Usain Bolt is the fastest man alive, but can a top track cyclists beat him? That was a question posed in the June issue of outside magazine. Most trackies know that a top track sprinter doing a 200M time trial will go almost twice as fast as a 100m runner ( both pretty darn close to 10 seconds, with the track rider going twice the distance), but the cyclists has the advantage of the standing start. The folks at Outside magazine went to Jim Martin, and former track racer and now one of the top cycling bio-mechanist in the world. Just do a google scholar search and you'll see. Jim has done extensive work in modeling performance, so from a theoretical perspective, he was the guy to answer this question.Jim took some power data from Sean Eadie, the 2002 match sprint world champion, along Bolt's 9.58 100M and ran the model. From a standing start, it makes sense that the longer the race gets the more likely the cyclist is to win, as the runners are already slowing down after 100M and the cyclists is just gaining speed. But it is a pretty close race at 100M. Who do you think won?
The answer is the cyclists by 0.16 seconds. Bolt pulls ahead at the start, but then Eadie Passes him at 89.7 meters. Jim's models are excellent, and can be be highly accurate, but when it comes down to 0.16 seconds, I think it could still be anyone's race. If those two men lined up at the starting line in top form, I wouldn't have much confidence in predicting the winner one way or the other. I would love to see something like this happen. It would be great or Gatorade, Red Bull, or a company like that could put on a race with Bolt and a top track sprinter.....maybe Chris Hoy or Gregory Bauge...Jaime Staff is known for heaving a blistering start, so he might be a good candidate. What do you think?