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Michael Broadwith – British 24 Hour TT Champion with a distance of 537 miles!

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Michael Broadwith
Michael Broadwith.

If you go out for a ‘steady state’ run of perhaps three hours and you average 22.4 mph then you’ve not been hanging about.

But how about holding that tempo for 24 hours ? that’s ‘twenty four’ hours, a full day or three consecutive shifts at work ?

That’s exactly what Michael Broadwith (Arctic Tacx) did in the recent British 24 Hour Time Trial Championship, recording an event record for the Merseyside course of 537 miles; mistakenly – and to my shame – I believed this to be the British record.

However, that actually belongs to Andy Wilkinson who recorded 3.8 miles more with 541 miles in 2011 – that one passed me by – but nonetheless we felt that anyone who can average 22.4 mph for 24 hours has to be worth speaking to.

Michael Broadwith
Michael (537.35) with Stuart Birnie (Willesden CC, 504.11) and Alex Kirk (Dulwich Paragon, 497) Photo©supplied

Congratulations, Michael, tell us a little about yourself, please.

“I’m 37 years-of-age, I live in Berkhamsted and work as a maths teacher in Watford.”

What’s your pedigree in long distance time trials?

“I’ve ridden four 12 hour TT’s before, the first in 2004; I came fourth in the BBAR in 2006, and won the team BBAR with Arctic.

“My best distance was in 2013 when I did 282.5 miles and got the Bronze in the National Championships.

“This was my first go at 24 hours.”

How do you train for a ‘24’?

“The bulk of my training is commuting into Watford.

“In the months leading up to the race I was trying to do between 50 and 60 km per day – 25 in and 30 or 35 back.

“Then on top of this I did regular one hour sessions on the turbo at sweet spot (90% of threshold) and I also did quite a bit of night riding on my TT bike to get used to this.

“My (pregnant) wife was going to bed at 10:30 and I was heading out to do 50 miles.

“I also did two longer (six hour) rides on the TT bike to try out feeding strategies etc.”

Michael Broadwith
Michael sets off on his adventure. Photo©Paul Lewis

Colossal distances…

“Yes, the previous Merseyside event record was 525 miles set by Andy Wilkinson in 1997 – I rode 537.35 miles which is about 22.4 mph.

“The event was the National and also the Mersey ‘24’.

“It was an event record for the Mersey but only the second longest ever – Andy Wilkinson has done 541 on the East Sussex course in 2011.

“I had a schedule for 520 miles as no one apart from Andy Wilkinson has gone further than this so I figured that if I could do that then I’d have a good chance of winning.

“As it was, I was up on schedule throughout the event.”

Michael Broadwith
Michael’s boys gave him support on the circuit. Photo©supplied

Tell us about your back up team.

“I had seven helpers, led by Sam Williamson of Hemel Hempstead CC who came top 10 in this event in 2012.

“These included a few friends, my mum and my aunt and uncle who live nearby.

“My wife drove up on the Sunday morning with my two sons to provide some much-appreciated extra cheering on the finishing circuit!”

Michael Broadwith
Michael’s backup team. Photo©supplied

Nutrition/hydration?

“I ate 24 Torq energy gels, one every hour, and then 12 Mule bars (all mango) eating half a bar every hour.

“I was drinking SiS Go constantly throughout the race, aiming for a bottle (705ml) every hour.

“Apart from that, when I stopped, I had a can of cold soup, two tins of rice pudding, some coffee and a banana that a very nice man outside the HQ gave to me.”

Michael Broadwith
Michael takes on some fuel. Photo©Paul Lewis

How about that night time racing?

“Riding in the dark was good fun, I enjoy it – I kept warm and dry which was key, I think.

“I was pleased that I had done quite a bit of practice but bowling along at 40kph on the tri-bars is a little hairy in places.”

How do you maintain your focus for such a long time distance?

“Concentration wasn’t a problem, I just broke the ride down into small chunks – focussing on the next gel, the next bar or when I would next see my supporters.”

Michael Broadwith
Michael catches 40 winks at a feed stop. Photo©supplied

Any ‘bad patches’?

“I had two bad patches at eight hours to go and four hours to go; both were mental rather than physical and just when the whole thing seemed a bit overwhelming.

“I wasn’t really in danger of stopping, but I did need a stern talking too.

“The swings of emotion were pretty full on – you can go from feeling rubbish to feeling great in a matter of minutes.”

Michael Broadwith
Michael tells us he isn’t an “angry rider”. Photo©supplied

Tell us about your bike.

“My bike is a standard Planet X Exocet lo pro, but upgraded with Zipp wheels.

“I had to make a few adjustments to attach a very powerful mountain bike front light.

“I also added a container on the top tube to hold some gels and two rear saddle mounted cages to hold extra bottles.

“The gears were standard TT gears 54 on the front, and I didn’t go near the little ring.”

Recovery?

“It took three or four days I think to get over the adrenaline, caffeine, glucose mix running through my blood.

“However, it was definitely eased by the incredible number of messages and support that I have received – It’s been amazing how many people have been interested and have taken the time to get in touch.”

Next up?

“Well, we’ll see what to do next.

“I have always fancied the End to End but never dreamed that I would really be fast enough.

“Perhaps I will come back and defend my 24 title next year, although I have a small baby arriving in September to focus on first, and maybe I’ll have another crack at a 12.

“I went through 12 hours on this ride in 276 miles which suggests that perhaps I’ve got more than a 282 ride in the tank.

“We’ll see…”

And just to remind you, the late and much missed Archie Speed still holds the Scottish Veteran’s 24 Hour Record – but that’s even before my time !

Congratulations again to Michael on his mind-boggling distance.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

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