Yesterday Chris Georges took us to the outdoor track in Fiox, France. This town is about 75k from Limoux, and has one of the most beautiful castles I have ever seen. In the town square, a stage of the Tour de France is often completed. What a beautiful area.
Now, I have never been on the track before. I was a little nervous. Apparently, you can’t stop pedalling, nor should you. Chris set me up on the bike. I couldn’t really figure out how to get on, and once I got rolling, I didn’t dare try to get off. An hour later, I was ready to get off, and it was pretty funny. Here is a video of my first attempt of dismounting a track bike..
Chris set everyone up on bikes, and on my sweet ride, he put on aero bars and some aero equipment so I could practice the pursuit. Here is the track bike that I got to use! It is even a LOOK!
We spent all day at the track and I got to practice one time pursuit. A pursuit is a very interesting discipline for cycling. For women, it is 3k long, which is just 12 laps around the track. It is an all-out effort. You start from a stop, as you are with held by someone or a machine, you accelerate for 200m out of the saddle until you are 3-5 kph over your desired speed…then you get down in aero position and head around the track…
After our practice, Chris told us we were to be racing the track the next day! Yikes. Somewhere between the practice and the race, I got some sort of stomach bug, and I wasn’t feeling very well. I was determined to race anyway, because when ever to I have a chance to be on the track!? The cool ting about the track is that it is all very calculatable, and scientific. Everything matters. Which foot you start with, where you ride the line, and how you deliver each lap. It is fascinating the science that can go into a track race.
We drove up to Foix yesterday morning for the race. I couldn’t keep much food down, but was excited to check it out. It is an outdoor track, and it is concrete. Chris gave us our 1 hour warm-up protocol which is a brutal warm-up full of 115rpm openers. Ouch, but when your event shouldn’t take over 4 minutes…you better be good and warm before you start. Then it started raining. Rain on a track is dangerous. People started crashing, but we were still going to race. Finally it was my turn to go, and I started off (my starts are very slow and need a lot of work), my holder let me go, and then as I slooooowly accelerated, he said, “mademoiselle, go go, allez?”. I started pinning it, and thought I was about to lose what was left in my stomach. I dialled it back to a more reasonable base and finished the laps. For those of you who know my songs that get in my head…my track song yesterday was “Round and Round” by Ratt. How appropriate.
It was so much fun though! I ended up winning the pursuit, and learning a thing or two about track cycling. I almost forgot to keep pedalling when I finished my effort, and was nervous dismounting after the race as well–I had only gotten off a track bike one before! I may not be a trackie yet, but it was a blast.
Today we are headed to do a 70k criterium….