"You've probably got time for a few laps before people start" Colin said to me as we were walking to the track. However looking around at the standard of bikes, and the tightness of the lycra, I already knew I was out of my cycling depth.
We were at Lea Valley VeloPark, originally built for the 2012 Olympics but now open to the public. Not to say that the pros don't use it however, Britain’s favourite mod Bradley Wiggins recently set the hour record there. As we got track side, the first thing that struck me was the amount of young children there. All fully kitted up riding around in circles, looking slightly awkward on these shiny road bikes which almost looked too big for them. Of course amongst them were the parents, some had taken the plunge and donned the lycra, others were happier to sit and cheer from the sidelines.
Another observation as an outsider, were the amount of teams with their own kits. It seemed strange to me, but maybe that's because I grew up around football where you either wear your favourite team's top, or the cheapest generic football top they can find. But even though people were separated by teams, they all were happy to mingle amongst one another. It was at this point I felt I probably should have worn my Velo Club Motel top to at least try and blend in...
The whole reason people were here, was for the brilliantly named Tuesday Tens Two Up Time Trial - or TTTUTT for short(ish). Which I have been told basically means two people cycle 10 miles together as fast as they can, on a Tuesday. But it was time for brothers Colin and David Ross to make their final preparations. David made short work of a banana for some last minute energy, whilst Colin stripped his bike of any drag inducing elements, those add up you know. Once they were ready, zipped up and clipped in, off they went.
They were due to start at exactly 7:02pm so they had a good few minutes to get some warm up laps in. I followed them at various vantage points around the 1 mile course, and for saying it’s in East London, there are times when the sun highlights certain areas and you could be mistaken for being somewhere slightly more exotic. After a few intense laps, and a few not so intense laps they lined up at the start line, waiting to be released. As I mentioned earlier, I found it interesting that grown men focused on the race at hand are lining up along side young kids, more interested in annoying their friends. When the clock firmly struck 7:02 our boys were off. They were clearing going for it and made sure to switch positions as some points to deal with head winds at various points. When you’re standing at the sidelines it’s kinda of hard to tell exactly how fast they are going, but the puffed out cheeks are a hint that they’re giving it a good go.
When their race came to an end they were greeted by Motel’s official coffee sponsor, and owner of Lanark Coffee, Greg Boyce. After a little cool down, it was time for all of us to retire to a local pub for a well deserved drink. Just one or two mind, it was a work night after all.
Click through the gallery below to see more of our boys in action.