Feature: Velodrome adventure

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Velodrome adventure

Watching the Olympic cyclists charging round the velodrome last summer I remember thinking how amazing they were for managing to stay upright on a steep slope.

Never for one minute did I imagine that I would be invited to have a go myself - or that I’d have the nerve to accept.

But when British Cycling coach Graeme Waters, of Retford, offered me the chanc eof a lifetime, how could I refuse?

He coaches regularly at the Manchester velodrome, inside the National Cycling Centre.

He had a couple of slots free one Saturday afternoon, so off I went with Big Son, who had persuaded me that I should give it a go.

When we arrived we collected our hire bikes and then emerged into the riders D, the rest area for cyclists not on the track.

We were greeted by the sight of a bunch of club cyclists hurtling round in a speedy blur.

The nerves I was already suffering from doubled instantly and the two of us nearly turned tail and left.

Graeme introduced us to his fellow coach Russ, who was in charge of our group.

There were two groups, and we alternated 20 minute sessions on the track.

We had three sessions, which gave us an hour’s cycling.

The bikes have no brakes and a fixed wheel so you have to keep pedalling.

Big Son was off and away with the rest of our group while I was still gabbling nervously to Russ that I didn’t think I could do it.

I started off on the dark blue flat section and thought I would never get on to the sloped light blue section, and then the wood itself.

But on the third session Graeme ran alongside me and with me pleading ‘don’t let me fall!’ he persuaded me onto the slope.

Next thing I knew I was whizzing round with everyone else.

It was an exhilirating experience, and all down to Graeme’s patience that I managed it.

But I don’t think Sarah Storey has anything to worry about.