Wednesday, 6 April 2016

No Brakes Cycling!

Track cycling is not something which I am exposed to....although I have been to the Brunswick velodrome a dozen or so times (DirtyDeeds CX and Melburn Roobaix) and I knew that it was used for track cycling but I have never experience track racing until I attended the Austral Championships on the 19th Dec 2015. 

Since then, the whole fixed wheel bicycle thing has become something which I have been fascinated about. One of my friends has even bought a track bike and she now races them weekly. I tried out track cycling on Good Friday of 2016 (the day after I was made redundant from my work) with the Melburn Hurt girls at Brunswick. 

My nervous face before I stepped out of the car to try track for the first time. 
I arrived early and got a bike my size ready for the trial. There were plenty of girls there who were trying track. Looking at the girls before me, some successful and some not in the initial "take off" on the bike wasn't great for my confidence. The sensation of not being able to pedal backwards to set the pedal in the correct position, requiring to constantly pedal and having no brakes made me so nervous about my turn on the track that I actually had an anxiety attack. My heart rate was so high and I started to get a bit dizzy that I had to just pull out of the line and just relax a bit. I didn't like how the attention was on me...

I took myself out of the line-up, watched a few more girls take off on the bike and then I rode off at my own pace. I wasn't comfortable about being clipped in on both sides and having someone hold onto my bike to start off but I was more than comfortable doing it on my own with only one shoe clipped in. Luckily I have the ability to pedal off on one leg so I clipped in my left foot when I was comfortable but the whole pedal over the entire crank and no coasting thing took some time to get used to...

I went around the track 4 times before I stopping on the track bike is another story. Even though I have done it severe times since then, I have no idea if I am doing it correctly. I slowed down by pedalling slower and actually putting on some force to slow down the bike. I had to stop as the saddle was on a slant and therefore was rubbing into my inner thigh and it was just getting ridiculous. I brought the bike up to the workshop for them to adjust and by the time I got back down to the track, it started to rain and one of the girls fell off the track as it was slippery. The track was then closed. 

Not knowing that the track was only closed temporarily, I took my bike back upstairs and swapped my pedals back and then was told that the track was opened again when the rain stopped. I already had taken off my pedals and so I decided to just call it a day and enjoyed the hot crossed buns and coffee and caught up with my friend Sally who also came to try track. 

Before my nervous breakdown...
Since that day, I have borrowed a track bike off a friend of mine and have successfully ridden the bike and also along the steeper banks of the Edithvale track (around the corner from my house). The bike she has was a better fit for me and I actually rode down on the drops without hesitation. 

I did about 20min (10km) on the bike and called it a day for now. It was quiet warm for autumn (30 degrees). I had to stop at the 4km mark during my ride to ride near my bag to drink water. I have this bike until ANZAC day and then I will need to return it. I will only buy a track bike (they are relatively cheap compared to a road bike) only if I find another job within April. 

Me with Amy's Cinelli track bike at Edithvale Velodrome

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