Words: Jonathan Bacon
Gosh, a revelation as much as Revolution. The Manchester Velodrome is a spanking place. Impressive but welcoming – it hides the pain well, but I could feel it. As I wandered the ‘pits’ watching riders spin away on rollers like they were walking in the park, and VIPs clinking glasses and talking the talk, I realised the huge divide between the crowd and the racers. They were a lateral step away. But a big step, a huge stride, a power-packed prowess that wasn’t obvious but was there all the same.
It was the final (4th) round of this season’s Revolution Series. The Rouleur team had done us proud, and would do again. I was there to say hello and watch the racing. I was soon to marvel at how easy the riders made it look. I’ve ridden at Newport, I believe it’s the same size as Manchester, so the principles were known. The practice was something else. I was told that the riders see these kind of events as ‘fun’ – a break from the really serious stuff – but as the evening went on and they were out there, lap after lap, time after time, I found myself struggling to comprehend their fitness, their stamina, their strength. My thighs twinged sympathetically as the Velodrome commentator suggested “a 15 second final lap should see them take the win” and a lone rider was slung off to fight his lactic threshold. It was fast, impressive and relentless. I spent most of the evening slacked jawed.
God, they go fast. Jason Kenny went very fast, and very early to beat Chris Hoy in a round of the sprint. It was an upset, smart-thinking, well-deserved (all of the above). The Derny race was truly fabulous – I must find out how rider and pilot communicate, although I get the feeling the Howies rider wasn’t too pleased about some aspect of it – perhaps just his own performance. The Devil should be later in the evening – it’s too much fun to have it early. Sprinting when there is no space to sprint into is plain fascinating. And the various points races are of a length that would have me broken after three laps so I’m in awe of the riders who ride lap after lap at an ever quickening pace to then sort things in the last three. Dry mouth in the house.
Great venue, facilities, lovely atmosphere, a really good vibe (I think that’s the phrase). I’m looking forward to next year. I’m going to sort out a session for our Rouleur team – a staff outing – should be good. And whilst it’s available I’ll watch the ITV Player show again, and again… click here (I think it’s there until the end of Feb – do take a look).
Steve Makin was with me and took some appropriate photographs. They’re here…
And a few from the Bacons…