...and the survey says "Wow, that's steep!" was the most popular comment afterseeing the track are the Darebin International Sports Centre. I mean we've all seen track racing on television at the Olympics, or even on Cycling Central on a Sunday, but we certainly weren't prepared for the reality that hit us.
Forty-two degree banks at either end left those who gathered gasping and questioning the laws of physics as they contemplated riding atop of those very banks at some stage this evening. Fear was building.
A collection of Melbourne's finest individuals joined forces to help LAID Cycling regular, Mark Maiolo, raise funds for the Ride to Conquer Cancer. A worthwhile cause indeed with the added benefit of a lot of fun ahead.
Supercoach, Daryl from Cycling Victoria arrived albeit a tick late and he's early words weren't inspiring. If you stop pedalling; you'll get hurt. If you dont keep straight on the bank; you'll get hurt. He kept going and the palms grew sweaty with anxiety."I thought this was meant to be fun and safe" I heard one cyclist whisper.
Housekeeping done, and we all reached for the bikes they'd supplied us; Hillbrick Pista's which were great. Fifteen of us moved cautiously around the track slowly building confidence. A few braved souls took straight to the banks with Igor, Big Tim and Curtis looking right at home at the dizzying heights. The others were a little more conservative at first, but all eventually conquered the beast.
A one lap time trail from the starting gate was kicked off by event organiser Mark; posting a time of 25.94 seconds. The excitement of launching out of the gate was enough to make everyone feel the Olympian inside. Igor was the early leader with a time 24.07 until Curtis took off. Flying around the 250 metre circuit Curtis forgot to keep his head up coming to the line. He clipped the witches hats and went spinning and sliding across the floor leaving his mark and skin on the track. Amazingly though he took the fastest time at 23:38.
Not to be out done, two riders later Chito decided to end the fun for everyone. Once again riding with his head down Chito hit the starting gate as he approached the line taking out the gas bottle, but amazingly staying upright. The gate ruined, the remaining riders had to do it the old fashioned way - Daryl holding them up.
The two fastest riders were saved for last with the quiet and subdued Jake smashing out a lap of power defying his slight build, posting 22.58. Fast, but the hulking Tim put the power down hurting the Hillbrick as he screamed to a 21.89, taking the chocolates.
Next on the menu was the flying lap. A two lap 'warm up' to get to speed before unleashing all sorts of hurt on the last lap to record a time. Lap one was fine, but by lap two my legs were in lactic overload and by lap three they were crying along with my lungs and heart. I was not alone; everyone was feeling it this late in the session. Three riders stood out with sub 18 second times; Curtis, Igor and Tim with Tim once again taking the chocolates with 17.17 seconds. A very dominant performance.
The rest of the session was a free ride and a chance try new things as well as wind down the muscles. I, like others were on a high as the come try session came to an end.. I suggest if you get the chance to give it a go. Check the website for timetables: www.viv.cycling.org.au
It was a great evening and importantly Mark raised some funds for the ride. The results are at the bottom of the photos. A big thanks for Amy Maiolo sacrificing her ride to capture some of the moments. See you at the track as a few of us have decided to take it up.