Last September, while at track nationals with Paul and some of the other BMCT men, I took a keen interest in watching and learning about track riding/racing. By the end of the weekend I decided I needed to get on a track bike. I borrowed one from Dennis (thanks again, Dennis) and Paul and I rode around the parking lot for a while and I practiced slowing down/stopping without brakes. I was really happy to hear that BIC was offering a "crash" course (I prefer the term immersion) - four 2 hour sessions over the holidays. The good news was I only found out about this on Saturday, so I didn't have too much time to be nervous (and I was nervous, so much so that when we walked in last night the guy at the desk said, "Don't be so nervous. I can see it on your face. You're going to have fun!"). I even called Julia yesterday to tell her that I was excited, nervous, and scared yet happy to be stepping out of my comfort zone (always a healthy thing to do, especially on the eve of the winter solstice, full moon, and lunar eclipse).
There were eight of us (6 men, 2 women) and only two of us had never ridden on the track (so much for the beginner part of the beginner/intermediate level). The instructor got us on the track pretty quickly, which sort of felt like being thrown in the pool. I felt pretty comfortable until I had to come down off the track and wasn't quite sure how I was supposed to do that from the blue line, especially since people were passing by me in the sprinter's lane yelling, "Stay!" So I kept going in circles which was a good thing as I became more and more comfortable on the bike. Obviously I learned how to drop down into the sprinter's lane and then on to the apron of the track.
We did various drills (I loved dropping from the rail to the sprinter's lane - felt like a diving bird!) and for the last 15 minutes of class (whew, 2 hours on the track is quite a workout!) we rode a paceline in the sprinter's lane with one lap pulls - after one rotation the speed picked up a lot and we were having a lot of fun (insert "hooting and hollering" sound effect here). I was pretty maxed out by the end.
Riding on the track is like riding a wooden rollercoaster but you get to steer. The sprinter's lane is really fun!
Note: Paul said he only turned away once when he thought I was going a bit slow in a turn toward the end of the night - and I knew exactly which turn he was talking about - but I made it through without incident.