I have recently participated in Club Cluster Training sessions, held by British Cycling, in the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, and at Derby Velodrome. These are facilitated by the Lincsquad coaches (Steve, Torin and Will) and coaches from other clubs in the BC eastern region. I have thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent there from walking in, to walking out. I went to a Club Cluster Training session for the following reasons:
- To help improve my handling skills on a track bike
- To help improve my riding skills on a velodrome
- To help improve my knowledge of tactics and positioning on the track.
As well as improving the aspects above, I was also able to improve my handling on a pair of rollers – From riding non-handed to getting on the rollers without having to use a chair or a person to clip-in, it all added to the experience I gained from one of these Club Cluster Training sessions. The Club Cluster Training sessions comprised of three 20-minute sessions on the track, with the sessions varying from handling-related work to racing on the track. The sessions are split into three groups of capability: beginner, intermediate and advanced. I started off in the intermediate group but soon moved up to the advanced group.
National Cycling Centre – Manchester
My experience at these sessions started off at the National Cycling Centre, otherwise known as Manchester Velodrome. The velodrome has hosted track cycling events in the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the Revolution series and the UCI Track Cycling World Championships a record three times – in 1996, 2000 and 2008. The velodrome has been cited as a catalyst for Britain’s successes in track cycling since 2002.
Entering the track centre, we soon gathered around in a circle and began listening to the coach present on what we would be performing. Usually, the first two sessions comprise of skill-related work; from group-riding to ‘lumps and bumps’ which involves the rider moving up and down the banking, this skill-related work most definitely improved my bike handling on the track, which would help me for the third and final session. The final session often consists of racing. However, we were advised not to storm around the track as soon as the race began, but to ride tactically and skilfully and sprint to the line, spending little energy. Below are some videos of me riding at a Club Cluster Training session.
The next Club Cluster Training session was at Derby Velodrome – It was a privilege to ride around Derby Velodrome before its official opening. The track was noticeably smoother than Manchester, and it felt as if the track was floating when riding around, because the track was one floor higher than the track centre.
I would like to thank all the coaches who helped to make the session fantastic, and to the riders for riding well. If you ever get the chance to ride in one of these, then I highly recommend it.