Thursday, 22 January 2009

Velo riding

As Everest is poorly, I got an early morning session in at the fab Manchester Velodrome.
After lugging Piste to the track in the rain and drying her off, I was all set to try out the new start time (8am) for this session. I couldn't have picked a better time as all the other riders wee newbies and needed the coaches instruction and monitoring, while I had pretty much all the track to myself! Perfect!

My initial intention was to see how my injuries have healed after my (road cycling) crash in November that left me with broken bones. As I began everything seemed fine: I could get in the drops without my wrist hurting (unlike on Everest), my shoulder was OK too. Real test would be at high speed where my ribs would get tested during the rapid/deep breathing required.

As I was having no problems I upped the pace to that of race pace to check the ribs - they seemed OK, so I maintained my race pace for several laps, just to be 100% certain.

Yup, it all seemed OK. I now began my sprint start training: few laps at the top of the banking, then when the newbies had buggered off out of my way swooping down and hurtling like a lunatic with legs all a blur for a lap, gulping air like it was running out. All still seemed OK, so that's how I spent the rest of the hour.
The coaches know I this training in the taster sessions and so long as I'm careful, they're quite happy for me to carry on.

As often happens when I've been on the track, I get used as an example of how to ride/do things for the newbies to learn from. This happened today too. Newbies were asking 'How d'you know when it's safe to drop down in front of another rider?' Conveniently, I was about to do that to pull in for a drink, so there goes lesson 1. Each time I went past the little huddled group, the coach would point at me and say summat to them that made their little faces change with the knowledge they'd learnt summat (they'll probably forget 2 seconds later!).

Right at the very end of the hour, the newbies had all pulled off the track and I'd just finished a sprint when I heard the coach shout to me to do it again; on seeing my puzzled mush he said that the group had asked how the sprints work and they didn't know where the markers were or anything (how you can't see a long white line on a wooden floor I don't know!); so I had a chance to show off and took it happily. What I didn't know was that the coach had got his stopwatch out.....

Off I set for lap 1, upping the pace and gaining height on the banking; lap 2 right at the top of the banking almost touching the upper railings, legs pumping away, then SWOOP across the 200 metre line mashing down on the pedals, straining for breath, got a perfect line all the way round.

When I eventually came to a stop panting like a dehydrated dog that's when I noticed the stopwatch; he'd timed me to show the guys exactly how it works and how fast a 'normal' rider can go.

My time? 15.67 seconds - my first sub-16 sprint. And that was after sprinting for most of the session!

My shoulder and wrist are now hurting, but I think that's purely down to being in the drops for the whole session and I normall don't stay in one position.

Boring bits -
Maximum mph: 35
Average mph: 27
Distance: 15.93 miles
Sprint time: 15.67 seconds. Yippee!


  1. I will have to join you on track one day, see if give you a run for your money!

    I will have to start off in that beginners group though. It been years since i've ridden on the track!

  2. You sure will!

    You'll have to come along on some road rides with me and Amy too at some point; I'm sure we can figure out a day when you're not working your butt off, and me and Amy can make it.

    I only ride the taster sessions - not got accreditation to do the others and can't afford the improver or skills sessions. Other than that it's the MCC championships when I ride.

  3. It will probably have to be March time now. (I've book most of my weekends in Feb up.) I'm sure we'll be able to sort something out sometime in the future.

  4. March is good. There's only 2 weekends when I'm not available, but the other's I'm fine with.

  5. I'm sure you'll be able to work something out with Amy. I'm very easy going in terms of the route / and I don't mind which weekend. Just tell me where and when to turn up. I'm always nagging poor Amy to ride with me. She must be sick of it by now.

    btw, I wont be chasing buses!