What’s it like to cycle round an ice oval at 40+ kph?

Recently I broke the 40 kph barrier for a complete lap. This is how it went:
Getting ready is of course half the challenge. I am continually changing bits on the bike (Ice-Bat Red is the development bike). This time I am using a completely new front (steering) skate and I have a “solid” back wheel (spoked wheel but with disc fairing). All the nuts and bolts need to be checked and I use cleats when trying to go fast. For other events I use standard pedals partly because cycling shoes are dangerously slippy on ice. The most common mishaps have been people slipping while getting on or off the bikes.
The other set up decision is the choice of tyre, tyre pressure and gear ratio. This time I used a Schwalbe Marathon Race 40mm tyre at 100 psi and a 62/13 gear ratio. 40 kph is just under 100 rpm on the pedals. Records are all about pushing the limit (gambling!). The aim is to hit 100 rpm.
After getting to the ice oval and checking the timing with the local ice manager, I get on the ice and do a few relaxed warm up laps at 20 to 30 kph. I am not very fit but I know I can do one blast round the ice at a reasonable power output. Having never measured it this is the least scientific part of the development program. But as ex-professional athlete I have plenty of experience to draw on. It falls into the category “I know what I’m doing but I can’t quantify it”!
During the warm up I check the feel of the ice. You would be amazed how much you can feel. The grip, the smoothness, the resistance. Like F1 you are aware of every tiny detail.
And then I set off. The aim is to hit the timing mark at full speed so I accelerate over the previous lap. It is easy to get this wrong and this time I do. I am 3 kph too slow into the first corner. The corner is totally different from the straight. I reduce power and focus on balance and maintaining speed. In the corner I use my elbow to stop me sliding off the seat and in turn this creates more down force on the cornering skate, at the expense of weight and hence grip on the tyre. Because I am down on speed the first corner is easy to control and as soon as I straighten up I put the power down. This results in a little wheel spin. If the tyre slips (in any direction) the grip goes down from 12 kg to 2 kg, so balancing the power is really important to get maximum traction. Once fully off the bend I put the hammer down and hit the next corner at over 40. Turing in goes fine but exiting is difficult. I have to balance the power, steering, grip, racing line. The front skate scrubs a fraction and I am too early on the power. But then I am pointing straight at the finish line with 80m to go. Only a few seconds but now the challenge is to maintain a smooth pedaling technique as the “man with the hammer” hits my legs. 25m short of the finish he hits hard and my legs start losing power. I am beginning to slow but the finish slides under me and the lap is done.
Wind down, check the time (34.3s), pack up, chat with the staff at the ice oval, then go home!
A new record, but so much more to come..!

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