Life is about the journey - some roads are not always what they seem but you sure learn a great deal from them!
A Single Track Mind
There are not many indoor wooden velodromes in the world, and Perth is the home to one of them. Due to the foresight of Eddie Barron, the Speed Dome was built, and thankfully so. In 1997, it hosted the UCI World track Championships, and this year it was the host to the Australian Masters Track Championships.
The Home of one of the Fastest Tracks in the World
The Velodrome is a great venue to increase fitness, strength and skill. The best part is that you don't have to deal with cars and you can pace yourself to how far you want to ride. After all, you are riding in a "circle" and you can stop when you get tired.
The Speed Dome offers a range of classes for people of all skill level. To find out more you can visit their website and contact the relevant people.
The first time I was introduced to Track was in 1988, however I was never in an area with an indoor velodrome so could never really appreciate the beauty of riding an indoor wooden track. Most of my track experience came from riding outdoor velodrome tracks which ranged in length and in make-up. Outdoor velodromes are either made up of concrete or wooden tracks. And, the speed of the track varied according to this make up and, of course, weather conditions.
An Outdoor Velodrome namely the Manukau Velodrome found in New Zealand. Photo courtesy of Manukau Velodrome
The beauty of an indoor track is that you do not have to deal with weather conditions. You can ride the track at any time of the day without forecasting rain. Another aspect to consider is wind. While an outdoor track makes you a stronger rider in regards to riding in windy conditions, it can have a huge impact on a rider's confidence to ride faster times. An indoor track offers riders the opportunity to not only build up skill level, but also confidence in their ability to ride fast. After all, track is about setting the fastest time on the board, on the most half.
A cyclist sprinting - going so fast that the camera could not focus (I wish)
Track Cycling offers a range of disciplines from individual pursuit to sprints. Each one has its own rules on how to ride them. Individual pursuit is for endurance athletes that are able to ride a selected distance (from 2000 m) in the fastest possible time. This discipline requires a rider to ride in a manner where they have not exhausted all the reserves but has enough to complete the race in record time. The sprint, on the other hand, offers riders the opportunity to go as fast as they can for a short distance (normally 200 m). Of course, there are many more disciplines between these, however these two are probably the most known amongst those that watch, or are familiar, with cycling.
The Speed Dome is a fairly fast track. I have only had one indoor track experience; however from looking at times set by professional cyclists, this track ranks as one of the fastest in the world. The beauty for me is that it is in our own backyard.
The Bank at the Speed Dome, not as steep as one envisions in this photo
One of the biggest challenges for any new rider is the degree of banking. However, when riders experience the true effects of centrifugal force, they will soon appreciate that there is no chance of slipping off the bank. Luckily Western Australia Track Cycling offers the opportunity to try track under the watchful guidance of a qualified coach.
The Speed Dome offers Ladies Nights which offers ladies the chance to ride track and learn valuable bike skills
As for me, the Speed Dome was a real joy to ride. Although I have a road bike, it has been many years since I rode track, and thankfully the Speed Dome had good quality track bikes to hire. I can envision me riding this track many more times in the near future. For those with kids, the Speed Dome offers junior track classes which are great for teaching kids cycling skills which are much needed in today's road conditions.
So, if you are looking for just a variety in your everyday cycling life, why not try track cycling?