Welcome to the Velodrome

Welcome to the Velodrome

I’m losing weight steadily, comfortably and I’m exercising at least three times a week. However, as I’ve probably mentioned in the past, I have a tendency to get bored and feel stuck in a rut – and that is when I lose interest and motivation deserts me, so I need to set myself regular challenges!

A couple of months ago I was challenged by my daughter to do “something active” at least four times a week, and I’ve easily been doing this.  When I haven’t been at the gym, I’ve spent hours at my allotment, weeding and digging and getting plenty of fresh air into my lungs.

The gym is so good for me – I have a great instructor who has set up a program that covers cardio work, toning, weights, fat burning and I love going. That feeling of achievement and satisfaction when I complete a session is amazing. But, as I said, I do need to be frequently inspired and motivated.

So, I’ve set myself a brand new challenge for the summer – I’ve called it The Try Something New Challenge.  And it really is as simple as that.  For the next couple of months, I am going to take part in as many new activities as I feel I can manage.

I’ve just ‘upped’ my membership with Newport Live from “off peak” (day time only) to a full membership which means I can now take part, at any time of any day, in as many classes or activities as I choose to – I can book a court, swim, use the running track, join in any exercise session…

…and I began with something that I never thought I’d even contemplate – even my husband raised his eyebrows when I suggested it.

On Sunday I took part in a two hour women’s only Velodrome Track Cycling session 😀

I’ve not ridden a bike for years. I mean, not since I was in my teens. So why on earth did I choose to ride a bike that has NO BRAKES, NO GEARS and on which your feet are STRAPPED IN??  I can’t even begin to answer that question! Talk about aiming high!

I am so very proud to say, though, that I did it. I turned up – the hardest part was achieved. My height was measured and I was given a bike with quite possibly the narrowest saddle I’ve ever seen in my life. Good grief, have you seen the size of my backside (please don’t answer that)?!

Apart from one young woman in her 20s, I was the only female there who hadn’t ridden a bike in years – bit of a disadvantage really. There was a group of about 8 women from a cycling club in Worcester who’d come all the way to Newport for the day – I felt a bit amateur. However, I can’t praise Gary, the cycling coach, enough. He realised I was a total newbie and helped me get round the track for my first few laps.

I wobbled all over the place. My hands were so tense I got pins and needles, and I only went any higher than the blue “cote d’azur” line about half a dozen times (look at me with my technical terms!). But I did it – and I even took part in a speed activity towards the end of the session.

Six of us took to the track and cycled in a line.  When the whistle blew, the leader of the pack had to cycle as fast as possible whilst the others maintained their pace, until she caught up with the cyclist at the rear.

And I was just 10 metres off catching the rear cyclist when I got sudden cramp in my left thigh.

I was going quite fast (for me anyway) and knew I had to slow down and stop.

Remember I said there are no brakes and your feet are strapped in?

I used the technique I’d been taught to slow my pedalling, reaching out my gloved left hand to take hold of the rail to slide to a stop.

And missed the rail completely.  The front wheel slid out from underneath me and …CRASH… Hazel hit the floor.

I didn’t hurt myself as I was going pretty slowly, but I couldn’t unstrap both of my feet so I had to half sit, half kneel while Gary trotted over, trying not to laugh, to free me from the bike 😀

Well, it was inevitable, really, wasn’t it? My Facebook nickname isn’t Calamity Jane for nothing, you know 😀


The Wales National Velodrome hold regular taster sessions for anyone who fancies a go on the track, including regular Women’s only sessions.  Visit Newport Live’s Facebook page for events and updates.

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