Date: 26th August 2015
Last Wednesday saw my long-awaited trip to the Olympic velodrome to cash in my birthday voucher for a taster session. I was both very nervous and excited beforehand – it was going to be brilliant cycling around such an iconic venue, home of Olympic heroics and Wiggo’s hour record. However, I was both a little stressed about getting there in time and about driving a fixed gear bike!
In the end I drove and parked at Westfield, only to find they had parking next to the velodrome. Oh well! We arrived in plenty of time and I had a coffee beforehand. Anna and Nicky sat in the stands whilst I went to get changed and go down to the centre of the track. After a little bit of toing and froing (eventually I decided to hire some cleats) I was given my track bike and was all ready to go. Everyone was in the same boat, a little worried about crashing without having brakes or a freewheel. Our instructor started us off slowly, doing a single lap on the warm-up area, then a couple of laps on the cote, progressing to multiple laps around the black line and red line. In our first multi-lap session I quickly got to grips with things, I had one minor wobble where the rider in front of me slowed unexpectedly and my reaction was to stop pedalling – luckily I remembered just in time! I also went a little too slowly around one of the bends but soon got the hang of the banking.
The only way to describe this session was AMAZING – I have not had so much fun in a long time! It quickly became apparent that I was faster than most and was soon happily overtaking people whilst riding above the blue line (shouting “stay” at every overtake). I lapped most of the field in the first multi-lap session, but this took a little out of me and in the second session I took it a little easier (I was still pretty quick though). It’s difficult to gauge exactly how fast I was going – in the video below I completed a lap in 25s which equates to 36km/h – it looks so slow on the video though! I did do some laps faster than that but I didn’t do any sprinting or anything, I wasn’t quite that confident!
The hour ended far too quickly and I had a huge grin on my face for the rest of the day. I’ll definitely be going back, hopefully I can save up and get my accreditation!
In this video I’m the one in second place, this was early on whilst we were still getting used to riding on the actual track.