Towards the end of March we had our first “real” riding event of the year as 16 of us met for a velodrome taster session at the Olympic Velodrome, Lee Valley. For the majority it was the first time riding the boards, and there was considerable nervous energy and palpable excitement as we got kitted up and headed to “track-centre” for the briefing.
Most of us have watched in awe as Olympic athletes hurtle round the track, making it look easy. But track riding is not quite the same as riding on the road! No brakes, no gears, and a fixed wheel (no freehub) making track bikes a little tricky to get used to, first time out.
Out on the track it didn’t take long for the adrenaline to kick in. Nerves soon settled and we started to get the hang of the basic rules of track cycling - don’t stop pedalling, ascend the bank at speed, don’t try and stop too quickly!
With 20 minutes still on the clock Chris Grove took on the role of track coach to coordinate some team formations and the basics of “through and off”. Needless to say I don’t think we will be troubling the pros any time soon!
Showered and ready to rehydrate, we retired to The Cow pub in Westfield where heroic riders regaled us with stories of swooping down 45 degree banks and catapulting down the straights, until late into the night. It was a great evening that didn’t feel like networking at all - the best kind.
With a number of track veterans in our ranks, next time out, we will see if we can advance to flying laps and team pursuits.
Our first road ride, starting and finishing at The Drift Golf Club is on 26th April - a ride around the Surrey Lanes.