Visiting Calshot for a track taster session had been mentioned several times in the pub after the Tuesday Night Ride. I was very keen to ride at a velodrome, after seeing so much of the track cycling on the TV, so took it upon myself to organise a session. It turns out there were many others who were just as interested as i was, and 9 of us (Rich, Lee, Chas, Al, Mark, Juliet, Marjory, Kev and I) made our way to Calshot on Wednesday Evening. Chris Noble was supposed to join us but managed to get the date wrong (?!) and couldn’t make it in time.
There were heavy snow showers in the morning, which began to worry me as it doesn't take much to throw our roads into Chaos, which would have made our journey to Southampton near impossible. Luckily the weather had cleared up by the afternoon and we had a faultless drive to the activity centre.
Our excited chatter echoed through-out the converted air hanger that plays host to an expansive climbing wall, ski slope and the pièce de résistance- The Velodrome. Many of the group had never ridden a fixed wheel bike before, those of us that had repeated the one simple rule- “Don’t stop pedalling!”. We quickly changed into more appropriate attire, i opted for my Trek Leopard kit for the Track Veteran look.
We then bustled along a small corridor which led to the track, where we got our first glimpse of the boards we would soon be entrusting with our dignity. The instructor, Adam, gave us a brief safety speech and was keen for us to get kitted with bikes, helmets and shoes. The equipment had recently been upgraded, and we were treated to Dolan Pre- Cursa track bikes.
The session started with a few simple drills to ensure we were competent enough, then jumped straight into the action. Riding the walls is quite imposing to begin with, but in no time at all we were pedaling as hard as we could, begging for more speed each time we emerged from the corners. Juliet was enjoying herself, but found riding in circles caused severe dizziness, so she decided to become resident photographer instead.
We advanced a lot faster than the instructor was expecting, eager not to hold us back he moved us onto a Level 2 drill to finish the taster off. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, already talking about the next session!
Sadly Marjory had to leave fairly promptly due to baby-sitting contraints, but the rest of us stopped off at the Royal Jaipur curry house for post- track fuel. Good food topped off a perfect evening, thanks all for coming along. See you all for level 2.