Having shattered the Derry to Belfast 72 mile road record, you would imagine that John Madden is not one to shirk an opportunity to get his teeth into a challenge, and on Wednesday evening he won the Ballymoney CC Biesty’s Centra Circuit TT on the Kirkhills.
Second place went to BCC’s own rider Steven McAllister who this weekend was in Mullingar at the Irish National Road Race Championships, mixing it with Tour de France rider Dan Martin - a recent visitor to N.Ireland when the Giro d’Italia came to visit.
This 107 mile race was won by professional rider Ryan Mullen of the An Post team run by Irish legend Sean Kelly.
School Principal, John Madden from Ballycastle, smashed the long standing Derry to Belfast record on Sunday 22 June 2014.
Despite the fact that John has held national cycling records in most of the standard distance time trials of 10, 25, 50 and 100 miles in both Senior and Veteran categories, and the fact that he was on the Irish triathlon squad for 10 years (1991-2000) and former national champion in that discipline, he was not satisfied and was always looking for new goals to achieve.
Madden said, “I guess it all started when I did my first 100 TT three years ago, beat Bryan McCrystal, and won!
“I started to think maybe I could be good at the long stuff. It has taken me nearly 50 years to work it out but at least I got there in the end!
“I did the maths and realised that if I could hold 27mph average for 100 miles, as I did in the 100 TT, then 72 miles at 25mph (which was Maurice Foster’s record), it would be a walk in the park,” he joked.
“Nothing could be further from the reality though. Last year I nearly went clean mad trying to work out the logistics and gave up before I even started. Then I saw how Maurice McAlister helped Tonya Moran achieve her record and the rest is history.
“The best thing I ever did was hand over the logistics to Maurice McAllister BCC Biesty’s Centra RT and concentrate on what I do best which is ride my bike!
“I also need to thank the team on the day as I genuinely could not have done it without them: Maurice and Philip McAllister , Stephen Gallagher (dig deep - inspired cycling), Peter Jack, Steve McKenzie (North Coast Leisure), Tonya Moran (Woman’s Record holder, Philip McKeown (BCC Biesty’s Centra service. I never anticipated such a positive response but it is much appreciated.
“This started out as a personal challenge and an opportunity to raise funds for Roddensvale School. More recently it became all about doing it for my dad who is currently in hospital.
“Finally it has become about man verses train thanks to the PR genius that is Peter Jack. Top Gear, eat your heart out since we just had the ultimate challenge at the weekend!
“What next? Belfast - Dublin? If I did go again I would listen to Maurice McAlister and take no risks since trying to maintain a 27mph average in an urban area is challenging to say the least.
“The last word has to be about the legend of a man who broke the record 50 years ago, Maurice Foster MBE. I spoke to Maurice over a year ago and became obsessed with the challenge.
“He had no aero equipment, power meter or heart rate monitor for pacing just plenty of raw talent that went with being 25 years of age and at his cycling peak. This was balanced against my difficulties in negotiating 40 sets of lights to his 4 and all the traffic and road furniture that 50 years of development provided.
“Ultimately it came down to the same primitive limiting factors on human performance for both of us. No doubt Maurice was hurting, big time, with 15 miles to go as was I but I had science on my side and a pacing and nutrition plan which eventually saw me forge ahead having been down on Maurice time at the start.
“If the wind had been stronger in my favour and the traffic a little lighter I might have gone a little faster ... I guess these may be the final thoughts that may well bring me to the start line again in the future?”
This Tuesday evening at Biesty’s Centra Ballymoney CC will be holding their July mid summer Club meeting with everyone invited to come along,
Starting at 7pm there is a full agenda and important announcements to be made. This Wednesday evenings club race at Dunaghy is on hold as marshalling and safety are of primary concern.