I must be mad, strutting into here on a day like this! Today, though, I had a blast!
Tuesday is usually a quiet roll around, I simply use it as time on the track. There’s an odd mix of people there nowadays, with racing straight after and a road ride at the same time, but miles on the track is miles on the track, plus it’s my only chance this week because of elite racing at the weekend.
I set off, and usually just roll round minding my own business, set myself some mini sprints, nothing much more. I need to become more track aware, because before I had realised it, all the riders were hiding behind me in a peloton! Charming! So I peeled up to drop to the back, as is track etiquette, but the cyclists behind didn’t roll through as I expected, and I was stuck high on the track above the blue line for over a lap. Dammit! They were too slow, and from my position high up meant I was actually having to cycle further round each time! I had two choices, either slow down or speed up. Well, you don’t slow down when you’re right up there, because that usually results in you sliding off! So I decided to put the hammer down to get back in front, then take it from there. It wasn’t actually that hard to get ahead, so I got back down onto the racing line and continued at that speed. A shout from behind indicated that two riders had come with me. But I had done all the hard work to create the break, while they all drafted behind, so I decided to give them a turn too, can’t have them getting lazy back there!
I had a small rest, and came to be introduced to my two new drafting buddies, John and Martie. Martie commented on how someone at a similar speed made things more interesting than usual, I had to agree.
I set off again, for another stint. Again, I didn’t have a plan. The slower riders were already rolling round, in a group of three, we had lost John into the slower group. I was wise enough to look this time, and find Martie hiding behind me, so we took it in turns on the front, 4 laps each, roughly.
We caught the slower group quite quickly this time, I was on the front as I saw we were reeling them in quite rapidly. The question was where to pass them, the straights are flatter but you get more speed of the bend if you ride it high then dive down at the right point. The other question was when and where would they change the front rider, they weren’t changing in the usual position, as per track etiquette (I learned that rule the hard way myself too!) You guessed it, right on the bend right as I was planning my passing manoeuvre. The front rider of the three went up the banking on the corner, I knew I had Martie behind me! I couldn’t let the power off! The corner banking is so steep you will slip in a flash! which at this point would have caused a crash as there were riders beneath me too. I could see Martie to my right and behind, right up next to the fence. The rider from the bunch was in the middle of the track in front of me. I had a moment to decide what to do next. There was only one option, squeeze myself between the rider ahead and the group who were all down on the racing line. I pedalled with all my might, I wanted out of here quickly! Martie took took the high line option, and passed the rider higher up on his other side. Phew!! We both made it through, and cleared he group to maintain the break away once again.
Much more interesting than your average roll around, and I was able to learn some skills in group and pack negotiation, and was also able to convince myself that these new wheels are actually ok on the track, something I had not been so sure of.
Martie and I congratulated ourselves in a job well done, and vowed to work together if we find ourselves on the track again for training. It’s way more interesting if you have an equally matched rider to provide you with a challenge whether that’s mentally, or physically!