Thursday, 1 January 2009


On Saturday we drove to Manchester Velodrome for a day of track accreditation training. I’ve been stressing about this for a while as it entails 5 hours on the track, culminating in a “mock” race and laps behind a Derny As you will see from previous posts I have been concerned about a lack of fitness, enough to get through the full day anyway.

On Saturday evening I got onto the track with Bob Barber, a clubmate and the manager of the track. We circled on the stayers line doing alternate laps for about 30 minutes, joined by Jennifer, a relative novice rider who was also booked for the full accreditation the following day. With a 50x16 gear lapping at evens was no problem but I was surprised to be sharing the track with a number of first timers, many of whom were wearing jeans and trainers! Continually passing female “builders bums” at twice their speed became quite off-putting after a while, but it proves that cycling has become extremely popular of late. Once the session was over we all went to Cathy’s (Bob’s partner) where she had prepared a pasta dinner perfect for carbo loading for the following day. It was good to catch up with bob and Cathy and all too soon it was time to get back to the hotel for some shuteye.

28th December 2008 - 07:30 hrs.

It was bloody freezing (literally) waiting to get into the velodrome. Once the doors opened the other 15 candidates for accreditation begin to leach out of the woodwork and soon we were all meeting and introducing ourselves to the coaches. During the following hours we did lumps and bumps (at quite a high speed), half lap changes, riding and changing in pairs, through and off in ball formation as in traditional club runs – and yes, we still do it in the Wheelers - and chasing half laps. The day ended with a mock race of 24 laps. Once the split went I managed to get on but couldn’t stay with them. I also managed to stay on the derny quite well so apart from a bit of top end speed I’m going as well as I should be.

The day ended with a debrief from the coaches both of whom had been good humoured and professional all day except for one point when instead of changing into a “square dance” routine by swinging up from the low string to the front of the upper string to allow the lower string to circulate forward, one rider dropped to the sprinter line to spiral the lower string off the track. Total and utter chaos ensued and sensing panic in the coaches shouted instructions we dropped swiftly off the track for a group bollocking. That demonstrated exactly what we had been taught earlier in the day about knowing what we are doing and safe riding. Despite this small hiccup we all got our accreditation tickets and then, after showering and changing, drove home happy but tired.

No comments: