The training took place over 3 days, travelling out early Friday morning with the initial introduction to the track on Friday evening. No Sooner were we in the velodrome and local coach ‘Herman’ had everyone on the ‘boards’. This is no place for the faint hearted, straight away we realised you need to keep your speed over 30Km/hr when you go up the 42degree banking otherwise gravity takes over. A 2hr session followed, familiarising everyone with the skills and speed needed to ride the indoor velodrome. Each rider got to do a timed ‘flying 250m’ to baseline themselves for the weekend.
Saturday session was 3.5hr of various training exercises and racing amongst the group. The local ‘Velo club’ where having their Regional championships on Saturday night and they very kindly invited us along to take part in their unique racing event.
They wouldn’t tell us the exact make up of the nights track racing so no one really knew what to expect.
After a quick rest and some much needed food it was back to the Velodrome for some real racing! We weren’t their long when we found out the ‘world 1hr derny paced record holder’ and his pacemaker, Mathe Pronk and Joop Zijlaard would be taking part.(riding on a 73x13 gear!!) Luckily this was in the Elite races and not the youth race. The youth riders would get the opportunity to ride their own Derny paces race against the best track riders in Holland in each categories. We were at some what of a disadvantage being on rental bikes and not having the right gear for the speeds that are achieved in this type of racing. But that didn’t deter Adam Stenson. His racing was made up of 3 Derny paced races of 12, 15 and 15 Laps respectively. Each race saw them hit average speeds of 55-60km/hr. Each race had 8 riders and 8 Derny pacemakers on the track at once. With one Lap to warm up and settle in behind the Derny the race starts with a flying lap and immediately it’s up to max speed and hold it there to the end. If your pacer is going to slow a roar of ‘allez’ from the rider behind speeds him up. Likewise too fast and it’s a scream of ‘ho’ to slow down.
The first 2 of Adams races came down to contest for 2nd as 1st was wrapped up by a local Dutch rider. A neck and neck flat out sprint to the line for 2nd place, saw Adam get the better of his rival each time. The third race was a closely fought contest. I’m not sure who was making more noise in the velodrome the Irish or the Dutch. 1st was taken care of by the Local Whiz Kid and Adam came in a comfortable 2nd after making a final surge for the line on the last lap. This left him 1st overall in his Category.
I’d like to say the Elite races were as exciting but most of the Irish seniors were pedalled out of it on the night. It’s hard for a 50x16 to compete with 54x13 no matter how good you are at spinning gears!
Sunday morning we had one final 2hr training session loosing up some tired legs after our efforts the night before and a chance to see if we improved on our ‘flying 250m’ times. Nearly all times improved but most of all everyone’s bike handling skills and track riding ability improved immeasurably, over what proved to be an extremely rewarding and memorable training weekend in Holland. The guys are all asking when is next trip? Spring 2013 Maybe?
Photo's to follow shortly.