It’s the night before Sir Bradley Wiggins’ Hour Record attempt, and as the world and Olympic time-trial champion completes his final practice laps, Alex Trimnell drinks in the silence that fills the Lee Valley Velodrome.
Trimnell, a self-confessed bicycle obsessive, has hand-delivered two chainrings and six chains prepared by his company Muc-Off on a dynometer - an £80,000 diagnostic test rig – 150 miles away in Poole, on the Dorset coast.
They are not bulky track chains, but standard issue Dura-Ace, though Trimnell’s offerings have been selected from a batch of 30, tested on the rig and “speed graded” by the varying degree of friction that exists even within the minute manufacturing tolerances of Shimano’s top tier. Additionally, each ring has been ‘run-in’ on the rig for five hours.
As important, if not more so, is that the chains have been treated with a formula conceived by Trimnell and his engineers during the winter, but whose development has accelerated following a phone call three weeks earlier from Team Sky’s technical director Carsten Jeppesen.
Jeppesen asked if something might be available for the Hour Record. Trimnell’s formula contains a military grade additive, purchased at eye-watering expense. He estimates the total value of Wiggins’ race chain, including development costs, at £6,000.
Trimnell is perhaps the only man in the velodrome listening to Wiggins’ chain at 10 o’clock on the night before the attempt. He likes what he hears. Silence.