This week, I’m featuring a guest post from a fellow cyclist, Jonny, who went to the Cycling Revolution Series at Derby velodrome and, thanks to PedalSure, was lucky enough to meet his all time idol Sir Bradley Wiggins….
Hi I’m Jonny, a father of two from Lincoln. My love of cycling started at a young age when I used to spend hours of my weekends and summer holidays racing around on BMXs and mountain bikes.
As I’ve got older cycling isn’t just a hobby, but an obsession. I love the technology, the science and the sport. One pinnacle moment for me was 2012: the year that Bradley Wiggins, a Stylish mod from Kilburn, was the first Brit to win the Tour de France and two weeks later won gold at the Olympics time trial. That moment changed everything in cycling in the UK, suddenly those Lycra wearing men of the road became cool. My love of road cycling was cemented from this moment and my bank balance has never looked the same…
I met Britt through her dad Stewart! Stewart is a keen road cyclist and the only man I know to consume more calories then he has burnt in a 100 mile sportive.
Britt contacted me with an opportunity of a press pass from PedalSure for the revolution series at Derby Velodrome in exchange for a write up on BrittLoveBike. I had already purchased tickets for seating many months ago, but I couldn’t turn down the opportunity. Oh, and Brad Wiggins my all time cycling hero was going to be there!
It was my first visit to Derby Velodrome. I had read a lot about the £28 million development on the web and was very interested to see it in the flesh.
Having visited Manchester velodrome a number of times for other Revolution Series and also for a track session, I was hugely impressed by the look of Derby Velodrome. Unlike Manchester, which appears from the outside to be just a leisure centre, the aesthetics of Derby look fantastic with the wrap around anodised aluminium front, it makes the velodrome a real spectacle.
Inside, the velodrome is well equipped with a slightly more sunk in centre compared to Manchester. There is a lot less seating – only 1500 compared to Manchester’s 3500 – but all of it looked to be sold out, which is brilliant for their first major track cycling event and, from speaking to people in the velodrome, everyone was impressed with the organisation of the event.
The revolution series is a track-based series with rounds at Derby, Manchester and London. This round was also used for Team GB track stars to give them a chance to gain all important UCL track points on the road to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
This meant that the following were showcasing on the Friday night: Bradley Wiggins, Ed Clancy, Katie Archibald, Laura Trott and Joe Rowsell to name a few.
The Friday evening was mainly time trial events including women’s individual pursuit, 500m time trial and scratch race. For the men there was team pursuit, 1km time trial and the longest lap for the sprinters.
When I arrived and picked up my press pass (which turned out to be a wristband) I had no idea what I was about to experience. I knew I had access to the rider’s enclosure but didn’t realise how much of the atmosphere and pre race tension I would experience. Watching the riders warming up on the rollers and having team talks with their coaches was fascinating. It was also incredibly interesting to see how much technology was in the sport at a track level. After every race was completed the rider was met by a coach and a laptop where they could analyse power data taken from the power meters on the cranks of the bikes.
The first thing I noticed when getting in the riders enclosure was the lack of Sir Wiggo? I suddenly thought maybe he hadn’t turned up, but soon I realised that he was hidden around a corner warming up on his own down a corridor. I knew from reading articles that Brad is a very private individual and can appear cold from the outside. I desperately wanted to have a few words with him, but left him to his routine snapping a few pictures along the way (my personal favourite below, sat on his own getting in the zone).
The main event of the night was the men’s team pursuit final where Team GB had made it to the final against Team GB juniors. I followed the team up to the enclosure at the top of the track where they sat and got into the zone, it was awesome to be so close and be able to hear the coaches give a team talk, as well as the riders geeing each other up. Needless to say Team GB smashed it with a 3min 54.974 seconds an impressive time when you consider Team GB won the 2012 team pursuit in 3mins 53.295.
I thought that was it and the night was over…. but then for one last treat when walking down the same corridor Wiggo was warming up in, I bumped into Sir Wiggo himself. This time he was much more approachable, with a big smile on his face after the team pursuit victory. I took my opportunity for a few words and a selfie! Brad himself took to it well, exchanging a few words about his victory and also his plans in the rest of his road to Rio.
All in all what a brilliant ending to a fantastic night. Derby velodrome is a worthy venue for the track world, with some brilliant racing (and did I mention I met my all time cycling hero Bradley Wiggins!)
DISCLAIMER: *Jonny was provided with a media pass for the Revolution Series at Derby Velodrome by PedalSure who provide comprehensive cycling insurance built for You and Your bike with unrivalled personal injury insurance up to £150k.*