This is something I need to tell myself, from time to time. In fact I had a reality check today at the track that reminded me of this exact thing. Track sessions how clash with road riding sessions. This Is only since the clocks went back, so many track riders are now riding outside, because they can. That means the numbers have been down and I don’t always know who will be there when I turn up.
In reality it means that there may be some people I possibly can keep up with, for a bit, or some people who simply lap me.
I have accepted this as normal, and gauge my progress on how long I can hang onto whatever group is there. Today there were a few regular riders on the track when I arrived. When I got on, compared to today’s riders, I seemed to be going quite well. Then a few more arrived. They were on ILT rental bikes, the ones that I have been riding since I arrived, until a friend lent me a bike a few weeks ago.
I continued to focus on my laps, sometimes I was with a group, sometimes not. It wasn’t bothering me, I felt ok. I was pushing a pace slightly above ‘normal’ and trying to keep my cadence high. I found myself catching and passing groups of other riders, something I simply did not expect, and haven’t done before.
About half way through the session I came to a stop, to get a drink. A girl was sitting on a chair nearby. She asked me
how long did it take you to get that good? Have you been track riding long?
I nearly fell over with shock. I am not good, I corrected her, and I have only been at it a few months, I explained. Most of that on a borrowed bike like hers. I explained that it’s not like road riding, you have to work on leg speed, and simply keep at it, and learn how to ride on someone’s wheel, because you will take much longer to get tired. She seemed reassured by that, saying she was glad that she may be as good as me in only a few months. I still felt a bit uncomfortable with this praise.
As I rode off again, I remembered how I felt the very first time I rocked up. I was terrified. I lasted a few minutes at a time on someone’s wheel. I can now keep with the group for up to half the hour session, depending who turns up. And I am on a bike that doesn’t fit, with a seat too low and a small gear. Think what I’ll be able to do when I get my bike! I can’t wait!
Meanwhile, perhaps I need to stop focussing on my grand ambition and remember that I have only been riding a track bike on an actual track for a few months, and I might actually be doing ok, all things considered!