Lee Valley Velodrome - 11th March 2023
With Velo in our name, it was only a matter of time until a strong contingent, donning Watford Lycra, visited the iconic Lee Valley Velodrome at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park.
We were lucky to get exclusive access to this iconic cycling venue.
We had the good fortune of some excellent coaching and patient instructors. Despite the 42-degree banking angle, we steadied our nerves and trepidation with thoughts of following in the tire tracks of the world’s cycling elite.
I think it’s fair to say there was some increased anxiety as we pushed off from the ‘ballet rail’ for the first time: getting used to the fixed wheel bike…with no brakes…and a battle-scared frame. Yet for some, getting out of their comfort zone meant an absence of cadence and power data!)
During our 2 hour session we completed some drills and debriefed between sets. Firstly riding in a peloton , then getting more confident by breaking off the front and elegantly rising to the top, to then flow down to seamlessly hug the last back wheel (at least that was the theory!).
We also did an exciting pursuit chase!. From the mid point on the track (blue line), the Front two took off from the group dropped down to the black line and, by taking the inside track and picking up speed, worked together to latch back onto the hurtling peloton.
The finale was a ‘flying lap’ ( the TT sprint!). The trick being to get as high as you can on the first lap, then after hearing the bell, going full gas, down hill, turning through the last lap to the cheering crowds on the finish line!
Team spirit and determination all helped make us look pretty pro-level by the end (as photos and instagram profiles now attest!). Whilst Olympic dreams may be just that for now, riding with your wheels higher than the head of the rider next to you, started to feel the norm by the end!
In summary, a really fantastic day out and everyone was grateful for this unique experience in a world class cycling venue ( kindly organised by the Watford Velo Committee).
By Mike Wood