Below is a piece I wrote on my experience of spectating at the Oceania’s a while ago, I dug it up, as tomorrow night I plan on venturing to the Superdrome again for a look at the Port Adelaide Cycling Club race. Wondering if tomorrow night being a “club ride”, it will be more a bunch of friends out for some fun and laughs, than the atmosphere at the Oceania’s?

Will I have a crack at the track? Well I am getting very sorely tempted to, as I have tried road racing, had one criterium race, which was enough for me to realise that I did not really like it, so next logical choice of course is track! Fear not though, IF I have a crack at it, I don’t think I can see myself giving up all of my other cycling joys to ride track only! But for Winter training, it might be ok?

If I was to take on track riding, I think this could be my weapon of choice, understanding that I would only be doing it for a laugh, not for serious coin! Felt TK3

Anyway, these were my brief thoughts after Oceania’s:

Track Cycling – A Spectator Sport or a Family Reunion

During the course of the recent Oceania Track Cycling Championships, I took up an opportunity to volunteer at the Adelaide Super-Drome. Track cycling is something fairly new to me, in fact my first look at it was back in February for the Australian Cycling Championships, and this was only my second foray into the sport as a spectator, and first as a volunteer.

During my time behind the scenes, chatting with the other volunteers, and then as a spectator on Saturday night, it became quite obvious to me that track cycling is indeed a niche sport. It seemed that practically everyone involved as a volunteer, or sitting in the stands, was either a family member, club member, or ex track cyclist themselves from days long passed.

There were very few who were there like myself, just as spectators of the sport of cycling in general, and it made me think why not? What has to be done to make track the spectator sport that road cycling is? But perhaps we can’t. Perhaps the whole reason that Road Cycling is so popular amongst the masses, excluding the Tour Down Under Lance Factor, is that most of us can either see ourselves achieving these goals. It is as if somehow we are living our dreams through those road warriors.

Yet when it comes to track, for those of us who have never ridden the boards, our eyes are immediately drawn to the steep banks, timber boards, and these strange yet aesthetically pleasing machines that are being ridden sans gears and brakes, and at phenomenal speeds if not for the entire race, at least for a couple of laps! When our minds attempt to put all of those factors together, the fear of falling and getting splinters the entire length of our bodies seems to put us off. Yet for many of us, we will descend the hills of Adelaide at speeds that exceed that which will be hit on the track, yet never give pause to consider the effects of hard bitumen on the body at that speed.

Perhaps because the majority of us can not see ourselves riding it, there is no real appeal to go and watch it, yet clearly those who do ride the boards, have a very deep passion for it. In fact, some of the champions we were there to watch, are also champions on the road. Their love of the boards and that style of riding keeps calling them back to the sport.

Maybe one day I should try it, just to see what it is that they love about it so much, maybe, when I get over my fear of splinters and near vertical banks that is.

The Adelaide Super-Drome holds training sessions for anyone wanting to try track cycling. These are held on Friday nights 6:00pm – 8:00pm for $20 per person including bike hire, or if you have your own track bike, it is only $12.00. On Saturdays they hold a ladies only training session between 12:00pmand 2:00pm, for $10.00 including bike.

Mark “Smudge” Matthew