So I don’t mind admitting it, I was extremely nervous when I first arrived at the Reception Desk at Derby Arena and was given a pair of size 5 cycling shoes with cleats.
You see I was on my first ever Introduction to track cycling session around the new 250 metre indoor cycling track, the steepest bank angled at an impressive 42%. Introduction to track cycling sessions are ‘have a go’ sessions for new riders, who want to give the track a go to see if they like it.
Well I’ve ridden a bike before of course, on the flat, up hills, even ‘off road’ on occasions, but my mountain bike has big fat tyres, brakes and I can free wheel when going downhill or if my legs get tired.
Anyway I quickly change into my black leggings and pink top and clip clop in my cycling shoes to join the rest of the group for our briefing session, very aware that they were are all dressed in cycling shorts and cycling tops.
Phil our lovely cycling instructor provided the safety briefing, explaining that the racing position on the handle bars offers more stability, that you wear clip-on shoes so your feet don’t slip off the pedals and you can’t put your feet down and that basically your legs are your brakes and gears – so keep pedaling or your bike might stop suddenly and you may fall off. Great!
My first time around is on the flat dark blue section; I concentrate hard as I listen to Phil’s instructions – ‘practise moving your hands from the top of the handle bars down into racing position and then back up again, look over your right and left shoulder keeping in a straight line, don’t forget to pedal.’
So feeling a little more confident, it’s time!! We move onto the ‘cote d’azure’, that’s the light blue coloured band that has a slight gradient. Whizzing around the track, I’m getting more confident with each lap, feeling out of breath and willing my legs to go faster.
The next level is to ride above the black line on the flat, moving down to the cote d’azure at the corners. Wow I did that too – hey this is alright.
So this is it – following a quick break, where I released my clips from the pedals and stretched my legs to release the lactic acid burning in my thighs, Phil gave us instructions for riding the track, well the track a little bit higher than I had ridden it so far!
‘Ride the red line on the flat, and the black line on the corners, push harder on your left leg as you go into the corners and concentrate on keeping your line, be aware that other riders are on the track, so look left and right as you move up and down the track’ shouted Phil as we raced round.
Well of course I’m delighted to tell you – I did it, bit of a wobbly line around the corners, but hey what do you expect for a beginner. My heart was in my mouth the first time around and I fully expected to end up on the floor but no and – I LOVED IT.
Phil’s next instructions were to ride the higher blue line but to be honest I was feeling a little tired – maybe next time. Although I might add that one of the other riders, new to the track but obviously not new to cycling (big thighs!), went right to the top of the 42% slope and zoomed back down again, it’s all confidence and can definitely be done.
I would so recommend having a go on a Introduction to track cycling session, it’s an excellent experience and so thrilling, you don't need to be serious about track cycling to have a go - you can just enjoy the ride! You can stay at the same level and carry on having fun - no need to take things seriously,
If you are serious about cycling, book onto the 4 stage Accreditation process. Once all 4 stages are complete, you can join the Track League and Structures Quality Training sessions.