WUCA 6 Hour Women’s Indoor Track Cycling Record Attempt

Katharine Ford, UK, WUCA no. 8161

The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, 1000 London Road, Glasgow, United Kingdom

2nd of July 2017, 09:00am – 15:00pm GMT.

At 09:00am GMT, beginning with a standing start, I set out to attempt the WUCA Women’s 100 mile, 6 Hour and 12 Hour Indoor Track records, however it was unknown to me at the time, other than the pain experienced just how difficult of a start I had given myself to attempting Anna Mei’s incredible 100 mile and 12 Hour records. I had slipped and fallen from my rollers before I began the ride, but given myself what I had thought at the time, was simply a dead arm. Despite thinking in advance I could use the exceptionally steep banking of the 250 meter Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, it still remains one of the most technical velodromes in Europe, if not globally. However due to the extensive training previous to the record attempt, the foam blocks on the Cote d’Azure, to ensure that the 250 meter line was not breached, were not touched once.

Previous to the 12 Hour Indoor Track WUCA record attempt, my proudest achievement in Ultra Cycling was the completion of the 2008 Race Across America, becoming in the process, the first Scottish rider to ever complete the race, done in my 4 woman team in 8 days 6 hours and 55 minutes. While I was able to achieve my aim of using the 2008 ride to gain some awareness of my medical condition of epilepsy, my subsequent honour of carrying the Olympic flame in 2012, in part due to the RAAM finish, left me wanted to attempt a significant record within an epilepsy focused team, so that I felt I then truly deserved the honour of carrying the Olympic flame.  And so, 4 and a half years of searching, I finally secured a venue to attempt the Women’s 12 Hour Indoor Track Cycling record, along with the 100 mile and 6 Hour records.

It was a source of great pride, that I would be the first woman to attempt the Indoor Track 6 Hour WUCA record.

Food and hydration was vitally important during the ride. Over hydration in a previous 12 Hour Static world record attempt, not only saw me fall 7.6km short of the world record, but also suffer from Hyponatremia and meant a hospital stay. As a result, one of the biggest considerations in the ride itself was making sure that urine and weight loss was monitored as much as possible by the Crew doctor. It was difficult for sure with the issues around a dry mouth over the period to swallow certain foodstuffs, however, by far the toughest part of the ride was the position on the bike itself. Food included peanut butter sandwiches, to sweet protein balls and a particular invention for the ride, of rocket wrapped in prosciutto. No fancy gels or sweets to be found, but carefully monitored hydration including protein shakes, water with electrolyte tabs and water and honey instead.

The Dolan DF4 with it’s 4 Spoke Fast Forward wheelset and Miche Pistard Air crankset was a beautifully aerodynamic and light bike to ride, however it was also a fixed 49/15, 88’ gear, which required acceleration on a constant basis to maintain speed, difficult when, unknown at the time, I was carrying a Radial Head left arm Fracture, which limited the position of sitting up on the bike, leaning my left wrist on the outer bars for longer than 10 seconds, before having to go back into the aero position. As a result emergency physio was required in order to maintain speed, however in hour 11 or the ride, I experienced Shermer’s neck for the first time in my cycling career. The position was taking it’s toll and it was the hardest part of the ride, the second half of which, I was desperate to better my first 6 hours riding. The pain clearly was taking its toll, despite a strong second wind between hour 6 and 8.

It was the first 6 hours or the ride however that produced the longest distance over 6 hours. 627 250 meter laps, 156.75km, 97.4miles.

It was in fact hitting the half way mark of the 12 hour ride that was the most enjoyable part of the ride, not simply for the psychological boost of being half way to finishing the first ever British 12 Hour Indoor Track Cycling ride, but also the possibility that the ride to that point, could become the first ever WUCA Women’s 6 Hour Indoor Track record.

Katharine Ford.