Follow the black line

Another post reflecting on the National Track Championships seems very appropriate and this time it is in praise of the sprinters. As part of my day up in Manchester I was delighted to hear that British Cycling members were allowed a free pass in to the track centre.

It just had to be taken advantage of so in the evening session I trundled off to the centre to catch some of the action. What I particularly liked was watching the men’s sprint with its tactics being played out, different each time. You get to see the explosiveness of the big cyclists, the sprinters, and it is awesome to watch.

There is another discipline which is perhaps more pure, the kilo. It was always a firm favourite for Sir Chris Hoy but it got dropped from the Olympic programme and in one swoop of the axe it lost it’s single largest source of exposure to the masses.

It still has it’s place in the World’s and at National level, so it was a great pleasure to see it once again. The contorted faces of the riders as they turn the fixed wheel and huge gear, as the gate releases their rear wheel, is amazing to see. You feel like a blood vessel or two will burst with the sheer strain and effort they put in to it.

If I was ever to have been a top cyclist then this is what I would have liked to be good at. I always liked pure speed, the sprint. From my 100m running days at school to trying to beat my fastest top speed down the hill in the village, on my Raleigh tourer and then later the Raleigh Banana and Raleigh Falcon racing bikes that I owned, I have always liked ultimate top speed on a bike.

It may be all about climbing and distance rides at a steady pace these days but I am in my 40’s, so those days have gone. Okay I have the lower body muscle mass but I also have a sense of fear greater than I did as a 13 year old. I whince at the thought of what I used to do, pedaling like crazy with no thought of what if a car pulled out in front of me.

My heart will always be with the speed machines, so I say to you chapeau and thank you.

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