Congratulations to Nicola Walde – for setting a 3 new WUCA and GWR records during her 24 hour Outdoor Track Record in the Women’s, Solo, Velomobile categories on July 23-24, 2022

Distance Event Kilometers Time Avg Sp (Km) Avg Sp (Miles)
1000 Km Outdoor Track 21:06:42.24 47.37 29.43
Timed Events Miles Kilometers Avg Sp (Miles) Avg Sp (Km)
12 Hour Outdoor Track 379.202 610.266 31.60 50.86
24 Hour Outdoor Track 702.075 1,129.880 29.25 47.08

Report on the 24h, 1000km and 12h record attempt performed by Nicola Walde on July 23/24, 2022 on the DEKRA Lausitzring (Klettwitz, Germany)

Getting up after a mixed night on the morning of the first day, from 8:30am Daniel and I tried to get onto the DEKRA site. At 9am we finally made it to our team, I was driven to the service buildings to take a shower, and I was able to eat something. I briefed my team about planned breaks and filled my lunch boxes. I took with me: multivitamin juice and water, pasta (which I did not eat), muesli with fruit and yoghurt, grapes, and power bars.

My team had not only done a great job with the preparation of all organizational issues, but also the timekeeping and route had already been prepared. Weather conditions on this weekend were sunny with cloudy intervals, winds of 15-20km/h in the beginning that declined somewhat towards the evening but took up again on the following morning. Temperatures were around 20°C (68°F) when finally starting, rising to 25°C (77°F) in the late afternoon, back down to almost 8°C (46°F) in the early morning and rising again to 23°C (73°F) at the finish.

My record vehicle is the model “M”, a “veteran” velomobile built by my partner and crew-leader Daniel Fenn, originally for my first record attempt on the Aldenhoven Testing Center track in 2016, and later serving for my record ride in 2018. The “M” suits me very well, being one of the most lightweight velomobiles ever built. Only two “M”s were built overall. After the vehicle inspection, all I had to do was sign and then we could start. On the first lap, my M didn’t go beyond 51 km/h, on the back straight the speed even dropped to 47 km/h with a pedal power of almost 100 Watts. During my former record 2018 on the Opel track, I rode between 54 and 56 km/h at a constant 96 Watts. So I stopped right away after the first lap to ask if it was even worth trying. The M was in perfect shape, it had to be the conditions. Daniel said it’s because of the strong wind and I should ride.

So I started again at 10:35am. My motivation for this further record attempt was to improve my existing women’s 24h (and 1,000km and 12h) records, set 2018 on the Opel track in Dudenhofen (Germany), and even attack the men’s 24h record (1219km, set 2010 by Christian v. Ascheberg). However, it was clear that I wouldn’t be able to do 1200 km under the given conditions, so I was pretty sad right at the start. The first 12 hours were uneventful, 96 Watts steady at around 50.5 km/h. Actually, I would have liked to slow down a bit between hours 10 and 12, but then there would not have been a new 12-hour record. After 12 hours I wanted to do a stopover, but had to do another lap because the team wasn’t ready. The stopover then took far too long because the distances on the site were a bit too far and we weren’t optimally adjusted to each other. However, I was fit again. In the following, I was able to successfully ignore my aching feet and all sores.

I wanted to drive for the next three hours and then take another break, but then a badger ran under my M. There was a loud bang and for a moment I thought that it was a burst tire, but the vehicle continued to roll as before. We decided to continue without a check. Around 2am I stopped for the next planned short break, however again too long, because I had to look for everything. Daniel said I shouldn’t take breaks that often anymore. That was bad for the psyche, because now the most difficult phase began. Although I deliberately rode slower to last longer, the performance dropped significantly. I tried to fight it, but wasn’t sure if I could last more than eight hours of fighting. Sitting became difficult. Around 6:30am I took another brief break, only drinking some warm water, applying ointment to sores and relax my right gluteal muscle that hampered sitting.

“Only” four hours left: it improved. To secure the 1000 km record, I was able to really rev up again. However, two hours before the end there was a loss of power again, and I took a tiny break without leaving the M. Unfortunately, I left the ventilation hole closed, so the last two hours with the rising sun were much too hot. Nevertheless, when I finished at 10:36am on the second day, the 24 hour record had been improved a lot. Satisfactory given the circumstances.

Originally, I wanted to achieve a sensation by setting the men’s 24h record and retire. Now it’s a good record and time will tell w.r.t. retirement 🙂

Nicola Walde