Congratulations to Toby Ellis for his new WUCA World Record on 2021-07-08

He broke the 2019 record set by Jose Manuel Diaz of Spain set at 3h 03m 10s

Riders Narrative


Record attempt: 100km Indoor Track (Masters)

Rider Name: Toby Ellis

Start: 08/07/2021 13:43:36

Finish: 08/07/2021 16:42:02

Elapsed Time: 2hrs 58mins 26 secs

Location: Geraint Thomas National Velodrome of Wales, Newport, United Kingdom

Conditions: Indoor, 20C (68F)

Equipment: Planet X Carbon Pro Frameset, Mavic Carbon Disc (Rear), Zipp 80mm Carbon (Front)

Nutrition: 80% innocent® Energise Super Smoothie, 20% water mixture. 100ml every 18 minutes


I joined the team supporting James Macdonald set a new WR for JOGLEJOG (UK end to end and back) in 2017 as a support vehicle driver. Since then I have been working with him in his velodrome record preparation and attempts as his ‘race engineer’ – I’m the voice he hears. 

However, it wasn’t until July 2020 in an effort to lose some weight that I got my 25-year-old bike out of the back of the garage and went for my first ride in about 15 years. I started riding it regularly, which quickly progressed to riding it every day. I set out every ride to try and go a little bit faster or a little bit further every day – that was my only goal!

In November I bought my first road bike and my rides continued to get faster and longer until in April 2021 I rode my first 100km. A month later I was talking to James about my numbers and he suggested that my numbers on the road would translate on track to close to the existing 100km record.

There are very few people in the world who ever get the opportunity to set a world record (ability, access to funds, equipment, venue, support crew etc. is very difficult!) and so I realised that I simply had to give this a shot and go from couch to 100km WR in 12 months!!

I knew it would be hard if not impossible as my only reference point for breaking cycling records was James and physically we couldn’t be more different – since starting I had lost over 30kg (66lbs) but was still 20kg (44lbs) heavier than him, have legs that are 6.5 Inches shorter and have less than a third of his FVC (lung capacity) and less than half his PEF (peak flow) – all a very significant disadvantage on a bike!

I have ASD (Asperger’s) and as this went undiagnosed until my late 40’s, I also suffer from very low self-esteem having to deal with the misunderstanding folks have about neural difference. 

But maybe I could achieve something incredible – I had put in the effort; over 8,500km on the bike in 2021 alone and my performance numbers were looking promising.

Timing of the attempt was going to be critical though, access to the velodrome was severely restricted due to the pandemic and James will be back in the velodrome shortly to start his preparations to put the record beyond my reach. I managed to get a 2-hour session on the track with the track coach to see if this was even a vague possibility, and after his green light managed to get a 200-lap session and a 300-lap session completed before spending the 3 weeks before the attempt in the garage on the track bike in the turbo to try and get used to the position at the required pace & watts.

On the day and in keeping with my lack of track experience, when asked if I wanted to do a practice start from the start gate after my warmup, I said ‘no – let’s just go!’

The first 200 laps went exactly to plan – average speed 34kph, average heart rate 141 and average watts 185.

On lap 234 I couldn’t live with the heat in my feet generated by wearing aero overshoes, so I stopped to let the crew cut them off. Instant relief!

On lap 303 I stopped again to let the crew loosen the bindings on my shoes – my feet were swelling and didn’t think I could make it to the end with that much pain and reasoned that, although the relief would potentially be short-lived, by the time the pain became unbearable again I would have less than (hopefully!) 50 laps to go and so could ride through the pain for the remaining laps.

Sure enough, the last 50 or so laps were unbelievably painful! Not just my feet, but my whole body seemed to be on fire. I had never experienced anything like it before in my life and had no previous experience to call on to help get me through it – my last competitive sporting experience was at school as a 12-year-old and had bottled it. 

But I was determined to prove to myself that I was not the ‘vapid and frivolous wastrel who would amount to nothing’ that I had been labelled with as a kid. I had come to the velodrome to complete 400 laps and that was what I was going to do no matter what.

The crew had realised that the automated timing system did not detect the 2 laps I had stopped on (due to covid restrictions the team confined themselves to the start/finish straight and so did not stop me on the back straight as per normal and so I wasn’t far enough up the track to trip the sensor on those 2 laps) and so, to ensure all eventualities were covered, stopped the lap counter board I could see for 2 laps without me noticing. That meant that when I finished after what I thought was 400 laps, I had actually completed 402 laps. I insisted the lapboard was correct for the Team Photo.

WUCA Record Certificate -Toby Ellis 2021-07-08