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Stuart Travis – on Smashing the National 30 Mile TT Record with 53:44

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Here at VeloVeritas we pride ourselves in being in touch with the fast men, those men who break records.

Marcin Bialoblocki, 10, 25 and 50 miles; then there’s Adam Duggleby, 100 miles and 12 hour; and on the track Francois Pervis who holds the world 200 and 1,000 metre flying start records; not forgetting Ashton Lambie the fastest man alive over four kilometres – and then completely at the other end of the spectrum is Michael Broadwith who holds the Lands End to John O’Groats record.

We’ve spoken to them all.

Have we missed anything?

What about the 30 mile TT record?

Well, recently that was held by Michael (Doctor Hutch) Hutchison – another man who we’ve interviewed – with 55:39.

It’s perhaps a bit of an obscure distance with very few 30 mile time trials appearing in the CTT handbook.

But many of the greats of time trialling have held it; George Fleming, Cyril Cartwright, Dave Dungworth, King Alf, Eddie Adkins to name but a few.

But Hutchison’s record was smashed recently in the Leo Road Club event by the man we’re speaking to here, Stuart Travis with 53:44.

The record actually fell before the Team Bottrill man finished with Gary Chambers (NOPINZ) clocking 55:09 before Travis depth charged that with his 53 minute ride.

Travis also led his team to a new team record by a remarkable 10 minutes.

Here’s what Mr. Travis had to say to VeloVeritas a day or two after he put his name on the same page in the CTT record book as some of the greatest short distance time trial riders the sport has ever known.

Stuart Travis
Stuart Travis. Photo©supplied

Great ride, Stuart, tell us a little about yourself first.

“I’m 34 years-old originally from Preston but live in Birmingham now.

“I work full time with Jaguar-Land Rover as a technical training designer.”

I believe the weather was so bad on the morning of the race that the organiser was considering cancelling?

“The weather on the morning wasn’t great, the day before it has been mega windy and tipping it down.

“But the organiser drove the course beforehand, there was no standing water and the spray wasn’t too bad so he went ahead with it.”

What’s the course like and how were conditions for your ride?

“It’s near Newmarket on the A11; it’s all dual carriageway, up to three lanes at one point – very fast.

“During my warm up and ride to the start there was light rain, it wasn’t warm, around 10 degrees.

“It didn’t rain for me during my ride but it was very humid, the visor on my helmet steamed up and I had to discard it at the turn.

“Folks are saying it was the combination of low air pressure and humidity which made it so fast, albeit the air pressure wasn’t amazingly low.”

Stuart Travis
Stuart has trouble with his visor steaming up. Photo©Brother4Results

How did you pace the ride?

“Before my ride a couple of folks had said that it was absolutely rapid to the turn so I should save a little for the way back.

“I completely ignored this advice and went out very fast; I expected a headwind back but it was only a little bit slower on the way back, maybe one/one-and-a-half miles per hour slower.”

You took a huge whack off Doctor Hutch’s record.

“Yes but others beat the record too, Hutch’s record was on a variation of the same course with some single carriageway sections.”

And you beat the team record twice?

“We were actually faster three times but the way it worked the NOPINZ guys held it then we took before I finished then when I finished we lowered it even further.

“We took 10 minutes off the old record with 2:45:38.”

Stuart Travis
Interesting top/head tube arrangement on Stuart’s bike. Photo©supplied

The 30 isn’t a common distance, had you ridden one before and did you have the record in mind?

“I rode the same Leo event back in 2015 with a 1:01.

“It’s not a common distance with less than 10 events each year.

“There’s a website you can put all your data into, weather, watts, course etc. and it’ll predict your time – it said a ‘57’ was on for me but our goal was the team record.

“Gary Chambers broke the record before me with 55:09; and both Jason Bouttell (Team Vision Racing) with 54-37 and my team mate James Rix 55-35 were faster than the old mark but finished after me.”

Tell us about your bike.

“The team is supported by Giant, it was actually my training bike, it has the head fairing and turns out it’s pretty fast!

“I had a HED Jet Nine Plus on the front and a HED disc on the rear, I did some testing and made the HEDs faster than the Zipp and ENVE equivalents.

“I run tubeless clinchers but at a lot less pressure than most.

“I have a 62 ring with 11-25 cassette; I have the Ceramic Speed over-size derailleur rollers – very expensive but with margins in some races so close I think they’re worth it.

“I rode the 12 and 13 for most of the race. I don’t have ceramics in the hubs yet though, and I run a waxed chain – but prepare it myself.”

Your position looks pretty aero.

“I’m actually going to test in the Boardman wind tunnel but have been through the AeroCoach tests on the velodrome.”

Stuart Travis
It’ll be interesting to see what improvements Stuart can make in the wind tunnel. Photo©supplied

Do you have a coach?

“Yes, Daniel Barnett who’s a coach with Matt Bottrill Performance Coaching; they call him ‘Magic Man’ because he turned £15,000 into a Pinarello Bolide! 

“I made a radical decision this year that I was only going to ride in my time trial position; I prefer to train on the road but do use the turbo, albeit I think you don’t want to do too much turbo riding because it has to affect your bike handing when you get on the road.

“On the turbo you just sit there, solid and don’t have to react to weather and road conditions.”

How has the rest of your season been?

“I feel like I’ve been the perpetual bridesmaid; fourth in the ‘10’ Champs; fourth in the ‘25’ Champs – but that was on a borrowed front wheel, I punctured on the way to the line; and fourth in the ‘100’ Champs (my first one) with 3:33:43.

“I guess my claim to fame is that I did the first ‘amateur’ 44 minute ‘25’ – both Bialoblocki and Dowsett are professionals – I recorded that in winning an event down in South Wales.”

Next up?

“There’s the ‘50’ Champs on Saturday at Leicester then the CTT Closed Circuit TT Champs at Thruxton plus some local events.

“Bialoblocki is on the start sheet for the ‘50’ and it’s definitely a 30 mph course but we’ll just need to see how it goes with the weather.”

“A ‘53’ minute ‘30’ – that’s faster than I used to ride 25 miles, this world just keeps getting faster. Let’s hope Stuart achieves that elusive podium place on Saturday.

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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