Time triallist looks to 10-mile record after riding staggering sub 20-minute on a road bike

George Fox surprised even himself when he got close to the 1988 record set by Colin Sturgess

(Image credit: Rod Hunt)

A Northamptonshire time triallist has turned his attention to a 10-mile record after he unexpectedly smashed the 20-minute barrier on a road bike.

George Fox was expecting a solid time on his Giant Propel on Tuesday (May 28), but was shocked when he hit 31mph average for the 10-mile course.

The Rushden-based rider finished the Earls Barton route on the A41 in a staggering 19-19, which puts him within range of the all-time 10-mile record for road bikes set in 1988.

Fox, 25, told Cycling Weekly: “I’ve been going really well on the road bike and knew it was a fairly decent course.

“I’d targeted a 19-40 to 19-50, which I knew was do-able. I didn’t realise how well I was going to go.

“I got seven miles in, looked down and saw 31mph average and thought ‘that’s going to be a bit quicker than I thought.’

“It’s a good course but it’s not the quickest, so I thought a 19-40 on there would mean theoretically the record is doable on a faster course. To go that much quicker, I’m still speechless now to be honest. I still can’t quite believe it.”

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Fox is a coach and aerodynamic specialist bike fitter at Matt Bottrill Performance Coaching, which has helped him achieve such a mind-blowing time.

After surprising himself with the performance, his attentions have turned to the road bike record set by former British national road race champion Colin Sturgess back in 1988, before time trial bikes were popularised.

The time to beat is 18-48 and Fox believes the goal is within reach: “It is definitely something that’s on my mind. It’s difficult because we’re coming into nationals season now.”

With an open event coming next Thursday (June 6) on the fast E2/10 course near Cambridge, Fox could have his chance.

“If the weather’s decent, I don’t know,” he said. “I’m intrigued to see what I could do.

“I think my time could be quicker as long as it’s a good day. I know what it’s going to take in terms of legs.

“There’s going to be some serious staring at the road bike thinking about what I can change.”

It hasn’t been a smooth road in recent months however, as Fox suffered from an unidentified virus that left him unable to train.

“Last year I had a virus and I was out of action from May through to October. I could ride but it would take me three or four days to recover from it so I just wasn’t training basically because you can’t go very fast on one day a week.

“I started training again in October. The winter was good but with work it was a bit inconsistent.

“I’m back to my best now, probably the best I’ve ever been.”

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His form took him to an average speed of 31.2mph for the 19-19 time, with a normalised power of 378watts.

When asked about the secret to that success, Fox said: “It’s discipline, because holding that position you don’t have as much support as you do on a time trial bike. It’s really hard to hold.

“There’s an old thinking that time trial bikes are generally two minutes faster than a road bike, but the faster you get the smaller that distance. I’d have been maybe 30 seconds faster if I’d have been on my time trial bike.

“If you’ve got a road bike that fits properly and you can drop the elbows, stay on the hoods because nine times out of 10 that’s faster on a road bike, essentially adopt the time trial position then you’re not going to be losing an awful lot.”

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.