Not long now

posted in: Uncategorized | 20

In the past few weeks as I’ve been doing more interviews or having conversations about my Hour attempt, a recurring question has been “what have you learned?”

Let me tell you, it’s a very long list!

Perhaps that might explain why I have been feeling so agitated with only one week to go: I’ve improved from zero to …. somewhere in the territory of ‘good,’ where ‘great’ is Rohan Dennis, ‘amazing’ is Alex Dowsett and ‘exceptional’ is everybody’s favourite knight rider, Sir Bradley Wiggins.

And I still have a lot to learn.

I might be approaching my 10000 hours on a bike since I took up IM Triathlon in 2006 but I’m a bit behind schedule (track joke) on riding the black line at high speed, among many MANY other tasks…

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So, aside from coming a long way from that first track session in July when I was terrified of crashing, dying of an anxiety-induced tachycardia, or just being totally and completely incompetent (which is my standard fear), I have encountered a lot more challenges, and some even more unexpected wonderful occurrences.

There have been so many people willing to give their time, accept feedback, encourage and be involved in this process, and I have been truly blown away by them.

One such company is Endura, who created the most awesome aero suit for Mr Dowsett when he broke the record earlier in 2015, and they never cease to amaze me with their professionalism.

Despite less than ideal circumstances (I live in Melbourne, they’re in the UK) for creating a custom, bespoke aero suit to minimise drag and fit ME perfectly, they have been nothing but efficient, clear, considerate, willing to accept questions and suggestions, and create a completely open dialogue about something integral to my performance.

Jim McFarlane has built an organisation with integrity and a great reputation and I can’t recommend them highly enough.

Bridie-22

 

Raoul Leuscher of LeuscherTeknik has been a long-time aero specialist and highly skilled engineer in Melbourne, assisting cyclists and triathletes in aero set up, and more importantly, modifying elements of their set up to work best in real world situations.

He and his assistant Liam, along with Dr Stephen Lane and his HPTek colleague and mechanic Ken Ballhause were very clever in coming up with the best way to remain UCI legal while keeping me as aero and comfortable (or not in agony) as possible.
Bridie-4

 

The energetic and devoted women’s cycling photographer, Kirsty Baxter, was generous enough with her time during the flurry of racing at Ballarat for our National Championships to meet me at the velodrome last week so we could capture some pics for all the excellent technical partners in this project.

This woman is busy, and like so many people associated with domestic cycling, she frequently gives her time for free to improve the reporting and promotion of women’s side of the sport in particular.

Thanks to her, we have better images of the wonderful equipment I’m using next Friday night at the SuperDrome in Adelaide.

I couldn’t do this without any of them:

Graeme Moffett and Lucien Keene of Cervélo Australia

Chad Moore of Mavic

Mark Swift at Ultimate Sports Engineering

Weston Snyder of Dash Cycles

Jamie Reidy of Fetha custom components

Sam Layzell and Power2Max Australia

Alex and Charlotte at Muc-Off

Aria from C-bear

 

And in a short ode to coaches, I want to specifically thank Dr Stephen Lane.

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I have had the fortune (and misfortune) over my ~20 years as an athlete to be under the command of many different coaches. Some were highly skilled and experienced, some were lacking, others incompetent.

Some were desperate to be liked, and some were self-serving arseholes who thought of nothing but their contract KPIs and the dollar value of a medal for our country.

I have had wonderful, enthusiastic and inspiring coaches like Mark Fenner.

I’ve been screamed at by Italian Director Sportifs with clearly no other strategy than to ‘inspire’ their rider with abuse and humiliation.

I was nurtured and developed from a no-name, know-nothing ex-rower into a good rider by Donna Rae-Szalinski, Warren McDonald and Dan Dwyer and I can’t thank these three generous humans enough.

Those coaches who are ambitious, flexible, clever and put an athlete’s needs first are few and far between.

And trust me when I say, it’s not only an athlete who experiences these challenges, I know many great coaches who bemoan the exhaustive, stressful experiences they encounter with athletes for whom the ‘fit’ clearly doesn’t work. (The same arsehole described above loved me when I was winning but I’m sure he found me intolerable when I wasn’t).

So, like any important relationship, its success is absolutely dependent on context and timing. The best coach for us as a beginner is not always best for us 10 years later.

 

For this enormous, frightening and exciting challenge, I have the perfect person.

He is smart, collaborative, experienced, empathetic AND he promised to buy me a 3D printed elephant if I achieve our goal #winning

elephant

 

I hope you can come on Friday January 22nd to the Adelaide Superdrome & help me do my best to honour and thank all these people who have supported me!

 

 

 

 

 

20 Responses

  1. Jayson Austin

    Good luck Bridie,
    Having ridden a couple hour attempts myself. I know all the hours and hard work that goes into an attempt . Going in with a schedule and not getting caught up in the moment is super critical. Maintaining the pace that you have done in training and you find that on the day you will be able to lift in the last 10mins and achieve what you have set out to do. The hour is like no other. This is why only a few are brave enough to have a go…. Best of luck Jay.

  2. Thanks Jay – you’re absolutely right about staying calm & sticking to the plan. I appreciate it :)

  3. Tom Leaper

    Good luck Bridie, really hope you smash it! I will be watching online, so will be yelling from Melbourne for you.

  4. Great blog post Bridie! I wish you the best of luck and can’t wait to hear how you have gone, I will be racing in sydney so won’t make it to watch you. Have a massive go!

  5. Marg Noonan

    Best of luck Bridie,
    I would love to be there cheering you on at the velodrome but I will be hopefully watching it on TV in Byron Bay. You are an inspiration to all women and I know you will give it your best shot. Go Girl! xx

  6. Where do we find details of times/tickets??

  7. Annie Lane

    Hi Bridie, I have to admit to being a very proud mum of your coach….l could be just slightly bias, and I don’t know much about cycle racing, let alone world record attempts, but although I can’t fit in Stephen’s van to come across to Adelaide to be there physically with you and your team, I will certainly be there in spirit urging you on! You and others have worked so hard, so very warm wishes for a safe and resounding record breaking event!! I’m just off to search for a 3D elephant!!’

  8. Good luck Bridie, I’m hoping you smash it.
    2016 was going to be my first TDU visit, and seeing your Hour record attempt was going to be a massive part of that. As luck would have it, my own health cartwheeled arse-over-head this week with some kind of bizarre infection, or at least that’s what the doctors tell me. Bloody doctors eh?
    So no TDU for me this year, but I’m still hoping to see you return to Melbourne with the new Hour record under your belt…..and hopefully a 3D printed elephant too!!

  9. 6pm start for Meares & the sprinters’ racing
    8pm start for my Hour
    Gen Adm tickets at the door $20 http://sa.cycling.org.au/News/All-News/Track/bridie-odonnells-attempt-on-womens-uci-hour-record

  10. Hi Annie! thanks so much for your note and kind words – you made a good one w SL! x

  11. Thanks Margie xx

  12. Great article Bridie. You’re in great hands for this attempt, so you’ve given yourself the best chance of a great result. I’ll be there to cheer you on.

  13. Gonna pop in on Friday night after watching the TDU and see you smash it out. Very best of luck on your attempt.

  14. Bridie, your not shying away from difficult challenges, the courage to attempt what some ables not dare and putting in the tremenduous efforts required, to many you broke the record already. You can ride with your head held high. Darn, aero, of course! Go, champ! Aria (c-bear.com bicycle ceramic bearings)

  15. Jonathan

    Bridie, I am following you from cold wet northern England on the other side of the world and as father of two girls absolutely love the example you set for women and girls in sport and in life. I coach young cyclists, taking them from 6 through to 16 and it breaks my heart to see them lost for want of a decent coach in the adult world. How very generous of you to take time to thank and name-check people that have helped you along the way. I wish you every success on Friday. Having seen Sarah Storey’s hour I acknowledge what a massive undertaking it is but you seem well-prepared and it would be great to see the mark pushed out a chunk. Forza Bridie!

  16. thankyou, Jonathan, for your well wishes and lovely words. Your two girls will be as lucky as I was to have a Da that wants the best for the, in their sporting and academic future!

  17. Milessio

    Chapeau, awesome speedy metronome!
    Great coverage too (watching in England).

  18. Bridie, congratulations! You are the women’s hour record holder!
    What you’ve done takes serious courage! I feel privileged to have witnessed your success at the Superdrome. What’s most impressive, is your humility. You still acknowledge the people that have forged your career (good or bad).
    Enjoy your success and may the record stand for years to come.

  19. […] has a blog on her website, with shout-outs to her sponsors in this post, and has some lovely post-Hour thoughts and posts on her facebook, instagram and […]

  20. Congrats Bridie on an awesome performance on Friday! I echo Nick’s comments about being privileged to be there – I think the poor fellow in front of me now needs a hearing test :). A great athletic and mental performance; I was also impressed with your humility and how sincerely you were able to acknowledge the many people who have helped you; it should be no surprise that you had (have) that many supporters. A great set of photos on Cycling Tips http://cyclingtips.com/2016/01/photo-gallery-bridie-odonnells-world-record-breaking-hour/ and yes you were consistently a little untidy on turn #1 😉

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