Round and Round

26 08 2010

The ultimate riding surface?

My first memory of elite level bike racing was watching the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. For some reason or another (teacher with priorities?) we had a Television in the classroom and were allowed to watch the live broadcast of the Mens Team Pursuit. It was a 4000m match race on an outdoor oval track with these crazy steep banked corners. I remember being riveted to the screen wondering how on earth the bike riders could defy gravity as they carved their way around the track with in inches of each other and rounding the bends horizontal to the ground. It didn’t make any sense, but it did look cool.

I swear I didn't exegerate the anlge too much...

 

Skip ahead, a few years, quite a few years… and I’ve found myself inside the ILT Velodrome down in Invercargill coaching a team of bikers to ride one of these very velodrome’s. Only this one is more modern than the L.A version and is undercover, made of wood and the corners are steeper! At first glance it quite frankly is so intimidating that you assume it to be impossible. Then our student racers came out and started warming up by doing some easy laps. That’s when jealousy overcame anxiety. These guys and girls of all shapes and sizes, abilities and fitness levels were cruising around like it was a Sunday ride (actually come to think of it…) and man not only did it look easy but god damn it looked fun. Sure they were just going around in circles, but I’ve been escaping the winter sitting on an indoor trainer going nowhere at all for the past month; this was the answer! Just think twice every 250 meters you get to angle over on this sculptured Newton prover, all on perfectly smooth wooden floor boards, you with me?

The guy up top is about 10ft off the ground

OK here’s the catch, there’s only one like it in New Zealand and it’s right at the bottom. Luckily for me that’s only 3 hours away, not exactly a drive I’ll do regularly but better than flying to Auckland and worth a one-off trip with some mates. Stay tuned I promise to make such a journey and if no-one gets an eye poked out I’ll post the victory salutes and podium shots!

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