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Friday, 3 April 2015

Wall of Death?

Whilst not quite the "wall of death" Peter and I approached the thought of riding the Derby velodrome track with some trepidation. Whilst our fears seemed justified at first with a close up of the 42 degree banking at the two ends of the track, our coach assured us we simply had to have faith and the speed(!) to stay up there. Never having ridden a 'fixie' before I had some difficulty at first with stopping. "just relax your legs and you'll slow down naturally" explained the coach. Good advice but it still did not prevent me from almost piling into a line of riders on the rail at the end of my first lap.

Pete had to learn to use 'clips' for the 1st time and after a few warm up laps on the blue of the cote d'azur we were up on the bank trying like mad to hold our speed around the bends without catching the guy in front. In my case this was Pete who seemed to be having some difficulty with the 'leap of faith' required to get up on the banking proper. After a few laps and a reassuring word with Simon the coach he was soon holding first the red and then the blue line (3m up the banking) with ease. Quite an achievement after only 20 minutes on the track.

No one crashed and only one person fell off i.e. me! I contend that was because someone had pinched my bike half way through the session. Anyway I was stationary at the rail adjusting my seat whilst clipped in (not recommended!). Les for once was 'sans' camera (something about arena rules) so here are some pictures Kay managed to take from the stands with my compact. The lack of close ups mean you will need to have faith its Pete and I in the pictures.


BirdyRed said...

Trepidation, Shawn?? Nay lad, sheer unadulterated terror. I have plenty of experience of a fixed wheel so no problem there. The shoe cleats which firmly attach one's shoes to the pedals were a new experience- I had always shunned them before due to the alleged problems they could cause to knee joints - but after a few practice "clips" and "unclips" I was OK. At my only previous track session, 10 years ago in Manchester I was left very much on my own and, once I had got used to the fact that the straights are inclined, I was OK riding round the black line. Here the program was much more structured and I was quickly out of my comfort zone. The red line was OK but the blue, well as Shawn suggests I chickened out and had several dives down to relative safety. To someone who is nervous on the first rung of a stepladder it appears to be VERY high up. Only the persistent of Simon the coach and the help of Paul,an experienced rider and the encouragement of Shawn got me through. I did eventually ride several laps at the blue line level but mostly because the final session was in pairs and Paul was lower than me so I had no choice but to stay up. It's all about belief. Looking back it was a worthwhile experience. (I think!)

Les Sims said...

It was great to see you guys out there on the track.
Thanks to Kay for the photographs.
I had been told that photography was prohibited.
First time that I have seen the inside of the completed building and I was most impressed, but very much doubt that 5000 seats will be sufficient for big events.

Longranger said...

I suppose it's early days at Derby, but they need to get their act together with several aspects, including photos. At Manchester it was possible to sign a form stating purpose and use of pictures for amateur photographers.