Sands through the hour glass
A couple of charts for a bit of fun.
Recently we read about 102 year old Frenchman, Robert Marchand, who last week set a new best distance of 26.925 kilometres for the hour at the new velodrome in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France. It was widely reported in many journals and blogs. Here's a link to cyclingnews.com item but a quick Google search will show lots of reports. Chapeau to Robert!
Having been involved with a number of age group category hour records, I thought I'd chart all the current records, including the two outlier points of Marchand, and Chris Boardman.
Here they are in table form with details as at February 2014:
I included Chris Boardman's record in the men's list for reference, and because it was set using the then pursuit bike set up rules which are the rules that masters age category records are run under (although those rules have been modified somewhat since Boardman's phenomenal ride).
I note however that our famous centenarian used a regular (Merckx-style) bike set up, but let's not be overly concerned with that. Being upright, let alone riding is super stuff at that age!
Here are all the age group record holders plotted showing age and distance covered in the hour. Click on the pic to see a larger version.
For some added fun I drew a line linking Boardman's and Marchand's records. The slope is just a touch under 400 metres less per year of age. With the exception of the younger masters age categories up to about 40/45 years, the men's records seem to roughly follow that level of performance decline with age, perhaps with a decline closer to a metre per day of age.
There are fewer masters women's records and none past 66 years old, so it's harder to say if their rate of performance decline is comparable, so while eye-balling suggests the rate of decline is less severe than for the men, I'm not sure I'd draw too many conclusions from these data. There are so many variables, and as the ageless TV soap used to tell us...
like sands through the hour glass, so are the days of our lives.