On Wednesday 21st August we visited the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. The day began by watching Team GB practice around the track on tandems which was both very inspiring and intimidating (the corners were a lot steeper than expected!) It was quite surreal to see them perform at such impressive speeds.
We then took part in a Wattbike session (with a coach from the centre) which was challenging, especially when testing your maximum power output. Despite this I really enjoyed myself and found it interesting to compare the percentage of power output contributed by each leg which helped to improve my pedalling technique.
After this it was finally time to test the track out ourselves. As track bikes have no gears or brakes once you're moving the only way to stop is to gradually reduce your speed. This was completely new to me and so I was apprehensive at first however the guidance from the coach was great and I felt comfortable going at my own pace. Before long I felt more in control of the bike and was able to gradually move up the side of the track into the different lanes. The idea is to increase your speed when going around the corners (push through the corners) which prevents you from sliding back down the track. I surprised myself as to how much I enjoyed it and found it to be such a thrilling experience, one which I would love to have a go at again in the future! A great day out!
During this session we rode a longer time trial route from Skidby Mill - approx. 9 miles. We rode the route first as a group, taking note of the turns (all left turns), the elevation and the road conditions at various stages.
The route is fairly undulating for the first few miles and then runs downhill into Raywell and then along Eppleworth Road where we were really able to put the hammer down. The last few hundred metres kicks back up the hill to Skidby Mill.
The weather was a bit cool, overcast and rainy so some of the corners we weren't able to take at full speed - all in all a good session and a great chance to test ourselves, our skills and fitness over a longer course.
In today’s session we did time trials both individually and in pairs against the clock. We were able to practice held starts and learnt the importance of an aerodynamic body position by dropping down on the handle bars.
I enjoyed cycling in pairs (2 up) on the time trial and now understand the need to work together and communicate with each other.
As a new rider to the group I have felt very welcomed and I am looking forward to taking part in more rides.