A 105 year old recently completed a bicyling hour record ride. He's the only person over 105 years old to make an attempt, so he automatically has the record for that age category (105-110?). Before I link to it, you need some context of the "Hour Record"
One of the long-running cool parts of bicycle racing is the "Hour Record". Here's how it works:
- You ride a ride a bike on a track of known exact length.You start from a stop and go for one hour. Your laps are counted and the distance of your last partial lap, and the record is kept in kilometers.
- The track is a "velodrome". It's an oval track with banked turns. The really nice ones are made out of wood (And I guess they're only really nice if they're kept smooth).
That's basically it. A maximal one hour effort is super difficult. First, the guy has to be in super good shape and train specifically for it. Then, he has to have a near-perfect effort during the attempt. If memory serves me right, when Eddy Merckx set the hour record back in 1971 (at 49.4km, or 30.7miles) he said he probably wouldn't make any more attempts and that the effort he made was so intense, he felt like it would take some time off the end of his life (that he'd die sooner). That makes it all the more interesting that a 105 year old has made an attempt.
http://www.velonews.com/2017/01/news/10 ... ord_427263
He did less than half the distance of Merckx's record (22.5km, or 14mph. He had a better attempt two years ago and set the 100+ year old record at 17miles).
The current record is at 54km, which is really impressive as it's 34miles, but compared to the Merckx record, it's not. The current record was done using new technology - a significantly better bike and clothes. Merckx, on the same fancy bike in his prime, even with all his old 1970s training methods, 1970s nutrition, and far inferior doping methods, probably would've been faster.
This hour record is really interesting because it happens separately from all the other racing. So, there is a whole race schedule and the real races happening. No one automatically does the hour record. It's not a regular thing like, say, the NBA 3-point contest. But it is a much more serious, important, and respected thing than the 3point or slam dunk contests. A rider can make an hour record attempt when they want. But to have a chance at setting the record, you don't just decide "oh, I guess I'll try this weekend". It's something a racer would decide and plan for starting 6-12 months in advance and modify their training and racing schedules for. They also have to plan it with the governing body to get the official timing and distance measuring done. Sometimes numerous riders will make attempts in the same year. Sometimes years have gone by without anyone making an attempt.
In the 80s, people started making big aerodynamic improvements to the bikes, and by making bikes that allowed super aerodynamic body positions (significantly better than what, say, current time trialists and Ironmen competitors use now). (Just the technical side alone of the hour record progression, attempts, etc. is a super interesting subject). So -- they made it so the record could only be set using the same technology as Eddy Merckx used. (context here, Eddy Merkx was a God of bicycle racing. He was like Michael Jordan times 3. Or more. The hour record he set stood for 12 years and then the guy who beat it used disc wheels and a skinsuit (the wheels make a big difference). So the bike technology was limited to what is basically a normal road bike. When the governing body made that limitation, they also made a separate category with no or much less limitations on bike design and body position, and there have been rule changes over time.
The hour record is also cool because it's something you an also do yourself to see how you compare. To do it right, you need to ride on an "out and back" route or on a loop (so you don't just ride with a huge tailwind). Of course, your conditions on a road will never be as good as a nice velodrome.
If you want to learn more about this, there is a good documentary from the 70s about a guy named Ole Ritter making an attempt. I had a DVD of it. It's here, though the upload quality isn't the greatest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOuY7mXDWDY
(the first 5 minutes give you a good idea of how an hour record attempt works)
Here's some more information:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hour_reco ... ur_records
This page has a better table showing the records:
And some info about the Merckx record:
http://bikeraceinfo.com/riderhistories/ ... ecord.html
There are other documentaries about guys who have set hour records. Some real interesting stories about the guys who drove technical progress (one guy was doing everything on his own and I think he built the bike in his shed or barn!)