UCI Women’s Hour Record

posted in: Australia, Uncategorized | 12



Yes, it’s true*


track session pic 7


I’m making an attempt on the UCI Women’s Hour Record.


This has been a pretty scary and invigorating mission to embark on – not least of all because when one puts herself on the line by setting a date for when preparation, logistics, form and equipment need to be at their very best, well…. it becomes very real.


Despite many successful (and unsuccessful) attempts on the men’s Hour Record in quick succession, with new distances set by Voigt, Dennis, Dowsett and finally Wiggins, the women’s Hour Record was a distance untouched for 12 years.

In 2003, Dutchwoman and 4-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Leontien van Moorsel rode 46.065km in Mexico City (thanks Robert Chung for catching my mistake!).

7 weeks ago on September 12, Berkeley Law Professor, Molly Schaffer van Houweling rode nearly a full lap further past that at Aguascalientes, Mexico, finally breaking the 12 year old record, notching up 46.273km which was also a Masters WR and a US Record.

41yo van Houweling is an amateur like me, and by amateur, I mean she doesn’t make a living riding her bike.

But, she and her husband, Rob are incredibly professional in all the things they do.

You can listen to them talk about the process of her attempts here on the Cycling Time Trial podcast, and read her blog where she describes the hurdles, logistics, challenges and successes she had in her development from National level road time trialist to World Hour Record holder.


The Aguascalientes velodrome is at an altitude of ~1887m above sea level, which means increased speed due to thinner air, but greater physiological demand due to a lower partial pressure of oxygen.

As Olympic and World Track Champion Anna Meares has said about the racing there,

“it’s a double-edged sword, it can really bring some great speed because of the lower resistance in the air that you’re pushing but then it can also really burn up your lungs and wreck your system because you’re not getting the amount of oxygen that you’re used to getting into your body to operate it at that level.


I started thinking about making an attempt on the Hour Record early this year, many months after the UCI changed the regulations to allow modern track bikes.

Once I had made my decision to embark on this, the enquiries I made, the long list of requests, permissions, endorsements and paperwork necessary to make an official UCI endorsed attempt took a few months.

Then there was the enormous financial cost of getting put back into the Registered Testing Pool to establish a biological passport and prove to the UCI that I’m a normal human woman and not a machine….(for disclosure in another blog post, perhaps!)


As I established when I first got on the boards at the DISC velodrome in Melbourne a few months ago, there were a lot of things I had to learn.

Fortunately, I would be working with motivated and excellent sport scientists, dedicated technical partners and equipment sponsors with experience and Hour-record know how.

I met with HPTek and immediately we knew we had to implement appropriate, specific and targeted training methodology as well as develop intervention strategies that would allow me to cope with performing in adverse conditions.


Importantly, though, it was clear to me from the start that I would make my Hour attempt here in Australia, and therefore at sea level (hey, if it was good enough for Alex Dowsett and Sir Bradley Wiggins…!) so this meant I would need all the help I could get.

It meant wrangling a crowd, building some atmosphere and hopefully creating a great event for spectators and promoting women’s cycling in the process.

What better a way to have all out hard work, preparation, data collection, and learnings and capitalize on the number of fans that attend the biggest, best cycling event in Australia, than hold it on the Friday night of the Tour Down Under.


This is a truly a year-long team mission and we have less than 3 months to go.

To the many people who have generously provided their time, support, belief, knowledge, equipment and expertise to get this off the ground, I really want to acknowledge and thank them:


Rod and Barbara Dux of Dux Dreams Foundation

Ben Young at Frank Green

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank

Sport Scientists Dr Stephen Lane PhD and Ken Ballhause B.Sc at HPTek

Alex Simmons of AeroCoach    

Graeme Moffett & Lucien Keene at Derby Cycles for my beautiful Cervélo T4 & 3T front end

Sam Layzell at Power2Max

Jim McFarlane #drag2zero Endura Sport

Jamie Reidy of Fetha Custom Components

Stacy Sims of OsmoNutrition

Max Stevens at Cycling Events National & Cycling Australia

Craig Eastwood and the Cycling Victoria staff at DISC

Santos Tour Down Under

Tracey Gaudry, UCI Vice President & President of the Oceania Cycling Federation

Johnny Wurtz, massage therapist at Pure Physio

Mark Fenner, Michael Inglis, David James, Molly & Rob van Houweling, Dame Sarah Storey, Xavier Disley, Michael Hutchinson, Alex Dowsett and of course, Nick Mitchell.


So, if you’re in #Radelaide, come along and cheer for some (or all!) of the long, painful 60 minutes, please do!

Only 81 days to go! #BridiesHour




*oh yeah, thanks to some cycling media hombres who don’t believe in respecting press release embargoes, the cat was out of the bag on Friday arvo, but out of respect to all the wonderful people who have helped me get this thing going, and to keep it under wraps as per UCI protocol, I waited until this morning to tell you.

Hey, I’ve been called some nasty names in my day, but I am not a ‘full time Orthopaedic Surgeon‘ …. #factcheck






12 Responses

  1. Robert Chung

    Best of luck! That’s a great (and knowledgeable) list of supporters!

    (van Moorsel set her record in Mexico City, not Aguascalientes).

  2. thanks Robert! I’ve edited the post :)

  3. Best of luck Bridie, looking forward to getting to the event to cheer for you and thanks for such an insightful piece of the behind the scenes work involved in making this happen.

  4. Darron Muir

    I’ll be there to cheer you along!

  5. Best of luck Bridie, I would love to be in Radelaide but one must be at work. Hope you have been able to glean all of the best information from recent attempts and conditions are perfect! Reckon you should drop the hint on “The Project” :)

  6. […] have to admit, I’ve never really been a fan of The Hour Record, but when I read that Bridie O’Donnell is going to be making her attempt at it on 22nd January 2016, in Adelaide, I had to find out more, as I am a fan of Dr O’Donnell.  […]

  7. Best of luck ! Wow great to see you giving it a crack !! Enjoy the ride.

  8. […] Australia’s Bridie O’Donnell is intent on nudging the mark higher, planning an attempt for January 22, 2016 in Adelaide, where […]

  9. Best of luck Bridie for this massive event. I will be following your progress. What a massive undertaking! Train hard and keep focussed.

  10. Please make sure you post up all the deets on how to get tickets so we can come and cheer ourselves stupid for you, will be a highlight of TDU this year! Go get em superwoman!

  11. Ben van der Griend

    Best of luck Bridie. I’ll be cheering you on from Christchurch. If I yell hard enough you might be able to hear me.

  12. Ben! How are you?! I’m sure I’ll hear you from there!

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