On Thursday 29th May the lucky winners of the VCGH lottery - Graham Hemmings, Duncan Rodgers, Adrian Waddy - and Will Ranoe who earned his place courtesy of the first VCGH TT, visited the Olympic Velodrome for the second of two club track session which had been organised by Collette. For those of us who had never visited the Olympic Park the adventure started before we even arrived, walking in with views of Aneesh Kapoor's Helter Skelter sculpture and the Olympic Stadium before arriving at the 'Pringle' - the velodrome itself. As someone who had visited Calshot several times previously I was struck by the size of the place - the building itself as well as the full-size 250m track.
Once registered and changedwe made our way into the track interior to pick up our (very shiny!) Condor track bikes and to meet the other people on the session. Block-booked by the south east region of British Cycling, the sessions are made available to cycle clubs of the area. There were 20 of us in all from around 6 clubs. We were quickly split into two groups - those that had donetrack sessions before and those that had not, with all the VCGHers falling into the former category. Once we had completed the first exercise of slowly working up the lines and back down over 10 mins our group was progressed quickly each visit to the track - so much so that all were grateful for the 10 min break and briefing on the next session whilst the other group was out on track.The track itself was surprising - I was expecting it to be less intimidating than 2/3 sized Calshot with correspondingly steep bends. However, it turns out that at 47 degrees the Olympic Velodrome has the steepest banking in the country. Particularly when up high there is a great incentive not to dawdle and risk slipping down!
After a number of exercises including through and off, we finished with an 'off the front' exercise. At more than 100m longer than Calshot, making it all the way round to the unforgiving peloton proved more challenging for some than others - so much so that your correspondent took the executive decision to hitch a high speed ride on Will's wheel the second time round!
All thoroughly enjoyed themselves and would recommend anyone from the club to give it a go - it was a great adventure. Many thanks to Collette for organising another triumph of a VCGH outing. See you all on a club ride soon.