The Bullitt Hour Record: A guest post by Kevin Labeeuw


Kevin will be attempting the Hour Record on a Bullitt next month. Here is a pretty detailed breakdown of his motivation and training schedule. It is phenomenal how much effort he has put into this endeavour, it takes so much discipline and analysis. We are so pleased he wanted to do this on a Bullitt.


How it all began:

It all began as everything does… with one thought following the other. There was the speed attempt last year that triggered something in my mind. I always had something with the track, it’s the old atmosphere that wanders there that takes me back in history. People used to go there, it was a peoples sport.

That was what I wanted, combining some of my favorite things. Bikes, track and the most profound bike ever… Larry vs. Harry’s Bullitt!

I was honored that Hans was willing to aid me in delivering a custom made bike for this effort.

Training and what it takes:

It didn’t take much thinking to know how to start this effort. As I was a former bike racer I had a few contacts left. One of them was my former doctor. He was amused that I thought of him and because of the idea. He was triggered by the bike and wondered how this would evolve.

We started out with a test to see how fit I was. I was a bit dazzled that my fitness wasn’t what I thought it would be. I started out at 270 Watts as a max. So effort had to be made to improve this. This was October, so we had the winter ahead to tackle this effort.

Power- and endurance training where on the schedule. Although my endurance was already ok, averaging rides on a weekly base from 100 to 150 km. But that didn’t take what it needed to take on a record attempt. With the power training I combined two 2 hour track trainings in Roubaix with a regular track bike and my endurance rides in the weekend (taking 2 days now, 5 hours each).

In January we took another test and ranged 350 Watts, gaining 100 Watts. We switched to indoor training on an indoor trainer.

We took on 6/7 days in training, 4 on the indoor trainer and 2 outside for endurance rides. As these where my first trainings on the indoor training we started with a building up program.

Mondays 3x 9 minutes 200 Watts and 1 minute 400 Watts

Tuesday & Thursday 3x 10 minutes 270 Watts and 5 minutes 200 Watts

Wednesday 5x 6 minutes 300 Watts and 2 minutes 180 Watts

Friday rest

Saturday 4 – 5 hours on an easy pass and 10 sprints

Sunday 3 – 4 hours on an easy pass and 10 sprints

This was the start and we would build things up to more blocks ranging to one hour. The meaning of this was to enhance my power on one hand, on the other hand improve my endurance. In 6 weeks I had to build up to double the amount in the week and keeping the endurance in the weekend. I must say that it took me more than I thought. The first weeks were mere hell to go through. It literally took me buckets full of sweat. After 6 weeks I almost managed to get them all in, the Wednesday training was en still is the hardest. Every fourth week I had to halve all my training and could consider this as a rest period (Well, I thought of it as a gift I must say).

After that fourth period I took my max. Watts to 350. We kept those trainings on and changed the Saturday endurance to track training. Track training took riding to the track on bike, and starting training on the track. This was at first, 3x 20 minutes (keeping every round at the same pass) and 3x interval (this took 1 round full, 1 round steady pass and x3). Again for six weeks. After this period we didn’t take any tests, I was on the right course for the attempt.

I didn’t know at all what all that training did to me. Everything kept feeling the same as it always did. Ok, endurance runs were easier to maintain, but all the rest kept feeling like pain in the ass (figure of speech). It wasn’t until  a good friend of mine and a training partner came along that the pieces fell together. We always were of equal caliber and now I took off on the harder parts, mostly steeper parts. Where I had less effort to make. It was on Mnt St Haubert that I saw the result of all my training. It felt great, although he still kept a good pass in all the endurance trainings he went along.

We kept up the training until mid may, then we added a second track training. Trying to take on the hour an adding .5 km/hour each training. Now we are in the last two weeks, the last training days… Time will tell what all the training effort was worth.

The machine

The machine you all know, the setup was presented on several occasions on the net. I have a lot of gratitude for Larry vs. Harry on delivering such fine machinery.

I switched a few things, making it more adjusted to my measurements. My regular saddle, adding more comfort and changing the bars. Why the bars? As training on track went on I noticed that regular bars gave me pain in the left shoulder. It was more for comfort then it was for aerodynamic aspects, although that last is a major plus.

The longer I trained, the more I felt that not everything was like it should. We started measuring round time and overall rounds to calculate the exact km and time I was traveling. In this way we adjusted gear ratio from 52×15  to 52×16 and later on to 52×17. I/We (as my doctor helped calculating everything) did this to get about 100 RPM.

The effort

Well to get a standard, Hans and I tried to make it as accessible as possible. We hope that others will try to, and manage to, break the record. In this way Hans proposed a fixed bike, with 25 kg and starting from a fixed position. The track length doesn’t matter, as long as it’s a track.

As cargo I’m using a steel plate 39x70x0,12 cm. It will be fixed on the cargo space, where else? So the bike is about 45 kg in total. Taking that for an hour will be a great thing to get some reasonable speed!

‘Till the second of July!