It’s time for a non-product post. And given today sits in between two different in-depth review posts, I figure we’ll travel back in time to almost a month ago when I visited the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) for the CycleOps Hammertime launch event.
While many cycling brands hold worldwide launch events at epic riding locales, CycleOps decided to hold theirs in a conference room where the federation undoubtedly debates rules and other boring details. There were nifty little UCI pens and paper tablets though on the table. Though, they only had about 10 sheets, so you must use them wisely.
Of course while this was a standard office building conference room (albeit with a pretty scenic view and outer decks/terraces), it was attached to a structure of far larger interest and importance: The UCI velodrome. In fact, despite all outward photos you may have seen of the famed UCI Headquarters building, it’s actually really tiny. The vast majority of the structure you think you’re looking at is the velodrome, and not the headquarters.
In the image below, the headquarters is only this singular pizza slice wedge. It’s attached to the velodrome and community rec center (with tumbling mats), which dwarf it in size. Here, I’ve made a nifty map. That way every time you see the UCI photo on a news story post, it gives it perspective on just how small the UCI offices actually are.
Given the CycleOps announcement was a trainer, the best way to ride that was indoors. So instead of taking out some new bike component into the mountains, it only seemed appropriate that folks ride indoors in an equally cool spot: The UCI velodrome.
Now this would be the second time I’ve been on a velodrome track. The first was a few years ago in LA at the VELO Sports Center. In that case though, I was riding my triathlon bike on the track. So that ends up being just a wee bit different than riding a legit track bike on the track.
For one, a track bike has a single speed with a rear hub that doesn’t freewheel. That means that there’s no way to stop pedaling without the bike coming to complete and full stop. So it’s kinda like a spin bike, if the wheel is moving, so are the pedals. They are one and the same.
In this case, they did affix PowerTap P1 pedals to the track bikes, so we could check out our power. But to be honest, I never did that once – mostly because I was so focused on not crashing. Be it into someone else, into the walls, or just imploding in the middle of the track.
To get started you lined up against the wall. This was the approved start/stop area. Even the pros that were out there riding for a few hours before me were to start/stop there and in the same manner. You clipped in while holding onto the railing, and then once clipped in you started pedaling.
You’d start off slowly on the lower portions of the track, and then build up speed to get higher and higher on the wall.
There were specific minimum speeds needed to keep from sliding down the wall, primarily in the curves. The UCI coach man told us these speeds. But my bike kinda sorta lacked a speed sensor (no GPS indoors). So basically, I just kept pedaling harder and harder hoping it’d be enough.
Probably the best way to experience this is to show it to you in a video. So here’s a 360° video I shot using the 360Fly. Because the 360Fly has generally crap resolution, this falls into the camp of ‘it is what it is’. Also, it didn’t help that the building only had on perhaps 1/4th (or less) of the lights in the velodrome. So the lighting is pretty tough. Still, I think you’ll enjoy. And remember, you can change the view by just dragging around in the YouTube window. I try and commentate a bit, but eventually the wind noise becomes too much for the mic.
So there ya have it – a fun snippet of riding around the velodrome!
Thanks for reading all!