What's Cool In Road Cycling

Fast-Man Marcin Białobłocki Talks Time Trials!

Rider Interview: Marcin Białobłocki is probably the fastest man against the clock in Britain, setting records over 10, 25, 50 and 100 mile distances. Ed Hood caught up with the British based Pole after he successfully took the UK National championship title and record at the 100 mile distance in a time of 3:13:37, an average speed of 31mph/49.9kph.

Worlds TT

You can read Ed’s first interview with Marcin Białobłocki last year HERE.

If you keep even half an eye on the results on the British time trial scene then you must be familiar with the name Marcin Białobłocki. The big 35 year-old ex-CCC ProContinental rider from Poland has re-written the CTT [Cycling Time Trials, the body which governs road time trials in the UK, ed.] record book over the last few years.

10 miles [approx. 16 kilometres] in 16 minutes 35 seconds
25 miles [approx. 40 kilometres] in 42 min. 58 secs
50 miles [approx. 80 kilometres] in 1 hour 30 min 31 secs
Stunning times by any measure.

This year he’s turned his attention to the 100 mile [approx. 160 kilometres] winning the national title at the distance before setting out specifically to break competition record in Norfolk, last Sunday. The ‘100’ mile distance has always held a fascination for time test aficionados, with perhaps the most famous ride of all coming way back in 1956 when the legendary road man and time trial star, Ray Booty became the first man to break the four hour barrier with a 3 hours 58 minutes 28 seconds ride. It was 13 years before shaven headed greyhound, Ant Taylor took the record below 3:50 with 3:46:37 in 1969.

And another dozen years before time trial royalty, Ian Cammish – a man who dominated the roads of England for a decade – recorded 3:38:39 in 1981. That versatile man, Andy Wilkinson was first under three-and-a-half hours with 3:27:39 in 1996. Another versatile man, Adam Duggleby, who’s a world champion on the para cycling tandem, did 3:16:51 in 2017 to crack the 3:20 mark.

But Bialoblocki has now brought the record close to the scarcely believable 3 hours 10 minutes barrier with a 3:13:37 ride; that’s 31 miles per hour, 49.9 kilometres per hour average on a course with 42 roundabouts.

PEZ spoke to the fastest gun in town the day after his epic ride:

PEZ: A stunning ride, Marcin congratulations – tell us about the b100/4 course in Norfolk please.
Marcin Białobłocki:
It’s up and down on dual carriageway, you do five circuits of a 20 mile lap but it’s not the fastest, there are 42 roundabouts to negotiate and obviously you have to slow down at every one of them, losing momentum.

PEZ: How were the weather conditions?
It was a nice morning to start with but the wind picked up for the last two laps and it was very hard in the cross and head wind sections.

PEZ: How do you pace judge – we heard your power was 340 watts average?
I use the Garmin but also look at my heart rate so that I don’t overcook things, Strava always lists your power a little low, my actual output was around 345 watts.

PEZ: You were on the new Pinarello Bolide TR+ with disc brakes, how does it compare to your rim braked Bolide?
My friend and helper, Dave Baronowski only built it up for me on Friday; it’s a different bike with different angles and forks, obviously, to take the discs, and it’s faster than my previous one – for me, it’s the fastest bike in the world.

The winning ride in the 100

PEZ: AEOX wheels, disc rear, ‘Titan’ front?
Yes, Xavier Disley, the man behind Aerocoach designed them; they’re very fast, I run Vittoria Corsa Speed tubeless on them, 23 mil. front, 25 rear with 60 x 11 to 23 gearing.

PEZ: How does your training differ for a ‘100’ from your training for a ‘10’ or ‘25’?
It’s similar but I add one long four to five hour endurance effort mid-week to my schedule; the rest of my training is all about speed.

The starting effort in the Tour de Pologne TT

PEZ: You must have caught a lot of minute men during your effort?
I’ve no idea how many but yes, it was a lot of guys, it’s good for the motivation to be seeing riders ahead and catching them.

PEZ: Phil Griffiths (ex-British time trial and road star with a Commonwealth Games Road race silver medal to his name, ed.) has sponsored you for some years now?
Yes, he’s helped me throughout my career in the UK, when my team folded a few years ago he gave me a ride and has looked after me with equipment in recent years.

PEZ: What’s next on the agenda?
I have the British ‘25’ Championship in two weeks then on August 8th I have the European Time Trial Championship in The Netherland which is a big objective.

Tour de Pologne podium

PEZ: You have a ‘full house’ of records for the major distances; but what about the 12 hour?
I thought about it before but I’m happy with what I do – maybe I would get bored in a 12 hour?

PEZ: The Hour Record?
Yes, I was thinking about it one year ago but it costs a lot of money with track hire and all of the UCI costs – time keepers, commissars, doping control. And it’s not like you can just jump on the bike a couple of time and attack it, you have to prepare properly and it all costs a lot of money.

PEZ: And what does Marcin Białobłocki do when he’s not training and racing?
I used to like fishing and outdoor stuff but my main priority off the bike now is my young family; Olivia, my daughter who’s five-and-a-half and Alex, my son who’s six-and-a-half. [Good to know that he’s not a Cyborg after all!]

Euro champs 2017

PEZ also took time to speak to Marcin’s right hand man and mechanic, Dave Baranowski who was a handy road man in the north east of England, ‘back in the day.’

PEZ: What about this new Bolide, Dave?
Dave Baranowski:
It was designed for the triathlon market and whilst I’m not sure it’s UCI legal, it’s fine to ride in CTT events. The Aussie ex-Cannondale World Tour rider, Cameron Wurf has been involved in the development, he’ll ride the Ironman Triathlon on it.

Disk brake

It’s very different from the last Bolide and whilst I’m not personally a disc fan, it’s very well done with the hoses nicely routed, having smooth runs and easy to build. Someone pointed out that it’s the first time a competition record has been set on disc brakes. The wheels were designed by Dr. Disley from Aerocoach who’s so ‘into’ the science of it all. We’re running the Vittoria Corsa Speed tubeless tyre, they have very low rolling resistance and you can run them at lower pressures so they’re very comfortable. And on the subject of wheels, I should mention that we’ve also used Harry Walker’s ‘Revolver’ wheels, which are very good. Harry also made arm rests for Marcin’s tri-bars which are really nice.

Ceramic Speed are one of Marcin’s sponsors so the bike has ceramic bottom bracket bearings and the over-size jockey rollers – as well as a Ceramic Speed waxed chain. Marcin rides 175 mm cranks, he used to ride 177.5 but I’ve suggested to him riding shorter cranks because they describe a shorter arc so your pedals aren’t traveling as far in each revolution. The frame really is nice to work on, well designed and easy to assemble, not like some top end bikes – it really is a work of art. Some might say that at well into five figures cost; ‘so it should be!’ but there’s little doubt that is really is the ‘full tool’ as the car rally guys say – and now that it holds all four major CTT records that fact is hard to argue with.

Normal brake

# With thanks to Marcin and Dave. #

It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he’s covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,700 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself – many years and kilograms ago – and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site www.veloveritas.co.uk where more of his musings on our sport can be found.

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