18 quite nervous Cheltenham Triathlon girlies arrived at Newport Velodrome for a 6-9pm training session. As we arrived early (hoping to see the GB team train but had left at 4) some of us went to spectate a few cyclists before us and you could have heard a pin drop - no girlie laughter or even much talking just excitement together with apprehension.
We were told to go to the bike racks just before 6pm where we were given our bikes with no brakes, fixed wheel and very narrow tyres. We all then went to our coach on track side who told us what we were going to do and what not to do. We were split into two groups to start and given fairly easy tasks to hold on to the track rail and start from there and practise coming in slowly and grabbing the rail to stop. This may sound easy but as you can't get your feet out of the pedals until you have stopped dead it needs a bit of courage and practise. That sorted we were off starting from the bottom flat boards then on to the red line and gradually to the blue line where we were told we could cycle for hours! Once we mastered that we were off up to the top having a great time.
Our coach called each group in after 10 - 15 minutes and we were then taught the safety measures eg: always look over shoulder before overtaking, always overtake on left and the best thing I learnt was to slow down you go up the boards a little to slow down and get back on the persons wheel in front.
Both groups mastered all this brilliantly and it was time to have fun. We did controlled weaving in and out of a line of cyclists, shouting "overtaking on left, overtaking on right" giving us the technical experience. We then did line drop off where the first person went off up the boards and the group carried on and the first person caught the wheel at the back. Then it was time trialling for fun - so 2 groups same distance and when the whistle blew the front person dropped down from the blue line and sprinted to the back of the other group. This went on and coach started to blow his whistle more and more and it was all go until he called us in pretty exhausted. We finished with the first drill all in a line with the first bike peeling off up the boards catching the back of the line - only difference was we had to go fast. Just amazing to see so many of us looking almost like Vicky Pendleton - well feeling like her anyway!!
A really super girls outing and huge thanks to our Captain Sarah who unfortunately had a bad cold and could not do all the session for coughing and probably laughing as well.