It happened! I signed up for accreditation 1, which is also advertised as an ‘introduction into track’ and a ‘taster session’ – that sounds less serious right? So I told myself I was going for a ‘taster session’. My Morvelo kit was on point, helmet, funky socks, Julbo glasses and gloves at the ready, I was all set. We met in the D at Derby Arena, you’re asked to arrive 30 minutes early.. I was 15 minutes early due to traffic, but next time I will be earlier. There were about 10 other people in the group, some beginners and some had ridden the track before. We were briefed by our coach… and then sent off to get our bikes and shoes (if you’re hiring). Out onto, or into rather, the ‘safety zone’ which is the concrete floor in the middle of the track. On the inner fence, we all lined up anxiously. I held on to the bar for safety ( I was quite happy to just chill there and never let go) and clipped in. I was so scared! Having never ridden a fixed wheel before and with no brakes, I was terrified that I would either:
- Never stop ever again, going around in circles shouting for help.
- Fall to my death.
- Forget I didn’t have brakes and crash into something.
However, once I clipped in and was told to push off the bar, a little wobble and I was absolutely fine. First job was to ride around the concrete on our drops, which felt a little odd, but mainly because I’m used to riding my Rocket with wide riser bars. Next was to get used to riding around Côte d’Azur (the blue bit of wood that runs between the track and the concrete). That was fine, and although my heart was racing, it was very fun.
We were then instructed to move up to above the black, then red, and blue lines to get used to moving up and down the track, maintaining a good speed with a lady at the front setting the pace. It’s important to keep the pace up because if you don’t, you will roll down the track, so I stayed ever so focused on that. The coach was great, giving advice when I needed to move faster and praise when I wasn’t going to kill anyone else. I was also asked to give some ‘whoops’ when coming down the steep parts of the track, which I did, of course! After what felt like a very fast 30 minutes, we had a break. It took me two laps on the concrete to slow down and grab the rail, but I did eventually stop!
Wow, what an adrenaline boost! It was awesome, I looked around at my fellow accreditation #1 riders, and everyone had a big smiles on their faces which was lovely to see. I had a yummy wildtrail bar to keep me going, these bars are great for anything! After our break the next 30 minutes we focused on riding all parts of the track safely and controlling the pace, along with knowing what to do if you’re getting too close to a rider infront and moving up the track. The last 10 minutes it was a bit of a free ride so I tried to focus on sticking to the red line all the way around, this was HARD work haha. Definitely need to work on the watt bikes in the gym too make my life a bit easier. My final attempt at stopping only took me one lap, which was an improvement.
After the session I met up with Charlotte Parnham, who broke the 1K national record for the Unpaced Flying Start at the Oninum Championships on the 17th February by 4 seconds! Pretty cool right?
So, after my first accredidation/taster session, I learnt how to control (kind of) a fixed wheel, stop and start safely and began to learn how to control pace. Pretty successful session I would say, all with a big smile on my face. Can’t wait for the next, tonight is the women’s novice session, wish me good luck!
Thanks to Matthew Frost for the snaps.