almost one-second variations. What were you telling yourself when you saw that you were down, so that you could increase? There were 18.5s and then you went 17.5… was there a game in your mind?
“I guess you have to be very careful when you’re on that fine line – when you’re riding at that level and your body is on edge. If you top it over, you pay the price for the next couple of laps.
“It’s about finding that rhythm, that fine line of what you’re capable of doing and it showed sometimes – if I put too much in, I paid the penalty for a couple of laps until I got my rhythm back. When you’re in that state, it’s very hard to find that edge, that limit, and it showed some times.
“I paid the price and it took me three or four laps to find my rhythm again.
“It’s all about control, rhythm and… yeah, I don’t know what to say. It’s just torn me apart.”
Will it destroy the season? [Brad] McGee said that his hour many years ago wrote him off for a few months. So what’s this going to do to you?
“I did read that and I had a bit of a chuckle but now I understand exactly what he’s saying. [Laughs]
“With the feel of my legs, I think it’s definitely going to take some serious time to recover and I just hope to hell that I’m good for the worlds. At this point in time, I just feel like – as I’ve said – it’s the closest to death I’ll ever go without dying.”