Thursday, January 7, 2010

To the Velodrome!

What's the best way to gauge the extent of fitness degradation experienced over the course of three entire months spent virtually off-the-bike? Head to Boulder's indoor velodrome with 10 other dudes, the likes of which include a few current and former PRO cyclists, your boss, coworkers and Velonews' own Ben Delaney. Then, after a little more than a quick rundown of shit one should never, ever, under any circumstances do on the track, jump on said track with said people and pedal like hell.

I've been told that BIC has a steeper-than-average learning curve for a velodrome -- because of its very short length and steep banking -- as I do not have any other track experiences to compare it to, I can only say that the first moment, the "oh jesus, am I going to stick, or am I going to slide off of that fucking wall and crash" moment at the Boulder Velodrome is pretty intense. Maybe its not so bad on bigger tracks, but who cares? That is one fun joint.

BIC is a 142 meter wooden track with 45-degree banking. It looks like this. Lap times can often run in the sub-15 second range (the current record stands at about 7.5 seconds). It is, at higher speeds, very slightly dizzying. The experience is something of a cross between a criterium and a ride on an old wooden-tracked roller coaster (with no brakes).

I am -- for the record -- basically unfit. Three months is more than enough time for muscle and cardio systems to assume I've decided to let myself go. For the most part, I hung on. Abstaining from hard effort drills, content to rip around the track as fast and as smoothly as possible. Also, due to some very solid advice from some very solid and helpful guys, I was able to do pretty well at NOT embarrassing myself. *Best piece of advice? "'Stick' and 'Stay' mean exactly the same thing: Don't fucking move" or rather: Hold your line. Also, thanks Joe for insisting I get rollers so many years ago, and for forcing me to ride on them. Balance -- it just so happens -- is important.

The only injury I sustained was a small scratch on my wrist, when, like a rookie instead of a seasoned professional mechanic, I clipped my wrist on the chainring as I hurredly removed my pedals from the rental bike on my way out the door.

The List of Things that I am Afraid of:
- Sharks
- Bears
- Girls with only one name
- Earthquakes
- Steven Spielberg using his vice like grip on big budget scifi to rape another classic movie franchise.
- Riding a bike up a 45 degree wall (in a very straight line).

So I am confronting said fears (just the track bit really). We can go flick off bears at the zoo some other time.