|Photo Credit: my buddy Anneleen who talked me into this!|
I’ve never seen track cycling. I’ve never heard stories about track cycling. I’ve never ridden a fixed gear bike. I’d class myself as a slow cyclist. And I’m not known for taking risks.
So how do you ask yourselves, did I end up at the Olympic Park Velodrome on the Track Cycling Taster Session?! I’m wondering too.
The good news is, I did it. The not so good news is I could have braved more had the session been longer.
This is how it went down.
A 9am start, but kit set up is not included in this time so I arrived at the venue at 830am to collect my bike and helmet (included in the £30 cost). I also had to take along gloves and optional clip in shoes (or pay to hire). For some reason I decided against kitting myself out in my best cycling gear – I feared this may make me look like I had a clue what was about to happen.
Fixed gear bikes are controlled by the pedals. I know, I know. Sounds simple. When you pedal the bikes moves. When you stop / pause pedalling…the bike stops. You drop. So you don’t stop pedalling unless you have something /someone to hold onto. You get clipped in for the session and technically, your feet don’t touch the floor again till you finish the session.
By now, I’ve lost that teeny weeny bit of confidence I had. What also didn’t help was seeing the gradient of the track wood. A sideways hill. How does that work?!
First things first, we learn about the different areas of the track, what all the lines mean etc and then crucially, how to set off, control the bike and stop. Okay, some confidence creeps back in. A few laps round the safety zone (the flat bit) and I feel like I could avoid the embarrassment of falling off this thing.
Next up, we get to try the first little slope. Not too bad. The next slope to me looks a little too much. I try, but my legs aren’t pressing hard or fast enough. Again. I get up there, and come down on the bend. My quads are burning and I’m breathing heavily. Eventually I get there, by which point everyone else is miles ahead, even on the (what looks) vertical bit (we learnt overtaking by this point). I’m happy where I am though…down low…legs still moving, butt still on the saddle.
It’s like I’ve blinked and the 60 minute session is over. I made it up a couple of (what I call) levels…nearly white knuckled, but I’ve defo done one thing this day to scare me. I din’t hit above the blue line so this means I couldn’t progress to stage two of Track Cycling accreditation but jheeeez, I would want more practice anyway!
|Anneleen and I with our certificates 🙂|
So am I the next big name in Track Cycling?! Far from it! But it has inspired me to hit up that spin class to let my legs get used to moving fast as opposed to my humble commuting pace. Getting some speed in my legs will pay off for my Triathlon in the summer too and then maybe, just maybe, I’ll go back and give Track a go again! For the time being though, I can say, I cycled at the Olympic Velodrome!
Do you ride a fixie?! Have you ever?! What’s your one thing a day that scares you for today?!