MSTC night out at Lee Valley VeloPark
MSTC triathletes tested their track cycling skills at the Olympic Velodrome, Lee Valley VeloPark, last Friday, February 14th. The daring group of 16 willingly swapped the romance of Valentine's Day for the allure of an introduction to the art of track cycling and coaching in the use of a fixed wheel bike at the indoor velodrome, the fastest track in the world. They quickly realised that riding a bike with no brakes or gears, on a track with steeply sloping sides means the only option is to go fast. Except when you want to stop, where the challenge becomes even greater.
They set off, gingerly to begin with on the flat, graduating to the "cote d'azur" (the light blue section which separates the flat from the banked track). Only when they'd got up some speed were they finally let loose on the apparently impossibly high slopes, but, once speed and centrifugal force worked their magic they found themselves flying round. The session finished with timed circuits of the velodrome track in which several of the women, led by Hannah Droschler, managed comfortably to get close to the top target speed of 20 seconds a lap with a very impressive 20.104. Esther Williams and Liane Davids achieved equally impressive speeds of 20.353 and 20.867 respectively. The men's race was won by Doug McTaggart in 17.864 seconds, a spectacular race which finished with an object lesson in what happens when you have no brakes but try to stop pedalling! Doug's cycling shorts will never be the same again. Let's hope his skin grows back quickly. Other very impressive men's speeds were achieved by Barry Davids (18.674), Kevan Nicholson (18.864), Jo Fleming (19.327), Mike Jaffe (19.525) and Steve Alden (19.774).
The trip was a first for the club. A fantastic introduction to the world of track cycling. Thank you to Callum Murray for organising it and when can we go again?