Never too afraid to try something new, Michelle Hancock, recaps the fun that was had at the Women’s Night at the Track. If you missed this event this year make sure you check it out next year!
Women’s Night at the Boulder Valley Velodrome really was all it was chalked up to be and more…. Track Taster…Enjoy the Camaraderie…Experience the Thrill!
I’ve had track cycling in the very, very, very back of my mind for a short time, but I really didn’t have a vision of what is was all about. Luckily, I didn’t watch any You Tube videos because surely I would have chickened out. I got an email about the Women’s Night at the Track, and I thought, “That looks like fun. Why not?”
On a beautiful August Saturday afternoon, I arrived at the Boulder Valley Velodrome not knowing what to expect. I got a pair of shoes that fit, a Specialized bike named “Berryman”, and I was ready to go. As I made my way out to the track, ladies were already zipping around. I hadn’t really thought about what the track would look like, and I was taken aback. It was very short and extremely steep. Riders seemed to be suspended in the air as they whizzed around the track. I began to wonder if I would be able to ride this track.
Strangely, the bike had no handlebar tape, and I wasn’t used to the type of clipless pedals. I had also never ridden a fixed-gear bike with no brakes. On this type of bike, the pedals continuously move and you have to resist their movement to slow down or stop. When I got onto the bike, it was almost like I had to quickly relearn how to ride. Since the pedals only went forward and I didn’t quite know how to clip in, my mind got stuck. After a little while, with the help and patience of Rachel Plessing, a rider on the Alps Cycles team, I was able to begin riding around the flat area next to the track. Again, I felt like it was my first time on a bike, and I was petrified.
With some coaxing, I made my way to the black line on the track on the straights, but I was afraid to stay on it around the turns. Slowly, I began to progress and ride the entire track near the black or red lines. After a multitude of laps, I made it up to the blue line and later even further up. I learned how speed works in relation to the staying high on the track. Rachel coached me, encouraged me, and helped me stay clear of the other riders.
As the night progressed, I felt more confident. I rode and rode and rode. I didn’t want to stop riding. Rachel was a great mentor and good sport. She rode with me all night and continued to help me work on moving around the track.
All good things must come to an end, and I had stop riding. The event was catered with delicious food, drinks, prize drawings, and bike talk. I love new experiences and this one goes right to the top of my list. I’m grateful to the women who put on this event for giving me the opportunity to fly. I’m ready to learn more about the sport of track racing at the velodrome.