Weekend of Cycling

Saturday 17th November 2012

We have see many extraordinary things this year……. take for example that Red Bull dude jumping from outer space! That was just awesome, yet that was not a patch on what I witnessed today!

Today I was joined on my pedal by a very special guest……… none other than Chris Hunter! I remember my granddad telling me stories of the good old days and particularly the day he cycled with a certain Chris Hunter! I couldn’t believe my luck when I heard he’d be joining me on my pedal today, now I have a story to tell my grand kids……. the day I cycled with Chris Hunter, an experience I may or anyone else may never experience again! The Red Bull dude can still, and may well jump out a spaceship again but I may never ride with Chris Hunter again!

Here’s the photo I got as proof as I know you guys all think I’m a storyteller and live in a fantasy world at times!

Chris Hunter out on his bike!

As I stood there I was flooded by a mixture of emotions, I stood in awe, bursting with pride, almost disbelief, but no it wasn’t a mirage, it WAS Chris Hunter standing afore me with his bike!

As a great believer Marvin Andrews once preached to his parish, I quote, “the good lord said Keep Believing, Chris Hunter WILL rise from the ashes and ride with you once more!”

Keep Believing

We were also joined by Shaun who was recovering from weeks out after doing his back in again. He was under strict instructions to only do an hour on the bike. We all have our fingers crossed that his back is on the mend…….. “Keep Believing”, ain’t that right Chris?

We decided that the best route would be to head to Langlands and tackle Ardochrig, that way we were at the right end for Shaun to head home after his hour was up.

As we climbed Ardochrig Chris didn’t look like a man who hadn’t been out on the bike for a while, as he powered on up taming the beast that is Ardochrig. Looks like someone has been at a winter training camp while telling us he was working!

Oh and no there’s no truth in the rumour that he’s been meeting up with Lance for some blood transfusion sessions! He mearly just bumped into him……… apparently! I’ll let you make your own mind up!

Just bumped into Lance did you Chris?

After a quick chat Shaun heading back down Ardochrig while Chris and I headed into Strathaven, Sandford, Stonehouse, Limekilnburn then onto Muttonhole Road where we said our goodbyes. It really was an emotional moment as I didn’t know if I’d ever see Chris again…….. “Keep Believing!”

I then headed back home.

All in all it was an enjoyable 32 miles with an average speed of 13.4 mph on an up and down route.

Sunday 18th November 2012

My alarm went off at 7am, it was only the 18th November, but to me it was Christmas morning……. I was going to the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome to watch the Track World Championships!

Gail and I dropped the boys off at her mums and set off for the dark side of Glasgow, the East End. I was buzzing with excitement and although Gail was looking forward to it she didn’t share the same level of excitement and enthusiasm as I did.

We arrived at the Velodrome at 8:40am, 5 mins before the doors opened with the first race starting at 9:30am. Parking at the Velodrome was for the competitors, media and officials so we were directed across the road to Parkhead to park.

As we crossed the road I stood in awe at the building in front of me, the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome! What a sight that building was, a million miles away from the heap of metal that was at the back of me! I had a spring in my step as I walked closer to the building and was directed inside by the volunteers. Once inside we grabbed a quick bite to eat then headed down to track side to find our seats…….WOW that’s all I can say!

Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome
Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome
Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome
Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome

Gail and I had front row seats on the final bend with Gilly and Corinne opposite us on the other side of the track and Ian and Tamarra at the first bend.

We were entertained all day with with some spectacular races, including some sore looking crashes. It’s amazing how much skin a rider can lose to the boards even with a slow speed fall. In the qualifying round of the men’s sprint Philip Hindes of Great Britain faced Czech rider Pavel Kelemen. On the home bend just in front of us Kelemen slowed right down to practically a standstill with Hindes behind him, then caught his pedal on the track and crashed out.

Aftermath of meeting with the track.

A restart was called and they lined up once again. Bearing in mind this was the qualifying round so there was no margin for error as the qualifying round is a one off race and not the best of three as is in the following rounds. Hindes and the Czech rider made it round the first two laps successfully then on the final lap just after the start/finish line there was a crunch of wheels at speed and Hindes just managed to keep control of his bike, that was until he hit the bend and his rear tyre blew and he hit the track hard!

The results of Hindes crash

The race was called for a restart as the crash was put down to a mechanical so would it be third time lucky for Hindes? Sadly not, he was beaten on the third attempt and would now compete for the lower placings.

By far the best and most exciting race came at the end of the day when Great Britian’s Olympic Gold Medalist Laura Trott took to the track for her final event of the Omnium. With Laura sitting two points behind the Australian Ankudinoff she needed to finish two places better off that the Australian in the 500m time trial to win the Omnium overall. This was going to be a tall order with the Australian favourite to take the overall win, but with the backing of the home crowd and one of the strongest rides I’ve seen she raced to victory in the time trial and the overall Omnium!

Laura Trott on her way to winning the 500m time trial and Omnium overall
Laura Trott on her way to winning the 500m time trial and Omnium overall
Laura Trott receives her gold medal
Laura Trott receives her gold medal

The Men’s sprint final was contested between Robert Foerstemann and Stefan Boetticher of German. Now this was one exciting race, my favourite for this was Foerstemann who had blown his opponents away in all of the previous rounds and who also had the biggest set of thighs I’ve ever seen!

The biggest set of thighs I’ve ever seen!
It's those thighs again!
It’s those thighs again!

My prediction was wrong as Boetticher outwitted Foerstemann and won the final 2-0! It really was a great final to watch.

At one point we were told to go to the top bend at some point in the day and have a look at how steep it was, I knew it was 45 degrees but I couldn’t believe how steep it was when looking down from the top!

The future is looking good for Scottish/British cycling with the World Class facility that is the Chris Hoy Velodrome.

I left the Veldrome buzzing even more that I was when I entered at the start of the day, if that was even possible!

I took 360 odd photos and am in the process of uploading them to my Flickr account. Once they have uploaded I will add the link here so check back later. I haven’t had the camera out for a long time so it took me a little while to get used to it again and get the right setting for the light and the sheer speed of the riders. I have some good shots and some poor ones.

All in all great day was had by all and I can’t wait to go back!

Stu