Velodrome time again!!! Didn't realise how much I missed the place until I got there and saw all the taster session guys going round and round with big grins. Organised by dan_bo from cyclechat forums. Before I arrived I was rushing and dashing about to get baba to my mums and to get my track bike 'road' worthy as it was in pieces. Quickly stole the adjustable stem from 'Jamis' and affixed handlebars to steerer. Put 14t and 15t cog on wheel and since I had the right equipment this time made sure it was on properly so I didn't need to worry about it falling to pieces. Rear wheel bolted on and this time chain was tight enough. It span like a dream. Lastly saddle was put all the way forward and lowered to the same height as my commute bike. Oh yeah nearly forgot the peddles which were taken from tt bike.
Arrived early as usual as was itching to get going but had to wait til 2pm. First hour was a very long warmup, forming a train and changing every lap. Nice and easy pace. When they signalled us in with 5 laps to go I was poised to attack any sprints from in front or behind me but nothing materialised and just left me with lots of pent up energy.
I managed to waste some of that aggression during the next part which was the skills section. Half lap sprints, lumps and bumps and moving in pairs just like a taster advance session.
The final hour is what everyone was looking forward to and had turned up in the first place for.... the derny. Following/Drafting a motorbike for 25 laps. We were shown how to drop out if need be and every 2 laps the front cyclist had to pull forward to the out side of the derny, the rear guys would follow but then the rear guys dropped behind the derny and the guy who was at the front tried to rejoin the rear. It sounded a little complicated, to me anyway, but went smoothly. A faster group of 10 went first, I was at the back and had to rejoin the group when the train was travelling at its fastest but managed it well. The trick seems to be staying as close to the wheel infront as possible. Didn't seem to waste too much energy even though we were travelling in excess of 50km/h. A slower group went then the faster group again but me and another rider were halfway round the track when the derny set off behind us with its followers and us two were told to leave the track. That taught us. It was great watching the faster lot from the sides and you can see the gaps appearing where people cant keep up or lose the wheel slightly of the guy infront. There was quite an impressive move where a gap appeared and around 5 at the back losing pace with the bike and 3 others. The cyclist at the front who is supposed to drop off and rejoin the back filled that gap nicely and enabled those slacking to keep up.
I had to go with the slower group which actually was a blessing in disguise. I forced my way to the front just behind the bike so when everyone had done their turn I was 'leading' and wouldn't get dropped if someone left a big gap. So after everyone had been to the front, not necessarily being successful in rejoining, another 10 or so laps were completed where we just tried to go as fast as possible. I was last man standing after 5 and the derny rider kept asking if I wanted to go faster. I just kept telling him 'yeah yeah yeah'. Round the bends I can feel the bike being sucked in towards the derny and its scary being so close to its wheel, millimetres. Last lap came and I was still holding on but lost my confidence a little when the derny started to move across the racing line more than previously ( as sometimes I overlapped, didn't want his rear hitting my front) so I backed off with half a lap to go. I was left wondering how much faster I could have gone. Doesn't seem to use up much energy but your legs have to go round very quickly. Motorbike guy said I was at 63km/h, which is great and now I have something the go back for, to beat that, which shouldn't be a problem.
Last 15 mins were used to warm down but I had too much energy left and sprinted round. My Planet X track bike felt silky smooth and with the 'hurried setup' seemed to get it spot on first time. I have lowered the saddle on all my bikes as I can spin my legs much quicker and to reduce overstretching muscles. Also regarding the gearing, it was easier to be 'on top of it' and spin faster with less effort, and easier to build up speed and hold it. 48/14 I think I used. I thought I wouldn't be fully recovered for this track day but I had never felt better. All that training in the wind must be helping bucket loads.
In previous posts I had said I felt 'drag' from my Bontrager xxx lite rear wheel especially when climbing so I took the hub to pieces as much as I could and one of the bearings had completely seized in the freehub ( cause of my slowness/extra effort used?) and I couldn't move it with my finger. Replacement duly ordered for pennies and hopefully I can fix it myself and be as good as new. Looks simple enough to do. Just started my bike free holiday in Torquay and all I can think about is riding again :(