Death by track riding!


Good grief, I knew it wouldn’t necessarily be easy re-training in another sport, but I seriously didn’t expect track riding/ racing to be anywhere near as hard as this. I am pretty sure triathlon isn’t as hard as this.

I wasn’t really feeling that brilliant today. Tell you the truth, I very nearly didn’t go at all. I am having a ‘miss my mum’ day. They come along like a bolt of lightening to the head, without warning. The NLP trained side of me said that if I didn’t go, that would just compound things and make me feel worse. Perhaps going would at the least, give me something else to think about.

When I got there (late) they had already started their roll around warm up. There were 6 women and 8 men. Wow. A lot more than last week’s 2 men, 3 women. I handed the coach a written note explaining why it might be that I wasn’t myself, and could leave at any point. He was really good, asked no questions, simply giving me encouraging words at times.

There’s a huge ton of things that you underestimate when you take on a new sport. It’s like cycling, but not. Cycling with a whole new set of parameters. I still don’t have my bike, I won’t for another week. This one I have been loaned is not quite the right size, seat too low at its maximum, and reach just a bit too long. The gear is quite small too, in my opinion, although the coach wants me to spin out on an 86 to get my RPM up. I simply cannot keep up. I am not just blaming the gear though!

After the ‘warm up’ which finishes with 8 laps of increasing speed to a sprint finish (which I simply cannot keep with the group for, but I was prepared for that this week, and it bothered me less this time) I was told we were starting with a criterium race. Ok, said everyone and off they went to the top of the track, for a hold the top rail back straight start. What the devil is a criterium?

Criterium races

Race length can be determined by a number of laps or total time, in which case the number of remaining laps is calculated as the race progresses. The winner is the first rider to cross the finish line without having been “lapped.”
Events often have prizes (called primes, pronounced “preems”, and are usually cash) for winning specific intermediate laps (for instance, every 10th lap). A bell is usually rung to announce to the riders that whoever wins the next lap, wins the prime.

Yeah. Hmmmm. Apparently, if your strength is endurance, you have to peg it off the start, make a break away and keep it. If your strength is sprinting, stay in the pack till the final lap. I asked what if your strength isn’t either of those!? Erm…

‘Try and stay with the pack and try and not get lapped. If you drop off the pace, head up above the blue line out of the way.’

Oh. Guess I will be up on the blue line then.

It’s quite demoralising when you thought you were an ok cyclist, but now can’t even stay with the group at all, even when they are going ‘slower’. I gritted my teeth and did the best I could, which is all I can do. I lost the group after 4 of the 8 laps when someone put in an attack. The sped off into the distance. So I continued riding as hard as I could, but up higher on the track above the blue line to allow them through. This is supposed to be fun!? Ack! I almost collapsed off the bike.

Luckily the men and women were separate so we got a rest while the men raced.

Next, out came the gurney bike. Oh my gosh! So much to learn my head was spinning. This time we were practicing race pacing. The bike sat in front of the group for 9 laps, increasing its speed each lap. The riders had to take one lap on the front then pull up and catch the back of the train. That alone was hard enough. When the bike went, OMG I was left, once again, in my own little race at the back of the pack.

Then again, but this time, 15 laps, 5 with the bike, 5 without, 5 with the bike. No chance. I was spent. I could just about with all my might, hang onto the bike, including my turn, then it was spat out of the back of the pack, and, yep, you guessed it, finished the ‘race up above the blue line.

It didn’t matter how many people shouted words of encouragement from the side, I simply couldn’t make my legs spin round any faster to be able to keep up.

Result: every single training race, I was last.


  • I learned a heap of stuff about all sorts of technicalities
  • Several times I was attacked from one I if not both sides by riders weaving all over the place. AAARGH but I need to get used to it, and it didn’t fall off. (I must confess, I did yell the first time!)
  • I completed the session, whereas this morning I almost didn’t go
  • Rome wasn’t built in a day. Each session I am a teeny bit stronger than last time
  • I get my bike next week. That will make it all another teeny bit better when the bike is the right size

I think its Jodie Swallow that said on her blog

My overnight success took 15 years to achieve

I might get this new bike a shiny paint job, and call it Maggie. Mum would be reassuring me that I CAN do it, because I am determined and pigheaded, so perhaps I should name the new bike after her.

One Comment on “Death by track riding!

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