14th challenge completed – Cycling track

The London 2012 Olympics was an amazing experience and my only disappointment was not being able to secure any tickets for the velodrome. Luckily the legacy plan has fully kicked into action and we attended the official opening of velodrome as part of the Lee Valley VeloPark. The first event was the ‘Revolution’ cycling series on 14th March, which included the likes of Jason Kenny and Laura Trott.

I had never been to a cycling track before and was amazed and how steep the sides were, the TV really doesn’t do it justice. The thought of doing it myself made me slightly nervous.

During the racing the atmosphere was incredible even for this low key event and I couldn’t help thinking what it would have been like during the Olympics. I was buzzing when I left the velodrome, the Olympic spirit had been reignited in me.

So today, Rhian and I went to VeloPark to take part in a track taster session. Thanks for Jan Steen for an awesome Christmas present. We didn’t know what to expect and in truth I half expected to end up cycling round the bottom for a few laps and that would be that. Thankfully I was very wrong.

There was about 12 other cyclists, most in a similar situation to us just wanting to give it a try but there were a couple of keenos dressed up in their full Garmin gear. We had a short briefing, picked up our bikes and helmets and started on the track. Unlike most bikes, track bikes are single speed and fixed wheel. Essentially this means no gears and no brakes – a new experience for both of us. We started on the lower level for a few laps just to get used to the bikes and the racing position. From this point on, every time we passed the coaches they encouraged us to go faster and higher. It was ok at first but as we got closer to the blue line (about half way up) my heart started to beat a little bit quicker. It didn’t seem logical that the bike could travel round on such a steep incline without slipping off. After a while my confidence grew and I reached the top of the velodrome and started to really increase the cadence. It was an amazing feeling, especially to be cycling in the venue where we won 8 gold medals.

The entire session was 1 hour long and we must have spent around 40 minutes cycling. Great day and I can’t wait to have another go. On my way back home I also picked up my new bike in preparation for the Thames Turbo sprint Triathlon series on 25th May.

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