I had visitors over the weekend and where I’m usually all about getting outside in good weather this particular weekend I was really hoping for some rain so there’d be an excuse to take my nephews for a session at the indoor BMX track at the National Cycling Centre. Lucky for me, given I live in what was once described to me as “the wettest valley in England” (which may well be true), the weather man delivered so on Monday we all headed off with the boys excited about their session.
Despite not really having any idea what they were in for the boys were excited to be going to the “home of British Cycling” and the possibility of spotting some of the pros hanging around the cafe or maybe even seeing them in action. Of course that was pretty unlikely, given the Olympics are on in Rio this week, but the eldest of the two was excited to be riding the same track anyway. What an experience!
The session was an hour long, beginning on time with no small amount of faffing as the coaches tried to get everyone kitted out with knee and elbow pads, helmets, gloves and bikes. Luckily the boys were happy with the bikes they were given and there were other kids of similar ages given the same setups, so the younger one had others of the same age group to compare himself too (rather than comparing himself to the older ones, which usually happens, and then getting into a strop.) Once kitted out they headed round to the other side of the arena for a pep talk and a basic skills assessment. The coaches wanted to see that everyone could handle their bikes — starting and stopping and riding over a small ramp — and talked about pedal positions for cornering and riding the ramps, and explained about pumping the bike rather than pedalling round. The boys were fine, so the next step was to ride the track!
They did great! The best part of an hour later we had two tired and hungry boys on our hands. Success! There was only one strop (the little one, of course) which was soon recovered from and they both enjoyed themselves. The eldest was signed off from the Intro 2 BMX session so would be able to go onto a more advanced session, learning to ride the start gate and in a group, in future. The little one had the hang of it by the end of the session and would easily have been signed off after anuter hour; he was a little nervous to start with, riding seated instead of standing, and it took him a little while to figure out how to pump the bike and when to pedal. It’s a shame we won’t be up this way long enough for them to come back and ride it again. Hopefully there’ll be something similar for them to ride when the visit us in France. I hope so for my sake too, as it occurred to me after signing them up, while they were getting kitted out, that I could have joined in too! Oh well.