Yesterday saw the annual visit to the Newport Velodrome by my local Club Wrekin Sport(I really must get around to joining this year!). It’s the third year that I’ve tagged along, and is something I look forward to. We always tend to go early in the year, and it’s nice to ditch the extra layers that so often define winter riding in the UK.
Before I go on, let me introduce my bike for the day. A very nice Pinarello track bike. I’m not a fan of their current Carbon frames, but the steel bikes that Indurain rode during his dominant years at the tour still rank highly amongst my all time favourites.
|Not bad for £7.20!|
After a few laps to warm up we were split into two teams, and Mike, our coach for the 2 hour session, started to explain some of the drills he had planned for us. The first was a 12 lap team pursuit drill. Riding fixed wheel at close quarters really focuses the mind, and you’re all too aware that even a slight touch of wheels could bring the whole team done. Keeping an even pace is key, especially as you go into the bends. I’m truly in awe of the GB Team Pursuit guys who make it look so easy to cycle within inches of one another whilst lapping at 60km/h. Just awesome!
We then tried out a team sprint before the highlight of the session for me, a 40 lap scratch race. I’m not sure how it happened but I lined up as the first man, and led the pack off. I was never going to win this, but I thought I’d have a go at leading for a lap or two. I set off at a pretty quick pace and managed to lead the first two laps, but with some much quicker riders behind me this wasn’t going to last long. The quick guys came past, and it was then a case of trying to find someone at your pace and to stick with them.
The lap counter was soon showing that we were over half way and I was still lapping at a fairly decent pace. As we entered the last half dozen laps, a guy passed me and I decided to try and hang on to him. He pulled away slightly, but never more than about 4 bike lengths, and as we entered the last lap I was going just about as fast as my legs would take me. By my really crude timing, we managed the 40 laps in under 16mins, which is not far off 38km/h. Suprisingly quick, for me at least.
Our two hours were very nearly over and we spent the last 15 minutes or so warming down, and generally just enjoying a few laps at our own pace.
All in all a great couple of hours, and I’d recommend a session on the track to anyone who enjoys riding a bike.
Thanks to Dave Gos for organising this session for the club.