Over the weekend just past, club member Kevin Monaghan was in London with family. Unknown to him a treat was in store. Having shared some pictures, we thought we would ask him to share his story.
Kev – I was in London last weekend to visit my sons and my brother. Unknown to me a very nice surprise was awaiting me when I arrived. I was booked into the London Velodrome in the Olympic Village for a 60 min “taster” session.
You will all know the Velodrome from the Olympic Games in 2012. I can tell you the track is much steeper in reality than it looks on the TV – the elevation on the bends is a staggering 42 degrees and 20 degrees the straights!
Excited and having turned up 45 min early, I had time to stroll around the
Velodrome and soak up the atmosphere – You can almost hear the crowds
cheering on Sir Chris Hoy, as he won his gold medals in 2012. Then it was down to the changing rooms and track side for kitting out and an initial briefing by a very competent Emma. If any of you have ridden fixies before you will understand the simple but challenging set up of a track bike – no brakes, no hoods to rest your hands on and no free wheel hub. Only Look Keo pedals were permitted and having never ridden a fixie or used Look before, I found it a real culture shock!
So suited and booted, I made my way with 11 other riders nervously onto the track. First few laps were for familiarisation and warm up. Then we
were re-briefed and let loose on the 0banks! In reality it was a lot more intuitive than I thought it would be. The bike was superb and I quickly came to terms with the set up. Also, a mix of fear and adrenalin keep you on the move at a fast lick!
Riding the banks was a little more difficult. Emma said it was simply physics – ride round hard enough and you stay on – too slow and your going to slide off! I found the lower sections of
the track were easy enough, but as I moved higher I really had to sprint on the corners in order to stay on. This is where Neil’s Hurt Locker would pay great dividends for those who join him on Thursday nights! I found it like intervals with hard sprints into the bends and then easing off for only a few seconds on the straights. All in all it was a brill experience and one I would highly recommend to all experienced cyclists.
Finally, some helpful pointers if you do intend to visit the Velodrome. Get there early and enjoy the atmosphere. The
Velodrome is warm so bib shorts and jerseys are more than adequate. You don’t need to bring a helmet or shoes. Helmets are provided and shoes are £7 to hire. Garmins, drinking bottles etc are not permitted due to the risk of dropping them on the track and causing a crash.
Lastly, the cost is £40 for the “Taster” session, which for me was long enough!