Get On Track Girls!

Last September I threw myself on a track bike and round (and round) one of the steepest indoor tracks in the Netherlands for the first time. And I loved it! There was no going back. The idea of riding a bike that has no brakes at speed still unsettles me a little today (mainly at a fear of not unclipping as I come to a halt and making a fool of myself!), but the more I do it, the more addicted I get. When I left Amsterdam earlier this year, I was quite gutted to leave behind a fantastic indoor velodrome and a brilliant team of coaches who not only took an interest in me on the track, but on the road and my cycling club too. I had to right a wrong and immediately got in touch with Reading Velodrome. 

Hayley's Dolan Track Bike with SRAM, Dura Ace, Mavic

Don’t be surprised to find me tucked up in bed with this beauty!

Now, Reading is certainly not indoors and it certainly isn’t steep. In fact… it’s concrete, outdoors and really long in comparison! Which of course, if you’re fairly new to cycling or a little nervous about giving it a go – it’s perfect. Unlike an indoor track; outdoor, flatter courses give you the opportunity to really get to know your fixed-speed bike and learn some handling skills, something I’m still not quite as aquatinted with as I would like, especially as I only built my first track bike last week, but it sure is a beauty – do you have bike envy yet?.

Put it this way – there’s a lot less to think about. Getting used to a constant cadence, no brakes,  a very steep wooden track, 10 other cyclists around you in the same learning experience and the need to be travelling at 35kmph+ to get round in one piece, all in your first session isn’t the easiest. I’m not saying that indoor track training isn’t a fantastic experience because I loved every moment of it, but it’s definitely more daunting in comparison. And if you’ve ever been to an indoor track event, I’m sure you can understand where I’m coming from.

On arrival to my first session on Thursday, I had already introduced myself to the trainers over email to make sure I’d be welcomed to the sessions (due to an influx of interest post Olympics, their website states they can no longer accept new interest) and that my capabilities were ok. I needn’t have feared. As soon as they knew I’d ridden boards before, they wanted me in with the pro-group. NO WAY! This girl needs to get used to being on the bike again before sitting up on the fence with 15 boys. And I’m not exaggerating. The trainers made it pretty clear from the start that they need more girls (hence there was no problem with me joining an over-subscribed session!).

Of course, training with the boys isn’t an issue, I’ve always been a fan of this in any sport I’ve done; however when it comes to competition…well, basically there isn’t any. Most track races typically have heats… not in the girls track league as there aren’t enough girls. Straight into the finals. And so, besides training with the boys, it turns out that I’ll actually be racing them come the start of the league season in three weeks. The only difference being that I’ll have a ‘pink number’ (yes, my heart sank a little at the sound of those words). So girls, although a little reluctant to do this for obvious reasons (I want to win!) I’m making this a call to give it a go.. at least consider it.

Most UK tracks have hire bikes (but make sure you contact them in advance to reserve one), or if you’re really keen, Dolan frame sets start from £199. And, all tracks run beginner British Cycling accreditation sessions. So why not check out your local track and give it a go? 

Reading: Track training sessions run on a Thursday evening, league nights on a Monday.

Hearne Hill: The girls from Mule Bar Girl run a girls’ only session a Sunday afternoon.

Calshot & Newport & Manchester: Indoor tracks – contact them for info on beginner sessions

 

Forstemann v Mitchell - Good Friday Meet @ Hearne Hill Velodrome

Forstemann v Skinner – Good Friday Meet @ Hearne Hill Velodrome

 

And if you’re still a little unsure, get yourself down to a local track meet. The Good Friday Meet at Hearne Hill on Friday was absolutely fantastic. Rubbing shoulders (or thighs) with some of the world’s greatest track cyclists including Cycling Short’s contributor Jody Cundy and thigh-tastic Robert Forstemann was a brilliant experience and has certainly got my motivational juices flowing.

See you on the start line!

 

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping!
Website: www.hjdonline.co.uk

Mark wins silver in the C1 Individual Time Trial!

Image – © Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Mark wins silver in the C1 Individual Time Trial!

Mark Colbourne has added yet another Paralympic medal to his collection after winning silver in the C1 Individual Time Trial!

He won his third medal of his first Paralympic Games after completing the 16km course in 25:29 minutes, but Michael Teuber of Germany picked up gold finishing with a time of 25:16 minutes.

The Welshman can now add his new silver medal to the gold he won in the C1 Individual 3km Pursuit and his silver from the C1-2-3 1km Time Trial last week.

Mark’s last event is the Individual C1-3 Road Race on Thursday 6th September from 14:30.

 

 

 

Jody Takes Bronze in the 4km Pursuit!

Jody Cundy ( GBR ) – Men’s C4 4km Individual Pursuit – © Christina Kelkel

Jody Cundy smashed his Columbian rival in the C4 4km Individual Pursuit to win his first medal at a Paralympic home games!

 

He took just 5 laps out of 16 to chase down Diego German Duenas Gomez and secure a bronze. The double Beijing gold medallist was on a mission to claim his medal as he overlapped his opponent and punched the air in victory as the gun sounded to signal the end of the final.

 

Incredibly, he rode the first four laps of the Pursuit in 1:05.317; which, had he been allowed to ride the Kilo yesterday, would have won him gold. This only proves that Jody has unbelievable form and is performing at the top of his game.

 

Speaking after the race, Jody spoke of his gratitude for the home support: “I was starting to panic because my legs were completely gone after four and a half laps, but I couldn’t let the crowd down and they carried me home”

 

“The support here has been more incredible than anything I’ve experienced before! It really has been amazing, thank you to everyone for cheering me on”

 

“I’m fully committed to Rio in 2016 as I still have unfinished business.”

 

 

 

 

Jody Cundy to Ride for Bronze

Jody Cundy will ride for bronze in the Men’s C4 4km Pursuit Finals this afternoon after qualifying third with a new personal best time of 4:42.005.

After being denied the chance to ride in the 1km Time Trial yesterday, Jody was determined to give it his all on the track today and vowed to show his fans what he could really do.

He was cheered on by the fiercely patriotic crowd who were relieved to see the 33 year old looking focussed and putting in maximum effort to get away from the starting block cleanly. Jody had a phenomenal ride in an even that he has not previously competed in at the Paralympics. He’ll be hoping to take bronze in the 4km Pursuit final tonight as he did at the World Championships in LA earlier this year.

Mark Colbourne’s First Paralympic Gold Medal

Mark on the podium celebrating gold

Mark Colbourne today set a new world record as he won his first ever Paralympic gold medal in the C1 Individual 3km Pursuit!

The Welshman punched the air with delight as he smashed the world record he set in the qualifying heat this morning and proudly waved a GB flag in the air on his lap of honour.

He beat China’s Li Zhang Yu with a time of 3:53:88 to follow the silver medal he won yesterday in the C1-2 1km time trial.

Speaking after the race, Mark explained “I’ve trained incredibly hard for this, and I’m just so pleased that I’ve got gold in front of a home crowd”

Mark broke his back in a paragliding accident in 2009, leaving him with lower leg paralysis and a difficult five months of physiotherapy to learn to walk again.

“It’s been a long three years working towards this and I’m thankful for all the help and support I’ve received. I just can’t believe that I’m here!”

Heartbreak for Jody Cundy

Jody prepares in the gate before the gate fails.

Jody Cundy has been denied the chance to defend his Paralympic 1km Time Trial title after officials decided not to allow a restart following what appeared to be a fault with the gate.

He looked every inch the strong, confident rider ready to defend his title in front of the home crowd. As he attempted to pull away from the gate, his back wheel didn’t release on time and it slipped, bringing Jody to hold up his hand and ask for a restart.

Jody had the agonizing wait whilst his coach Chris Furber discussed the false start with the commissaires, as the velodrome was filled with the roaring objections and boos of the crowd.

Despite protests from Jody and his Great Britain coaches, the commissaires concluded that the false start was not due to faulty equipment and instead it was a rider error, so sadly he would not be allowed to ride in the 1km Time Trial and defend his title.

After taking some time to comprehend the official’s decision, Jody came out to the 6,000 strong crowd and explained: “I would just like to apologise; I had an issue with the gate and my wheel slipped”

“I was hoping for a restart but it didn’t go my way unfortunately, and I didn’t get to ride and show you exactly what those 4 years of hard work in training have been about”

“I would like to apologise for my language, I think even over the noise you might have been able to hear it” he explained, to which his fans could be heard shouting for him not to apologise for his earlier outburst.

Given Jody’s unquestionable determination to succeed, he will be sure to not allow today’s events to deter him from putting all his efforts into the 4km Pursuit tomorrow, where he will get the opportunity to show his fans exactly what he has been training for.

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