Today marks two weeks and a day since my first ride on the Cleveland Velodrome.
I’ve ridden 8 or 9 days in that time, so I figure that’s getting close to 2000 laps. I should be completely convinced by now that you can ride the steep part of the banking without sliding down. But every time I ride, I have to convince myself all over again that it’s possible. The first lap I just have this feeling that the wheels are going to slide out or my pedal is going to hit the high side of the track.
But each time I ride, it takes fewer and fewer laps to get over that feeling. See someone fall? That introduces some doubt again.
I’m thinking that learning to ride the track is going to be as much a mental exercise as a physical one.
Take riding up at the top of the track. Watching the “roll up” from last weekend’s race, I figure I need to be able to ride in a paceline up high, and be able to pull off up higher.
Logically, I know that it shouldn’t be any harder to ride in a straight line up there. But riding up close to the edge of the track makes me feel like I’m on a roller coaster and I’m trying to keep myself from looking down. So I try to make myself look out at the track, and get a little closer to the edge each time.
It doesn’t help that Gary tells me he clipped a pedal on the plastic bumper at the top of the track. More doubt.
But I figure each of those laps is 166 meters closer to confidence.