He thrilled cyclists from around the world, and with them, triathletes: Dutchman Jeffrey Hoogland broke the world record 1km on the track earlier this week. With a time of 55.433 seconds, he rode almost a second off the previous world record. His words afterwards immediately showed how relentlessly tough the attempt was: “Who the hell thought this up?”
It took almost 20 minutes anyway before Hoogland was somewhat able to move and talk by himself again. After his more than 55 seconds full blast on the track in Mexico, he could no longer get off his bike by himself, walking was almost impossible, and he rode a few more laps on his bike to drain all the lactic acid as best he could. His face – despite the joy of breaking the world record – was tight with pain. The grimace on his face was as painful as it was wonderful: this was an epitome of the pure magic of top sport. Here it became clear why a world record attempt is only for the very best. Hoogland’s whole body was screaming in pain and even the extra oxygen administered in the first half hour after his finish could not change that.
Hoogland’s peak wattage was around 2,700, his average wattage around 1,000 and the peak speed went toward eighty kilometers per hour. Like a machine, he sat on his bike, almost like a primeval man with only one goal: to win. In Hoogland’s case, that meant pushing his pedals as hard as possible and bike straight through all the pain for more than 55 seconds, in a search for his own limits and perhaps even the limits of what is human. “I can’t really enjoy it right now, because it really hurts everywhere,” he said after about a half an hour in his first interview. “But I knew that beforehand. I haven’t realized it yet, I have to recover first. I did think it was really cool that I heard cheering at my finish, because then I knew: this is a world record.”