Ulster Cycling News

Madden smashes a 50 year Road Record from Derry to Belfast

aSchool Principal, John Madden who currently rides for Dig Deep Coaching, 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, 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.

He set his sights on the Derry to Belfast record less than a year ago and began to plan how this could be achieved. The previous record had been held by Morris Foster MBE with a time of 2h 48m for fifty years. John doubted if the record could be broken given the changing road networks, increase in traffic, street furniture and traffic lights however he is a determined man and never gave up hope.

His ambition was further strengthend in 2013 when Derry's Tonya Moran took on the challenge and set a new record for women in a time of 3h 11m 35s.


Yesterday conditions proved to be just right and John achieved his dream smashing the record. This now has to be ratified by Cycling Ireland but with the profressional team of Maurice McAllister as Commissaire, Gordon Parker as Timekeeker and Alicja Cernák taking the photographs there is little doubt that this will be ratified. He clocked a time of 2hrs 37mins and 33secs; an average of 27.4mph for the 72 mile course.


Cycling Ulster would like to congratulate John on his new record and in believing in himself that it is possible to achieve your dreams. We would also like to thank all those who helped to make it happen for John. As well as the officials mentioned above others such as Stephen Gallagher of Dig Deep Coaching, Chris McElhinney, Bernard Doherty,  the Motorbike outriders all helped along the way as well as Tonya Moran and Morris Foster who came along to lend their support. (Apologies if I have left anyone out.)
Report Marian Lamb


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 math 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) would be a walk in the park!!!! 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 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 McAlister and his son Philip,
Stephen Gallagher (Dig Deep - Inspired Cycling), Peter Jack, Steve McKenzie (north coast leisure), Tonya Moran, Chris McIlheney,
Philip McKeown, Gordon Parker, Alicja Cernak, Stewart Tosh and his motor bike friends plus all those who have helped prepare
me for the season or given me support: Chris McCann (inspired cycling), Bob Tobin (cyclepowermeters), David Laverty, Sinead Mathers,
David Heagney (prologue performance), Paddy Morrison (Morr Movement), Gary McKeegan, Jack Watson plus all those, too numerous to mention who have been so
positive as training partners, friends or contacts on social media ... 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?"

Pics Alicja Cernák





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