The day started with an hour drive to Codham Park for the first RSR of 2014. When I arrived it was time to get the bike out and haul all my kit up to the marquee, which there was a lot of as we would be there all day. Once we were in the marquee we were greeted by Rob Sharman and it was time to say hello to old faces from last year’s racing. Next it was time to be briefed for the day and to get our kit out and chairs set up for the classroom part of the day. To some peoples surprise the next thing that happened was that Rob asked if people had bought a teddy bear with them! This was to see if we pay attention to what he tells us to bring and to catch out those who just chucked a bag together and didn’t read the entire letter.
The first part of the day was about what it takes to be a top level cyclist. We started with a presentation on the steps through Olympic programme and where we are at now. After the inspiring presentation it was time to talk about what it takes to make it to the top, we learnt about the four things that British Cycling look for in a rider which were, Highly Skilled, Fast, Good Engine and Tactically Aware. We then talked about the advantages of having these characteristics such as if you are highly skilled you can take A lines and make your race shorter meaning better lap times.
Next we headed out to do some riding. The first thing we did was track stands; we started with our front wheel against a pole then moved on to doing them unassisted. Next we where lead in a loop and we had to practice moving our body around the bike, we practiced with our weight as far forward as we could then over the back. After that we did the same exercise again but moving side to side rather than back to front. The next Activity was manuals we started by trying to chuck ourselves off the back of the bike from still then moved on to the real thing. After refilling our drinks and snacks we headed back out to put the skills we had learnt into practice. We then focused on rear and front wheel lifts and practiced putting our front wheels onto stacks of bricks and crates. . Next was a session on the BMX track we looked at how few pedals we could do then had a session on how to pump better and another run to see if we could improve our scores.
Next we headed back for lunch, it was important to fill ourselves with carbs and protein not sugar and fat as we need enough energy to keep going through the day. After lunch we made a start on braking, we started on the top of a hill and then we had to go down the hill but only with a specific brake and our weight over a different area of the bike. Soon after was probably my favourite part of the day, we learned how to control the bike when the wheels lock up so we went on a skidpan which as you can imagine was interesting to say the least.
Last but not least it was time to put what we had learnt into practice with a race. We had to do 3 skills, on the first lap you had to put your wheel onto a brick stack, on the second lap you had to ride along a zig zag plank without your wheel falling off, and on the last lap you had to do a front and rear wheel lift over two sets of cones without hitting with either wheel. The punishment for failing any of the challenges was you had to get off and run around your bike 3 times. It was a great race but at the end of the first lap I unfortunately got a puncture.
Overall it was a brilliant day and I thoroughly enjoyed myself and learnt lots of valuable skills and many things about what I need to do to progress with my cycling...