Saturday morning October 1, Aaron Berntson set a new Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome one hour record of 44.1km, or approximately 27.4 miles. Stewart Bowmer held the previous record, 43.49 km/hr, set in July 2010.
With metronomic discipline Aaron pedaled each lap in 32.7 seconds +/- 0.5 seconds: 1.83 laps per minute.
Prior to starting the attempt a little after 9AM, Garage Racing teammates swept the track surface while USA Cycling officials got prepared. Before he started Aaron warmed up on his trainer for about 15 minutes, “in his happy place” with earbuds on, and getting into the zone.
Once the track was ready, coach Matt Hill briefed the Garage teammates about the procedure for timekeeping and counting laps. As Matt noted, Aaron’s attempt was going to be mathematically easy to track: He was going for at least 44 km, which was an even 110 laps around the 400 m track.
No on board electronics or communications are allowed, so to communicate splits, coach Matt would stand ahead of or behind the starting line depending on Aaron’s status.
As it turned out, despite going deep into the pain cave, Aaron demonstrated an amazing ability to pedal consistently the entire hour. Except for the first lap which was an intentionally easy 39 seconds, all 110 laps were within one half second of the target time.
Aaron’s consistent pedal stroke was amazing to all of us onlookers; as we chatted we all admitted how hard it is to stay at a steady pace even with electronic feedback. As Aaron said in one social media post, “I have a unique psychological makeup.”
During his debrief Aaron explained that the plan was to go at a steady pace the first 50 minutes then try to lift the pace in the final 10 minutes. He said by the time he got to the 50-minute mark he didn’t have anything left in the tank, but he was still able to stick with the record-setting plan.
Congratulations to Aaron on his amazing accomplishment! Now the question is, who’s next?