Newport Newbies

I had been looking forward to more velodrome action since my first taster back in December. To get the authentic experience however, we travelled to Newport, as they have an Olympic sized track (They even dry the air for extra speed)!

We made the 58 mile journey from Westbury to the Newport International Sports Village and loytered in reception for the rest of the posse to arrive. Neil and Simon soon rolled up, smiling from their early morning blast around Ashton Court. The rest of the group were just crossing the bridge so we decided to see what we had let ourselves in for. The first thing we noticed is what a vast room it is. The track commands most of the space, with smaller courts inside the track where a local martial arts class was taking place.

Rich and Lee arrived not long after, so we piled into the changing room and embraced the lycra! There was all sorts of excited chatter and in next to no time everyone was in the hall queuing for bikes. A track bike is a very basic machine, so the only adjustments needed is saddle height.

Our coach for the session was Brian, who had been recommended to me by several others. He was relieved to hear we all had previous track experince and wasted no time with introductions, it was straight on to the track. It was great to be back on the boards (if a little unnatural to begin with) and i was interested in what the next few hours would entail.

We did a lot of riding in a relatively short period of time, because it is a full size track (250m), you can have a lot more riders out at one time. We completed several drills to test our spacial awareness and to prepare us for riding in larger groups, so that we were as safe and competent as possible.

Brian suggested doing a flying lap- you get a lap to set yourself up and then pedal your legs off for the following lap. This was great fun and introduced a bit of light hearted competition amongst the group. Everyone gave it their all which was brilliant to see, the results were as follows:

  1. Rich: 16.60
  2. Neil: 17.66
  3. Ryan: 17.94
  4. Ben: 18.06
  5. Simon: 18.41
  6. Mark: 18.66
  7. Chris: 18.85
  8. Rupert: 19.00
  9. Lee: 19.69
  10. Al: 19.75
  11. Kev: 19.84
  12. Juliet: 20.85
  13. Marjory: 20.91
As you can see, the times were all pretty close and i am sure if we had another opportunity we could have all bettered our times. We had a warm down spin, when the whole group were on track and it was great, although i think some were beginning to struggle after a few intense hours of riding a bike with no gears or freewheel!

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, to complete the day we headed to the Bay Leaf in Frome for a curry, whilst Neil and Simon completed their marathon day with a lap of Cwmcarn. I am already getting the next session booked up and can't wait to get back in the 'Drome.

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