AusCycling | Is Adelaide home to the junior Hour Record?: Aston Freeth's hour of power

Is Adelaide home to the junior Hour Record?: Aston Freeth's hour of power

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South Australia’s Aston Freeth is staking his claim as the unofficial U19 Hour Record holder, following his late-September attempt which saw him cover 48.480km at Adelaide Super-Drome.

The Port Adelaide Cycling Club member entered the night targeting Eddy Merckx’s 1972 mark of 49.432km, set in the thin air of Mexico City.

In less-than-optimal weather conditions, Freeth fell four laps short of his hour distance goal, but this was not the be-all and end-all, with the then 17-year-old South Australian Sports Institute (SASI) rider comfortable acknowledging pre-attempt that any number he hit would be “bloody amazing”.

“It was just quite a special night,” Freeth said.

“The track was a bit cold; it was 22 degrees, I think. If it was 30 degrees that would’ve given me a lap or two. (And) air density could’ve been better, could’ve been worse, but it is what it is.”

Riding a 58x15 gear, Freeth said he was working towards a negative split schedule for the hour.

“I do not remember for the life of me whether it was negative or not, or if I flatlined it by accident,” he said.

“But that is probably because during the effort I was trying to concentrate on holding Josh (Harrison) to the line, so whether I was gradually increasing the speed or not, I don’t know.

“I think I might have negative split but it would’ve been quite a slight negative split.

“Occasionally my mind wandered a bit, for the first 30 minutes I didn’t even realise how far I went because as I said, I was only concentrating on holding Josh to the line.

“So, the first time I looked up to see my lap count and I was 87 laps in and I thought oh, I’m halfway through now – that's pretty good.

“After that mark is when it became a lot harder mentally to keep on pushing but then I just mainly eased the time so if it was 30 minutes to go, I’d just count down every five minutes until it got down to 10 minutes or whatever. Basically, visualising the end of the tunnel.”

Aston Freeth

A passionate time trialist and self-proclaimed bike geek, Freeth pitched the Hour Record attempt as a swansong to his final day as a junior rider to coach Josh Harrison in March.

“Josh just laughed in my face and sort of said I can’t think of anything worse to do, but I’ll definitely train you for that,” Freeth said.

“I wanted to do it as an U19 because that way I could get an unofficial world record, it’s unofficial because the UCI won’t actually recognise any junior Hour Record attempts.

“So, in that way, it’s an unofficial world record I reckon because I couldn’t find anything else about it for U19 riders, so as far as I’m aware I’m the only person to have attempted it as an U19.”

Off the back of winning the U19 Team Pursuit national championship as part of the South Australia team at the 2021 AusCycling Track Nationals in March, Freeth was added to the SASI program for 2021/22.

The new program presented no challenges for the Hour Record, however, Freeth said he didn’t feel his training would be seen as the norm for modern Hour Record attempts.

Aston Freeth

“(After Track Nationals) my training then went from what would have been a bunch of long efforts to still some long efforts but some shorter ones in there as well,” Freeth said.

“I did quite a few 10-12-minute strength efforts … did a few 20-minute blocks on the track – so that is just on-off behind the moto.

“Pretty much did some long base rides, a few long efforts and that was pretty much the training.

“In terms of equipment, I borrowed some of Josh’s chainrings. I also got in contact with Adam (Kerin) from Zero Friction Cycling to get a chain from him and otherwise it was stock standard on an off the shelf Cervélo T4.”

With his junior days in the rear-view mirror, Freeth’s sights are now firmly planted on the 2021/22 road and track season, however, the lure of the Hour Record attempt may eventually come knocking once again when he is settled in the U23 and elite bracket.

“It’s an idea to go again, I wouldn’t put it against me to go again but it wouldn’t be at least for a minimum of two years,” he said.

Aston Freeth

Pictures: James Raison @rideadelaide

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