Saturday was my first day riding the velodrome...fun fun fun. My class consisted of only me and one other student (Nick) who I don't think was old enough to drive yet. We started out learning the basics of the track layout and bike/equipment choice while we spun stationary bikes practicing floating (coasting with your legs without applying back pressure).
When it came time to ride I asked what bike he wanted me to set up. Roger, the instructor, asked me to bring my Lemond Fillmore down for him to look at. I was a bit nervous riding this bike seeing as how the geometry is more road then track and might induce a pedal strike and thus a splinter slide. After looking at it he said I was good to go. Ok I guess...my fingers are crossed.
The first time we went out we rode the different positions: apron, blue line, black line, etc. I picked the spot right behind the instructor so that made me feel confident seeing a stable bike in front of me; sorry Nick, I probably was not
Every time I do something new with bicycles I'm amazed how much my motorcycle background plays a part. The biggest carry over was my head position. As I enter a clover leaf on the motorcycle I'm looking at the exit while my peripheral vision is picking up the position of the riders in front of me and any inaccuracies in the road. Same thing on the track, except the track is smooth as butter. The only thing that was a little hard to shake was as a motorcyclist I've learned that no matter what temperature the road is painted lines are slippery, so riding right on the line on the track was weird. It was also a bit unnerving listening to the boards below me creak and move. It was like lying in bed of an old house and listening to the sounds it makes around you. Since riding on the track is extremely quiet it's almost like it's amplified.
An hour into the class we took a break, reviewed a few items, and picked up another rider. This time out we practiced what I'll call a single pace line. Once per lap the lead rider would turn up the track after coming out of the back turn while the remaining riders would pass underneath, after which the former lead rider would join at the back. This was a lot of fun. We're working up to doing the entire lead change in the turn rather then starting in the straight. I did learn that it was much easier to hold a steady line with a faster pace (makes perfect sense with the gyroscope action of the wheels), but they want us to learn slower riding first before going ubber fast.
The next drill we practiced I'll call a sudo double pace line. Since three of us were brand new riders they didn't want us riding shoulder to shoulder with each other. Rather the instructor would be the only one riding next to us. During this drill I learned this instructor had been riding the track since 1976 and started out riding BMX with all of the greats back in the day. Too cool.
Besides actually riding the track, the best thing was watching another rider. He was riding a 1984 white steel lugged EG Bates frame from England. But the best part about it was the bike had a rider that complimented it so well. He was mid to late 60's and refusing to let his passion of riding the track come to an end. I guess I have a soft spot for people like this; probably because I can see myself doing the same thing.
My ride home was funny. I kept thinking of the differences between riding the same bike on the track versus the street. The only wind on the track was created by the riders and the sounds are so quiet....I do have to say that mine was probably the quietest. I don't know what kind of spoodge Ernesto is putting in his lube but my chains have never been quieter. I swear I can hear a sigh and see a smile from my chain upon application. http://www.adventurefind.com/hbfk/LOOB.htm
Go buy some for all your friends. I can't wait to let loose and really let my legs spin on the wood.
Oh my mom is actually in town this week so I might have some pictures next week!