By Lydia Boylan
Last Saturday (Feb 5) I set off to Calshot Velodrome with the guys and girls of VCL.
I had never ridden on an indoor track before and all I knew was that it was incredibly different to what I’m used to at Herne Hill. For those of you who don’t know, the track at Calshot is 150m in length, that’s 100m shorter than an Olympic track and 300m shorter than Herne Hill! So it’s very tight and not much of a straight. I had heard some pretty scary stories from the VCL guys, so I was particularly nervous.
When we arrived at Calshot, I was shown the track from the top of the banking. Damn…it was steep! It looked terrifying. The VCL kids were on the track at the time and all I kept telling myself was “If they can do, I can!”.
I got changed and sorted out a hire bike (brand new Dolans!) The last time I was on a track bike was probably last September at Herne Hill, so I was really nervous about getting on a fixed wheel bike again. Just keep pedalling….just keep pedalling!! At Herne Hill you can start by holding on to the edge of the track, I couldn’t do that here! I got one of the guys to help me get started. I decided to ride around the ‘in-field’ a little. I was on the bike 5 sec and…….SPLAT!! I fell right on my bum! My front wheel had slipped on the wet concrete! Not the first time I’ve fallen off pretty stupidly!!
I got up and back on the bike pretty quickly and thankfully Jason Cattermole decided to coach me on to the track. I went around a few times on the ‘côte d’azur’ (which was not slippy!!) and then finally up on the the black line and then up to the blue line. The first thing I noticed was how dizzy I was feeling. Corner after corner after corner! I was still pretty nervous and gripping on to the drops so tightly my hands were aching! But I soon remembered why I love track cycling and eased into it. The track didn’t feel so steep after a while!
So then we got down to some good hard training! See VCL’s write up here.
A big massive thank you to VCL for letting me join in on their training session. I’m really looking forward to the reopening of Herne Hill and getting back to track racing.