AS EASY AS FALLING OFF A BIKE!
Guest Blog Post From Pat Brunton – As easy as falling off a bike!
‘Clipped in yet?’
‘Right, on the track Pat.’
‘Press on, press on, move up the track.’
‘OK, two to go.’
‘Up, up, up – remember, the banking is your friend.’
Round the back bend as high up and as fast as you can, swoop down and hold the sprinters’ line around the bends and along the straight to the finish.
What do you come away with? A huge adrenalin rush and a PB.
Now comes the tricky bit…
Slow down, move off the track, safely into track centre, round a few times until I’ve nearly stopped, unclip one foot and BANG!
Down in a heap again, still attached to the bike.
Riding round the track is easy, it’s getting off the bike that’s a problem!
This weekend at the Fast Track Coaching Clinic at Calshot indoor track was an unforgettable experience. Advertised as suitable for ‘Novices and Intermediates’ this Saturday afternoon/Sunday morning session run by coaches Dave Le Grys and Lee Povey was an unforgettable experience.
At the pre session briefing I discovered I was in the company of the Ugandan prospective Olympic 1K sprint competitor, a National Series rider, a member of the S.E. Talent Programme squad and a group of serious amateur riders, all with track experience. Clearly we were stretching the definition of ‘novice’ to the limits when I confessed to never having ridden clipped in or on a drop handlebar bike, let alone one with no brakes on a steeply banked track…
However, Dave and Lee seemed up for the challenge so off we went.
Having mastered the basics of riding round and getting the feel of the track we soon progressed to riding above the stayers’ line, weaving up to the top and looping back down again. To continued exhortations from Lee to, ‘Press on’ and ‘Close the gap’, over the two days the group practised and perfected group riding skills and individual and team sprint tactics. We had several opportunities to work on achieving a PB for the ‘flying one lap’ with all efforts enthusiastically cheered by the rest of the group, regardless of whether it took the rider 9 sec or 14sec.
This was a real learning opportunity for everyone and such were the skills and experience of the two Fast Track coaches that they were able to meet the expectations of each of the riders in such a diverse group.
I found riding on the banked track a real ‘mind and body’ experience. The key messages I came away with were:
- No sudden movements, look behind you before you move out, and for goodness sake Pat, try to relax!
- Visualise what you want to do and then commit to doing it.
- Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate – Calshot is a small steep track where everything happens very quickly.
- Respect and trust the other riders on the track and work together as a team.
- Listen to your coach and do exactly what he says, that way you will be perfectly safe and learn some real skills.
- Close the gap!
I would one hundred per cent recommend this experience to anyone; if I can do it, you certainly can. It’s all in the head, as Henry Ford said,
‘If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.’
(All I have to do now is work on the basics – get the dismount right and everything else will fall into place – but this time metaphorically, rather than literally!)