Since before Team GB smashed it up on the Olympic velodrome, Flic and I have been banging on about wanting to have another go at track cycling, having both loved it the first time.
Slightly fearful of the no gears, no brake fixies, we make our way to the wonderful Herne Hill Velodrome to give the ladies only induction a go.
Induction is great. Coaches line us up to teach us the finer points of group cycling and using the banks of the velodrome to speed up and slow down. Some people (Flic) like the speeding up bits best, others (those that have obviously only ever ridden a shopper bike complete with a basket and puppy) were practicing the slowing down bit a bit too much.
Nerves obviously setting in for some of the riders. Not so for Flic and I, we are raring to go. Engines are revved. What we really want to do now is ride. And probably hurt a little bit.
When we finally get to do a little chasing with a bit of speed, the coaches utter those four words that are like a red rag to a bull to Flic: “it’s not a race.”
There are a lot of total newbies to any kind of group riding at the track. A lot of tweedledees and tweedledums as we affectionately (not really) christen them. Neither Flic nor I are known for our patience or subtlety so a few choice words may slip out under our breaths.
The set starts off with us all riding in a big peloton then groups of four break off the front to work together to catch the back of the peloton. Flic and I hear that as: “Go off the front as fast as you can and catch the back as fast as you can.” Sadly the other two in our breakaway don’t hear that so we pull away, dropping them faster than a whore’s pants (Flic drops me after a while too. Speed demon that she is) and get told off. Oops.
Next time round we are allowed off in a two and this time get a thumbs up from the velo girls.
All too quickly the afternoon is over, but it’s had the desired effect. There is a burning in our thighs and a fire in our bellies to do more.
Ticking off The List number 1 done.