On the 26th of April, Jayson Austin set a new (MMAS 2) World Record at the Dunc Grey Velodrome in Sydney with over 193 laps and distance (or average speed) of 48,317 km. The previous record was from American, Jason Sprouse with a distance of 45.64 km. RC talks to Jayson Austin (JA) for Bicycles Network Australia (BNA) about the phenomenal performance.
BNA: How committed were you to breaking the hour record, what training did you have to breaking the record?
JA: Since June 17 2007 my goals in cycling have been centred on breaking the Hour for my age division. I had unofficially broken the record, riding 46.41km in a training exercise. My coach at the time Peter Montford and I had set down to make an official attempt in September and had geared training to that end but ill health had meant that the attempt was squashed. I was plagued by recurring problems that no one could put a label to. Colds, tiredness, stomach problems-trouble putting consistent training back to back. My training was not intense and due to my work and health was limited to only 10-12 hours a week. It mainly centred on specific long sustained rides at my specific power levels. Peter had tested and worked out zones for me. We built from this and then incorporated interval efforts and specific track work.
When I took up cycling in mid 2000 I had listened to stories from some of the coaches and read articles on the true test of a lone cyclist’s achievement. I had thought about the challenge of pushing myself to see how far I could go -just me against the clock. It was something I aspired to do.
I really enjoyed cycling and going fast and had some success at elite level in Qld. One of my strengths was my endurance and ability to attack & attack. This was well suited to the pursuit on the track but more specifically to the points race. In 2004 I won a UCI World Masters Championship for the Points Race. My next big dream I decided was to have a crack at the Hour.
So in November 2007 Peter and I decided that summer would be a good time to try for the Hour again. My health had improved; small hip and back problems had been minimized thanks to Steve Hogg from Cyclefitcentre who was able to make adjustments to positioning and pedalling. This meant I was able to get in some solid training and everything looked very promising. I limited my racing and we set the date to February 2, 2008. Training went very well-I was jumping out of my skin but then 2 weeks out I got sick with asthma and a respiratory infection.
The UCI application for the Hour had already been paid. Officials and track booked so we went ahead. I bonked big time after some mishaps on the day-the electronic timing which is a requirement for a record attempt failed to work and I was already 4 kms into the ride when I was stopped. I was making the attempt as part of a carnival-in the tea break so I could not reschedule after a decent recovery/regroup, I did not realize the extent the illness 2 weeks ago had taken on my body and I picked the wrong gear to ride and went out too hard.
So I was pretty devastated after missing the record and then I had a bad winter-again sick, tired and ill in the stomach. I became very depressed and couldn’t even ride for 2 days straight. Finally blood tests revealed my iron levels were extremely low as was my white cell count. Further testing found I had allergic reactions to wheat and gluten and this had been causing massive problems to my internal being. I had been living with pain for a very, very long time-within a week of removing wheat & gluten from my food I was feeling so much better & so began the build again with a new coach-Alex Simmons from RSTern Professional Training Systems. Support and encouragement form my sponsors: Proline Technology P/L, Swerve Espresso, Bicisport, Hot Designs uniforms, Cyclefitcentre.com, Austin’s Timber Flooring, support from my club and RSTern Professional Training Systems made the challenge achievable.
BNA: Preparing for an hour record is rigorous; did you count calories and watch what you took in? Were you into the nutrition side of your attempt?
I am extremely lucky in that I am naturally lean. Generally in 2007 I was 64-66kg depending on the amount of kms I was riding. I am 173 cm tall. I have always been very slim and small but had lots of energy. My diet usually consisted of 3 to 4 red meat meals of steak and salad, spag bog, beef stir fry and a roast a week. Other meals would be chicken and fish. I would eat ice cream and fruit every night and have plenty of fresh vegetables-carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, beans, peas etc. I also ate potato chips and chocolate. I tried to drink plenty of fluid at work and when riding and used vitamins and sports drinks form First Endurance Aust & NZ which I believe helped me greatly. I especially was amazed at the level and results I attained after tests revealed the degree of a medical and health problem I had. I would have 3 coffees a day and generally had a couple of beers and wines on weekends. I am not a big drinker.
Once I became aware of the problem and it stopped me in my tracks I had to adjust my diet considerably. I took supplements for iron & also had B12 injections to help with the tiredness and immune system. All labels on food were read and all gluten and wheat/wheat products were removed from my diet. My gut and feeling of pain were gone and I was able to ride more powerfully & strongly. My mass now is 60.5 to 61kg. I have found that I can have the occasional wheat based food-a bun etc but cannot consume too much as it will build in my system and cause pain, nausea and if severe bleeding.
BNA: Will you make a second attempt to break your own record?
My record is 48.317 km for the 35-39 age groups. In 2010 I move up to the 40-44 age group and I am already looking to have an attempt at this record-Ken Harris USA 45.5871 kms.
BNA: Can you take us through the warm up and the hour? Were you focused solely on the hour, or were you relaxed during the warm up and when the bell rang you were in the zone?
I was very nervous and felt sick on the day of the attempt. Negative thoughts started to creep into my mind-I had been waiting 2 years to get this right and I just hoped that all would be good. Alex and I had done everything to minimise risk in the last 2 weeks. I watched my diet carefully, plenty of sleep although I was still working -I am self employed as a timber floor installer, mainly on large commercial jobs-it is pretty physical with early starts, rides either on the trainer or safe parks/circuits. I was concerned that I might puncture or the electronic timing wouldn’t work and most of all I worried about my pacing-I might go out too hard and then fall in a heap again.
Once I took to the track it all came together. The techniques Alex had worked out for me and the track sessions all flowed through me making me confident. I felt very good & when we started I went very fast-Alex was showing laps of 17 sec-way too fast -I was able to peg it back as the 52 x 15 allowed me to slow or increase pace. After 8 km I settled to the lap times that we had worked on 18.3-18.6 sec and was able to maintain that until the end. I was aware of the 184 laps I needed to set a new record and breathed a small sigh of relief when I saw that on the lap counter. I was able to speed up near the end, partially inspired by well wishers in the crowd & I put in some laps of 18sec but eased down again. I did not want to fall in a heap when the gun went for the end of the 60 minutes.
I initially felt a flood of relief, got off the bike & fell into Alex’s arms. I was able to stand OK but then when I walked down the stairs to go into the in field my legs went a bit wobbly. I got some First Endurance Ultragen into me and felt pretty good. I drank some water, spoke with sponsor Phil McKnight from Swerve Espresso and then waited to go for drug testing.
BNA: Do you think riders and coaches look at the science in cycling too much rather than just the riders and how they perform?
As an athlete-firstly as a teenager in athletics, hockey , cricket and squash I have always worked with coaches following programs set down to improve my weaknesses and work on my strengths. Testing and improvements in equipment have made it easier to get the true picture of where you are at but no amount of science can replace hard work. You need to put in the work to get the results. But then the work must be specific for you. I think in my case the use of an SRM power meter has meant that we could remove the junk kms and concentrate on good quality work outs. My kms a week were generally 300-350 with 5 or 6 days a week riding. Specific interval work really sharpened me & I responded very quickly to this type of workout. I trusted Alex to guide me with his knowledge of using the power & to put the brakes on when I went too hard-care was needed so I didn’t over cook. I do believe that you shouldn’t be only concerned by the numbers & sometimes you should just go with it & see what you can achieve.
BNA: Talking about the bike you used, what bike did you use and was setup very important to you?
BT-7.8kgs with British Cycling Federation aero bars, Uvex FP2 TT helmet, Front & Rear Zipp disc wheels, Vittoria Pista Evo CL tyres, 52 x 15 gear 3/32, 9 speed Record chain. Different equipment had been tested at training with the power and pace recorded to finalise the best equipment to use. Obviously I was not able to try other bikes etc and I was limited to equipment I could borrow or owned myself. I would like to thank Rob Upton for the use of the aero bars, Rod Wagner for the Zipp wheels and Steve Brown from Supreme Cycles for assisting with helmets. Bike positioning guru, Steve Hogg offered seats, stems and tweaking to my position that allowed me to maintain the position for the 60 minutes-truly thank you.
The whole bike position and equipment was an important part in setting the record. I needed to be able to stay in the best aero position possible for the 60 minutes but still maintain the power.
BNA: Have you set yourself any other goals for the future?
I had hoped to have a very good winter road season & compete at both masters and elite levels BUT on 2 May 2009-6 days after my record ride I was the victim of a road rage “hit & run”. I was forced into a parked car by a demented driver who continually swerved into the bike lane and “pushed me “into a stationary car. I was travelling 42 kph at the time and was flung across the bike lane 7 into the path of a following vehicle that miraculously was able to stop & not run over me. Thankfully I received no broken bones but underwent emergency for a haematoma and compartment syndrome that developed in my thigh.
I am off work and the bike for at least 10 weeks. Steve Brown from Supreme Cycles has generously offered sponsorship and will supply me with an Avanti Quantam 3 when I can get on the bike.
Bicycles Network Australia would like to congratulate Jays Austin on his Hour Record it is a great achievement. We also hope that you recover soon and back on your bike as quickly as possible.
Photo 1: ? Trevor Mullins
Photo 2: ? Ernie Smith (Alex Simmons & Jayson Austin)