Saturday, 12 April 2014

SCS On The Boards – Velodrome Report

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The Results Are In!

Cycling takes many forms, and this weekend we were fortunate enough to experience one of its more extreme variants, riding on an indoor Velodrome. No brakes, no gears, and no freewheeling, what could go wrong?
Two of our group had been before, but the rest were track virgins. Nervous laughter filled the air as we entered track centre as it dawned on us all what we were about to undertake. The steepness of the banking never ceases to amaze me; it’s something that the television doesn’t do justice. As the previous group’s session drew to a close it was time to meet Jodie, who would be our coach for our 2 hour track experience. Bikes selected, and faffage completed, Jodie briefed the group on the basics before getting us out on the track.
Lined up against the guard rail, I took a few moments to appreciate the bikes. Whilst most bikes are weighed down with all manner of componentry, the track version is perhaps its purist form. Quite beautiful; built without a single compromise, and utterly focussed on the task in hand.
Jodie started us off slowly, but we quickly graduated to the Cote D’Azur, the name given to the metre of so wide blue piece of the track which lies between the concrete track centre, and the track proper with its distinctive black, red, and blue lines.
Our speed and confidence grew in equal measure as we made it up to the blue line and beyond, and it’s up here that the steepness of the track makes itself felt. Speed is the key to holding a high line, and I found it helpful to accelerate ever so slightly into the corners and to use the straights for an all too brief recovery. The novices of all but half an hour ago, were now riding the boards with confidence.
After a break for drinks Jodie put us through our paces with a couple of drills. The first saw us riding on the black, or sprinters line, as a group, and then taking a lap on the front before swinging up the track and re-joining at the back once everyone had passed. Looking down on the group below from high up on the banking is something else.
Our second drill saw us working as group again, this time circling the track high up on the blue line. On the whistle the front man dropped to the sprinters line and accelerated to gain a lap before re-joining the back of the group. All I can say is that this is much, much harder than it sounds, and really took its toll on me. However, the sight of the back of the group acted as a magnet, and offered that last incentive to bridge the gap.
A last break and the mood amongst the group was buoyant, and everyone was clearly enjoying the experience, even Spider. The sight of him out of the pedals, and control, as he weaved up and down the banking was the perfect reminder to not stop pedalling!
With our two hour session drawing all too quickly to a close, Jodie informed us that to finish off we were all going to take on a 500m challenge. From a standing start, we had about 15 metres to the ‘start’ line, and from here it was full bore for two laps. I lined up 5th man, and in no time at all I was on. The first challenge was to get the gear turning as quickly as possible. I was up to speed on the back straight and the feeling of speed as I flew into the banking was just awesome. Lap 1 completed and my legs were burning. Into the back straight for the final time, and I was flagging fast. Time to dig deep for one last push and I was over the line. I’m sure it felt a whole lot faster than it was.
With the final challenge completed it was time for the results. It was all fairly close and only 5 seconds covered the entire group. However in any competition there has to be a winner, and @SJ1202 was narrowly beaten into runners up spot by @DaipacCycling but a mere 0.17 seconds. @DaipacCycling covered the 500m in a very creditable 41.02 seconds @ 43.88km/h(that’s a shade over 27mph in old money) to be crowned the inaugural ShifnalCyclingSociety Track Champion in the 500m Time Trial. Well Done.
A fantastic way to end a fantastic day. When can we do it all again?
Vive la Velo!

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