A while back, me, Gary, David, Baz and Gary's boss Jason enjoyed an outing to the new Derby Velodrome. We booked in for a beginners 'taster' session early one Saturday morning.
This new facility was designed by Velotrack - a specialist German track building company. 26 miles of Siberian spruce was used to create the track, taking six weeks to install using 265,000 hand-driven nails.
At the time we went I'd just about recovered from a bad case of man-flu - I hadn't been out on my bike for a couple of months so I was feeling a bit apprehensive.
The facility is excellent, brand new, clean and spacious. We booked in and were shown where to go. We were already wearing our cycling gear so no need to get changed - we were each given a track bike for the session - single speed, fixed wheel - so no freewheeling! - and no brakes.
Once we got going it all felt great - I'd ridden a 'fixie' many years ago so didn't have too much trouble getting used to it. We started off simply riding round at a comfortable tempo, but soon we had to wind up the speed to enable us to climb the banked track. At ground level the banking looks intimidating, scary even - much steeper than it appears on tv and the initial thought is of sliding down or falling over - but as long as a reasonable speed is maintained all is well! - as the instructor kept yelling at us "Speed is your friend"
Gradually the intensity of the session builds up - for me it was hard after the first 20 minutes - the long lay-off and lack of any fitness was soon brought to bear. It was difficult to keep up the momentum and soon I felt I was dropping off the back. We all enjoyed the experience though - certainly i'd like to have another go. The programme to gain track accreditation means completing a three stage training programme comprising of at least three track sessions with tuition but for most riders I suspect it would probably take five or six.
Here's a short clip of our session.