Derby have another TV game today at 1:15pm, our 104th of the season so far (approximately) and it’s only October. The team turn in by far their best performance of the season and defeat a decent Wolves side 4-2.
During the game I get a text message which simply says ‘4:30 Beeston Tesco car park’. This sounds very seedy and highly dubious but I go of course. L is there with some storage boxes that need transporting home.
Then in the evening I have my first ever SQT (Structured Quality Training) session on the track at Derby Velodrome. I am allowed in these now that I have my track accreditation.
When I arrive the place is a hive of activity. It was already worrying that I seemed to be one of only a few who didn’t come with their own track bike slung over their shoulder. Now I see that these people also have their own sets of rollers as well which they put their bikes on and then engage in a sweat dripping warmup. The phrase ‘seriously out of my depth’ springs quickly to mind. At least I have my own shoes now... but nobody seems to be noticing.
Actually there really was no need for a warm up because the first thing the coach does is sets the lap board to 30 and get us doing laps with changes off the front. See, I know the lingo. The pace starts quick, then gets quicker before proceeding to the ridiculous. The lap board reaches zero but the session doesn’t stop and we probably do another 30, at least. By now we’re doing sprints off the front to catch up the tail of the riders in front and my legs are about to explode. This isn’t helped by the fact my saddle is a touch too low. I’ll adjust it when we stop, if we stop.
Eventually we do. I try to be cool and not collapse into a heap. Thankfully I am not the only feeling the pace.
After that is does get easier. We do a few races included an Elimination race and a Keirin albeit without the motorbike. They split us into A & B groups for these. B being for the mere mortals like I.
My sole aim in the Elimination race is to not be out first, I’m third out and happy with that. Having repeatedly tried to go around everyone by going up the track and seen everyone come underneath me, I realise that my tactics need serious revision for next time.
So I decide to try a different approach in the Keirin and decide to stubbornly hog the inside line. If the buggers want to pass they can go around the long way. This works well and I come fourth.
My Dad and L are there to sweep up the remaining pieces of me afterwards and carry me to the pub. After all that I need a pint. We head to the Smithfield where I sample their own Smithy Ale, which is actually Derby Brewery brewed.
Then home for a takeaway curry.
(Sunday 18th October)