Too Hart to Handle: Paul rides into the record books

Southend Wheelers' Pau; Hart smashes National 50-Mile record in Cambridgeshire

 
Paul Hart’s ambitions for success in July’s National 50-mile Time Trial Championships were given a significant boost when he not only claimed victory in the Eastern Counties Cycling Association 50-mile time trial at Six Mile Bottom (12 May), but also broke the existing national record for the distance by six seconds.

The 38-year old company director from Ramsden Heath, near Billericay, eclipsed his rivals, crossing the finishing line nearly five minutes clear of his closest challenger, Finsbury Park Cycling Club’s Julian Elliot - and in the process, beating Matt Bottrill’s 2014 record.

Commuters driving from Southend-on-Sea to Chelmsford will be familiar with the fact that the 22-mile journey can take an hour to complete. So, it is quite staggering that Southend Wheelers’ Hart averaged 31.7 MPH throughout the 50 miles on his bike.

After his time of 1hour-34 minutes and 37 seconds was revealed, Hart admitted he was shocked by his performance, saying that he had been aiming for a time in the region of 1-36 or 1-37 - but then told reporters that his preparations over the winter had paid off: “At last year’s National 25-mile Championships, I did a 48-51 from 351 watts, but was told by many that power should deliver much better results, so I’ve spent the winter sorting my aerodynamics, got a new bike, skinsuit and position.”

He modestly added: “I’m chuffed. The weather was perfect today and the legs were good. I got very lucky.”

Back in March, Hart had signalled that his new-found gains and hours of training would reap rewards when he won the annual Hainault Hilly time trial. The Southend Wheelers star had set a new course record of 1 hour, 6 minutes and 29 seconds - beating his 2017 time of 1.07.16 and Rhys Howells’ 2016 record by 30 seconds.
With his new 50-mile record under his belt, Hart has been the focus of much attention from the UK cycling media, as he explains: “It’s been a crazy 48hrs. I cannot believe the reaction this has created. I’ve never had so many messages of congratulations or interview requests!”

Southend Wheelers’ own time trial season is currently underway, with the next round of the South Essex club’s Wednesday League taking place in East Hanningfield on 16 May.

 
Paul Hart - National Record Holder

 


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