Thursday was a slow day. The morning run showed Sarah’s time drop even further for her original run on Monday. Thursday had perfect conditions and the bike was running to performance but Sarah was only able to produce 19.5 mph. This left the team is a bit of a worry. They had started closer to the timing gates to allow Sarah to put as much power down as possible and all the changes throughout the week had made the bike a lot more comfortable so they didn’t know what they could d to improve it. The team has an emergency meeting to establish what to do next. They decided to put covers on the wheels to reduce the drag even further and give Sarah a splint for her left hand as she has always had problems with her grip and strength there. It is then back out to testing to make sure all was ok.
The next morning brought another great day with minimal winds. This was the last day that the team could try and break the record before going home so the officials gave them 2 runs, on in heat 2 and one in heat 5. William Kemp worked with Sarah to warm her up and prepare her for the race, something that hadn’t been done before. A last minute check of the bike wad done before Sarah was sent on her way. The onboard computer showed that she had maxed out at close to 25.5 mph but the team is unsure of when this was and if it could have been sustained over the 200-metre timing gate. Sarah’s second run was very similar with a great performance power output and similar speeds. Another concern was about the wind speed over the two tests. The wind varies down the 5mile track and as the team can’t be near the timing gate, there is no knowing if the run could be legal or not.
At the 11 o’clock briefing the team soon found out. Both runs were declared legal with the first being 24.85 a new women’s hand cycling world record beating the existing one by just 0.15 mph. This doesn’t seem like much until you consider that this speed was an average over a 200-metre time trap. The team was ecstatic that they could finally pull it out. After a week of so many trials and disappointment, and 4 years in the making, they were finally able to break the record. Numerous media outlets such as the BBC and Plymouth Herald have reported on the story. The team is flying home this evening and hope to re-design and build a bike to race in 2018.
We have been filming all of the events throughout the week and hope to release a full documentary on the story late October.
-James Haslam (OWP CEO)