With the culmination of the indoor spinning season behind us it was time for those fast acceleration and endurance training sessions to pay off on the track. This was I think the Wheelers’ sixth visit to the National Velodrome of Wales in Newport. It is an excellent facility and one which we could do with nearer home.
Wheelers Robin, Chris, Dean, Julian and Simon were joined by our fellow spinners Andy, Jeremy, Mike, Lee and Robin’s niece Natalia, who is a runner. Despite there being three complete novices amongst the group our coach Steve Marshall soon managed to get them moving well round the track in the second group building up their confidence. The first group’s warm up extended even the strongest riders when we had to gain a lap off the front of the group whenever the whistle was blown. There was no let up as the intervals between the whistle got shorter and shorter. We needed a break when it came.
Meanwhile the second group was doing team pursuit relays from the black line with the rider at the head of the group peeling off, initially on the straight, and later on going up the banking, before dropping in on the tail of the string. The second group was then introduced to the technique of stopping at the top of the banking on the straight and “jumping” the rear of the bike into the ready position. We then split into two smaller groups and positioned ourselves on opposite sides of the track before the whistle started us off on a team pursuit. The “extra” team had a subtle little bit more to do each lap – six metres to be exact since they had to ride on the blue line while the “slower” team had the benefit of riding the black line at the bottom of the track. After the “extra” team initially looked as if they might effect the catch of the other team quite quickly the “slower” team then revealed their cunning plan and Man 3 dropped off the string releasing Man 1 and Man 2 to surge away so that they were not caught but kept their chasers well at bay.
All ten of us then gradually came together in one long string continuing to relay as we warmed down.
It was another hard but really enjoyable two hours session, when you feel your reflexes tuned up with adrenalin. No one had fallen off or crashed. Steve our coach had skilfully integrated the new riders and mixed the different abilities well. There were the usual calls for another visit outside as the Wheelers’ press officer took a group photo.
It’s another indication of the wide diversity of cycling that the Wheelers enjoy. This year some who had had track cycling on their bucket list for a while finally took on the challenge and became members of the “blue line club” in the wheel tracks of the club treasurer and others.
(I just thought it was all great fun!. Apprentice Editor and Press(ed) Photographer.)