My first velodrome experience

Last night I went to Palmer Park Velodrome in Reading for the first time. Every Tuesday and Thursday during the winter they hold open rack sessions for anyone that wants to come down and do some training.

I really want to keep training over the winter months, but the prospects of tacking the pitch black rat runs (country lanes) around here were not very appealing! So I decided to give the track session a go and I am glad I did.

The sessions run from 8.15pm until 10pm at the outdoor floodlit track. I arrived just after 8pm to find a packed out car park. I quickly changed, and wheeled my bike through the sports centre doors to pay my £3.35 to ride. I signed in at the trackside and as a track 'virgin' had a quick run through of track etiquette.

I was quite nervous to begin with if I am honest. Partly because I didn't think I could keep up, but also because I didn't want to get shouted at for cutting someone up! I need not have worried as everyone was really friendly and there was a real mixture of abilities.

To begin with I stayed up on the banking and warmed up. Gradually I moved down nearer the blue line, constantly keeping an eye out behind me for anyone approaching fast! I soon realised that I was doing an Ok speed and settled into it. After about half an hour a train formed of about 30 riders. It was my first experience of riding in a bunch and I had not prepared myself for the concentration needed -- it really was 'eyes out on stalks' time! But a lot of fun too.

Will I go back? Yes, for sure. I want to try and make one session a week through the winter if I can.

You can see how Runkeeper handled tracking my ride below:

Me: Matt Carey

I run Lift Creative Communication Design with my wife Clare and have two fantastic children....

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