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GUIDE: Britain’s best velodromes – where to ride track in the UK

Ride at the UK’s top cycling centres

British cycle racing hasn’t always been the huge success story that it is today and, like many great sporting feats, the results of London 2012 and the Rio 2016 Olympics came after years of preparation, dedication and investment.

Britain’s velodromes naturally have played their part in this success – both past and present – and their place within cycling’s rich folklore should never be downplayed.

But where and when did the first velodromes spring up? Are they still used today? And if so, are they the places where Britain’s gold medalists honed their craft?

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The early velodromes

One of the world’s first velodromes was built at Preston Park in Brighton, a 633 yard long track that opened in 1877. Portsmouth velodrome soon followed, featuring a single straight joined by one swooping curve.

The materials that were used in the early velodromes differed from track to track, as did each circuit’s functionality. While some were built specifically for cycling, others were built around the outside of running tracks, providing extra lanes for runners to train.

Throughout the history of the Olympics, many velodromes were used – all of which differed in size, length and technical aspects. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1990s when the length of velodromes were standardised, a factor which resulted in the reason why today’s events take place on a 250 metre track, as opposed to the various lengths that were used throughout the 20th century.

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UK’s greatest tracks

Although some of the early velodromes may have closed their doors, there are still many great velodromes here in the UK and the number of facilities continues to increase. Just take a look at some of the tracks below.

Lee Valley VeloPark – now arguably the most famous velodrome in the UK the Lee Valley VeloPark, in east London, is the track where Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Laura Trott rode to victory during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Manchester Velodrome – the home of British Cycling (the sport’s governing body), Manchester Velodrome is the place where some of the nation’s finest Olympians have trained over the years. Located near the Etihad Stadium, the velodrome is also open to the public  – just make sure you book well in advance if ever you fancy a few laps!

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The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome – while the Manchester Velodrome may be home to British Cycling, the Scottish Cycling team can often be found training on Glasgow’s Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. Again, this track is open to the public, which is handy for any cyclist looking to build their fitness.

Herne Hill Velodrome – is one of the oldest tracks in the world, built in south London in 1891, and for decades was the home of the famous Good Friday Track Meeting. In 1948 it hosted the track cycling events at the London Olympics and it is still a very popular track for training and racing today.

Newport Velodrome – The Welsh National Velodrome opened in 2003 and was used by the British track cycling team for its pre-event training camps ahead of the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. It has also been crucial in developing a string of talented Welsh cyclists such as Nicole Cooke and Geraint Thomas.

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Remembering Leicester track

While the tracks above highlight some of the best UK velodromes today, it’s worth remembering one of of the great velodromes of the past.

The Saffron Lane Velodrome – an outdoor stadium that once played host to some of British Cycling’s most memorable moments – was a 3,100 seater velodrome located in Leicester. The Leicester track hosted the UCI World Championships in 1970 and 1982.

Unfortunately, the opening of the new Manchester Velodrome hastened the end for the once glorious Saffron Lane track which eventually closed its doors in 1999.

Take a look at the map below to see where all the UK’s velodromes are located and to find out more about which notable cyclists have trained where.

Ribble launched the new, exciting full carbon Eliminator track bike during the 2016-17 track season. Read all about it here.

 

Name Location
1 Caird Park Dundee
2 Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome Glasgow
3 Meadowbank Velodrome Edinburgh
4 Tommy Givan Track Orangefield, Belfast
5 Middlesbrough Sports Village Middlesbrough
6 Richmondshire Velodrome (Richmondshire Cricket Club Velodrome) Richmond, North Yorkshire
7 York Sport Velodrome York, North Yorkshire
8 Roundhay Park Leeds, West Yorkshire
9 Quibell Park Stadium Scunthorpe
10 Long View Leisure (Knowsley Leisure & Culture Park) Huyton Knowsley, Merseyside
11 Manchester Velodrome (The National Cycling Centre) Manchester
12 Forest Town Welfare Mansfield,Nottinghamshire
13 Lyme Valley Stadium Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire
14 Derby Arena Derby
15 Aldersley Track Aldersley,Wolverhampton
16 Halesowen Velodrome Halesowen, West Midlands
17 Carmarthen Park Carmarthen
18 Maindy Stadium (Maindy Centre) Cardiff
19 Newport Velodrome (Newport Velo) Newport
20 Palmer Park Stadium Reading
21 Gosling Sports Park Welwyn Garden City
22 Lee Valley VeloPark Leyton, East London
23 Herne Hill Velodrome London
24 Poole Park Track Poole, Dorset
25 Bournemouth Cycle Centre Bournemouth,Dorset
26 Calshot Velodrome Calshot
27 The Mountbatten Centre Portsmouth
28 Preston Park Brighton, East Sussex

 

 

 

 

TEAM RIBBLE: Dee Allen wins tough Helvellyn Triathlon

A one mile swim in a cold, but fresh, Ullswater (13 degrees)… a 36 mile (1,489ft of ascent) ride involving a 4.5km category 1 climb up ‘The Struggle’ (which averages 8% gradient and maxes at 20% in places)… followed by a 9 mile (3,118ft of ascent) run to the top of Helvellyn and back down… Those are the three reasons this is deemed as one of the toughest triathlons in the world.

Brutal ride leg

The ride leg alone is so tough that it was described as ‘brutal’ by some of the Tour of Britain riders who followed us up the next day on stage two of the pro race.

Team Ribble

As someone who loves a challenge this race was right up my street. I have to admit though that my training for this race had not been my specific focus for the season, my main focus was the middle distance, and to try and go under 5 hours at the Monster Middle a couple of weeks before.

However, there was no way I could pass on this challenge especially as it was on my birthday. I was confident that the strength gained from the middle distance training would get me through the race and if all went well would hopefully see me make the podium!

OK, so on race day my plan was simply to attack the swim, attack the bike and then hit the run as hard as I could. Due to the lack of ‘fell’ specific training I knew that I could not purely rely on my run, although this is often my best discipline.

Ready, Steady, Go!

The water was cold, but fresh and I was excited to get going – I had panicked at a race a month before where I had a disaster of a swim and I was determined not to let these demons get to me – I aimed to start hard and fast. We turned at the first buoy and I could see that I was mid pack and working through the sea of bodies and green hats. I breathed to my left and I could see that there was another female swimmer, so my aim was to not let her go and to try and get out in front. As we hit the final turning buoy to the finish I put in a spurt and managed to grab a few precious seconds getting out the water as 3rd female overall.

Team Ribble

Out of T1 the aim was to get my head down and push hard and never look back as we headed towards the famous ‘Struggle’ which takes you to the top of Kirkstone Pass from Ambleside. Although most of the bike route was TT/Tri bike-friendly I had decided to race on my trusty Ribble R872 as I felt this would give me a greater advantage whilst climbing.

The R872 sure didn’t disappoint, this bike really works with you and certainly holds its own when you really want to pick up the pace. Now I’m not going to say it made climbing up ‘The Struggle’ a breeze, but it certainly made easier work than if I had used my triathlon bike. Climbing can be quite awkward and harder on the legs and I needed every ounce of energy I could save ready to tackle the nine mile run up and down the mountain of Helvellyn.

It was only when I got the top of ‘The Struggle’ with its Tour de France type atmosphere – the support was simply epic and electrifying – that I got information from the crowd that I was the leading female and that there was no one else in sight. That was a very nice surprise as I had still thought I was in third and it gave me a confidence boost as I cautiously descended Kirkstone Pass (not taking any risks) and then pushed hard as the road flattened out to T2 thinking of every second!

Heading into the Helvellyn run…

Trail shoes on and a quick drink and I was ready to hit the run into the unknown world of how I would fare on the fells and not feeling quite as confident as I usually am when I get to the run stage. As I hit the steep ascent towards the ‘hole in the wall’, thoughts started creeping into my head… saying that I was going to be caught and that I would not make It to the top.

At this point I was briskly walking with no response from the legs to try to run, but as I hit the flatter section towards the summit I was able to get my legs moving and I soon found my running rhythm. I then gained a further boost of confidence when I saw my dad just before the final ascent and he informed me that I was still clear of the second placed woman. From this point I knew I had to make it to the top and then give it everything I had down to the finish.

Team Ribble

Rock climbing

The final ascent is up Swirral Edge which requires the skills of a rock climber more than a runner, but this all added to the fun and the challenge of the race. Finally pulling up with my hands I was relieved to reach the summit and from here I knew it was game on and time to attack the final descent and run into the finish. Pushing hard and back into my running rhythm, the negative thoughts of the ascent had well and truly disappeared and I was now starting to enjoy the moment! I ran towards the finish and even managed to muster up the energy to put in a little sprint finish.

Lifted by the cheers of the crowd I could not help but have a great big smile on my face as I crossed the finish line. I was so relieved to have beaten this gruelling challenge – with the added bonus of bringing home the win!

Team Ribble

Winning such an iconic race, it sure was a birthday to remember.

On reflection, I was pleased to see that I had taken the lead on the bike as coming from a run background you can still be seen as a runner playing at triathlon and just relying on your run. However coming out of the water in third place and then putting the fastest bike split in by two minutes it finally looks like I am becoming a COMPLETE triathlete!

So that was a wrap for my triathlon season, I’m now having an end of season break in Australia! Until the new season arrives – embrace… enjoy… and ride with a smile😉

 

 

Team Ribble: Ailbhe inspired by Rio Games and happy after Euro Cup + Video

Team Ribble-sponsored triathlete Ailbhe Carroll is excited by the Rio Olympics after a good performance in the Malmo European Cup triathlon. Watch her video below…

The Olympics… Where little kids dream of going and where big kids have dreams come true. What a fabulous representation of how sport can bring people together. Anyone following Rio will have come across the picture which was a selfie of the young North and South Korean gymnasts together… how fabulous to see. Another picture which went viral was the beach volleyball picture which included team Egypt playing in full length kit. Brilliant. So many cultural differences put aside for the love of a sport. Brilliant.

Malmo Triathlon

The Olympics, and sport in general of course, have been tainted with doping scandals. It’s horrible to see so many clean athletes being affected by so many doping athletes and nations. It makes you question why they do it. It makes you question if anyone is actually clean. It makes you look at your own rivals and think… are you clean?

My latest European Cup triathlon

I raced in Sweden a week ago and had the most fabulous race experience to date. I travelled with my boyfriend Rich who wasn’t racing, but was there to help me and this proved very beneficial. He was able to do small things like carry my bike box and do some errands which allowed me to rest and conserve my energies.

I also had the pleasure of meeting one of my countrywomen, and now true friends, whilst out there. I somehow dodged meeting Susanna Murphy on many race occasions but when I met her randomly on a cobbled street in Malmo, I knew she was a keeper! What an awesome girl! Susanna went on to finish 14th in Malmo to gain her 3rd top 15 in a row on the international scene – flying that Irish tricolour flag loud and clear. When I grow up I want to be like her!

Ribble inTransition

I went in to the Malmo triathlon ranked number 29 and my realistic goal for this race was a top 25 finish. Unfortunately I didn’t get that and finished 29th but there were so many positives to take from this race. The first major positive was how relaxed and controlled I was before the race start. I have serious issues with eating breakfast on travel day to races and race day morning.

For some reason although my nerves feel fine, my stomach does not allow me to eat and I feel incredibly nauseous before racing. This time round I was able to eat half a bowl of cereal and some white bread with a bit of bacon. I was having weird cravings, but was going to eat whatever I could get down me as something was better than the usual nothing. Big success.

Another success surrounded the build up to the race. I was so calm and collected being around Susanna. Having Rich there as a familiar someone was hugely calming. Race day, although it brought with it some surprises in weather conditions and whether we were allowed wetsuits or not, it went rather smoothly. The water temperature was all over the place. The day before the race it was 18.8 degrees (wetsuit). The morning of the race 17.6 (wetsuit) and then one hour before the race – 20.8 (none wetsuit). Whatever that water was doing I was not a fan! A few issues upon check-in and we were ready to rock.

My Ribble gets me back in touch

During the race itself – I swam main pack which is where I expected to be. But I was at the back of the pack and a trip and meet and greet with the ground upon swim exit meant I was on the back foot. I went from being there to wow – where did she go?! I did all I could and my Ribble Aero 883 which got me back in touch with the group.

Ribble Aero 883 Malmo Triathlon

However at this point the main pack on the swim had split into two and the group I had caught back on to was the second half of that group. Not ideal. The eventual winner who then travelled to Rio for the Olympic triathlon, came from my swim pack so that’s very encouraging in itself. I felt incredibly strong on the bike and my little Ribble rocket was fabulous. Entering T2 I was actually running for a top 20 finish despite the previous events and trips. The top 20 wasn’t there for me this race but it’s all there for the taking once I get myself to stop tripping up over my own feet. The ingredients are there, I just need to get mixing and then baking!

Sweden was a special race for me as one of the main sponsors was one of my own sponsors… Newline sport. They are the sponsor of both Swedish and Danish triathlon and so it was nice to see their flag flying high… helped along by the extreme winds as well! The role a sponsor plays in the journey of an athlete is rather huge. I would like to take this time to reinforce how important sponsors are.

Sponsors are so important

No journey is smooth and no journey is cheap. Support, both financially and in equipment, is just massive and allows athletes to grow. Where does the role of sponsor fit in for athletes who don’t start their journey on the podium? It fits in everywhere. There are athletes who started nowhere and are now the best in their field. Their sponsors stood by them when things were looking a little grim. Losing sponsors at a time where races don’t go smoothly is a kick in the teeth athletes don’t need.

We all want to promote the brands as best we can and do our sponsors proud in an effort to thank them but this doesn’t always happen. Sponsors who are there through thick and thin, through the lows and the highs, for the love of trying to help and support – they are the ones who make the difference. Such a huge support. I have been so lucky in having such great support this year.

Malmo Triathlon

I have not had the success just yet that I have been dreaming of but each day is a day building strength and speed I didn’t have the day before and each triathlon shows progress. Having people believe in you is a big boost and I believe I will have the success I dream of one day. Rome wasn’t built in a day and some journeys require more time than others. I have time and I am very motivated to get myself to where I want to be.

 

Thank you as ever to Ribble Cycles, Polaris Bikewear, Newton running, Newline sport and New Running Gear. I’m sorry the podium hasn’t come yet but it will!

I hope everyone is cycling happy and loving doing what they are doing – triathlon or cycling!

Stay safe, stay healthy,
Ailbhe 🙂

Malmo Triathlon

Guide: Going for Gold at the ‘Big Event’ – our guide to the cycling events

We hope you’re as excited as we are as a feast of cycling at the Rio Olympics approaches. Eighteen cycling gold medals will be keenly fought for and it all starts this weekend. Four years ago, at the London Olympics, Great Britain headed the medals table with a fantastic haul of eight gold, two silver and two bronze. Who will you be rooting for in Rio?

The opening ceremony takes place late (23.15) on Friday evening and cycling is one of the major sports that will dominate the first week of Games action with the men’s road race kicking things off on Saturday (6th August).

MG - BOCAIUVA - 10/05/2016 - REVEZAMENTO DA TOCHA RIO 2016 - Revezamento da Tocha Olimpica para os Jogos Rio 2016. Foto: Rio2016/Fernando Soutello
Photo: Rio2016/Fernando Soutello
No late nights?

Cycling fans are lucky that practically all the racing will take place at convenient times for UK viewers (all times stated here are British Summer Time). The road races, time trials, triathlon and mountain biking will all take place during the afternoon and the six days of track cycling sessions will run largely from 14.00 to 22.30.

The time difference between the UK and Brazil will mean that some of the biggest (evening) events from other sports will happen in the very early hours of the morning and the BBC’s Breakfast Show will become an Olympics highlights show so we can catch up with events.

Road Races

The Olympic road races will be contested by national teams of up to five riders each over a tough and lumpy circuit that should favour hilly Classics riders. Spain’s Alejandro Valverde and Italian Vincenzo Nibali are being mentioned as favourites, but the road race can throw up a surprise winner.

Britain take a strong five-man road team to the Olympics but no recognised sprinter. The final climb is thought to be too far from the finish line to favour Chris Froome or Adam Yates so Team GB will perhaps be hoping to get Steve Cummings, Ian Stannard or Geraint Thomas into a small breakaway group that could contest the medals.

In the women’s race World champion Lizzie Armitstead will be up against a strong Dutch team again as she hopes to upgrade the silver medal she won in London four years ago behind Marianne Vos.

Television commentator Anthony McCrossan was driven around the road race course this week and said, “It’s going to be an incredible race. The course is very hard with stunning scenery.”

UCI President Brian Cookson is also excited about Rio and told the press, “The road race mixes some of Rio’s most iconic backdrops such as Copacabana and Ipanema with some really testing sections such as the Grumari Circuit. The steep climb up Grumari Road is sure to provide a unique test for time trial riders.”

The men’s road race, over 237.5km, starts at 13.30 (finishing approx. 19.51) on Saturday (6th August) followed by the 136.9km women’s road race at 16.15 (finishing approx. 20.23) on Sunday.

GB Men’s team: Chris Froome; Steve Cummings; Ian Stannard; Geraint Thomas; and Adam Yates. GB Women’s team: Lizzie Armitstead; Nikki Harris; and Emma Pooley.

Check out Ribble Road bikes here
Best Of British - South Pennines-8

Time Trial

Team Great Britain is likely to select Chris Froome to compete in the time trial where he stands an excellent chance of following in the wheel tracks of Sir Bradley Wiggins and winning the gold medal. The GB selections for the time trial  will be made after the road race events. Update: Team GB time trial selections are: Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Emma Pooley.

Both time trials place on Wednesday 10th August with the women riders starting first from 12.30 (racing over 29.86km) and the men riders heading out from 14.00. The men’s 54.56km two-lap course includes four significant climbs which will suit Tour de France winner Froome.

Check out Ribble Time Trial Bikes

Track Cycling

The large track programme starts on Thursday 11th August and the Men’s Team Sprint will be the first final. The Men’s Team Pursuit featuring Sir Bradley Wiggins will also begin on the opening day at 17.23 and the British quartet of Wiggins, Steven Burke, Ed Clancy and Owain Doull will be hoping to qualify for the final taking place at 18.20 on Friday 12th August. The track events continue until Tuesday 16th August.

Get into Track Cycling with the Ribble Pista

Triathlon

The men’s triathlon is contested on Thursday 18th August with the women’s race on Saturday 20th August both starting at 11.00. Alistair Brownlee defends his Olympic title and heads a six-strong Team GB triathlon squad.

GB Men’s triathlon: Alistair Brownlee, Jonny Brownlee and Gordon Benson. GB Women’s triathlon: Non Stanford, Vicky Holland and Helen Jenkins.

Check out the range of Ribble Triathlon Bikes

Ribble Aero TT: our time trial and triathlon missile.
Mountain Biking

The cycling events at the Rio Olympics will conclude with the two mountain bike races, around a five kilometre lap, on the final weekend of competition. World road race champion Peter Sagan returns to off-road racing, but it would be a big surprise if he can beat the MTB specialists.

The women will race on Saturday 20th August and the men 24 hours later. Both races start at 16.30 and Grant Ferguson is the only British rider selected.  

Check out Ribble Mountain Bikes here

Olympic Cycling Timetable

Sat 6 Aug: Men’s Road Race.
Sun 7 Aug: Women’s Road Race.
Wed 10 Aug: Road Time Trials.
Thu 11 to Tue 16 Aug: Track events.
Thu 18 & Sat 20 Aug: Triathlon
Sat 20 & Sun 21 Aug: Mountain Biking.

The Paralympic Games follow on in Rio and run from 7-18th September.

ES - LINHARES - 18/05/2016 - REVEZAMENTO DA TOCHA RIO 2016 - Revezamento da Tocha Olimpica para os Jogos Rio 2016. Foto: Rio2016/Andre Luiz Mello
Photo: Rio2016/Andre Luiz Mello

 

 

 

Team Ribble: Ailbhe’s Spanish triathlon adventure

Ribble-sponsored triathlete Ailbhe Carroll updates us on her eventful July at a European Cup triathlon in Spain

Oh my, Oh my, Oh my, my, my, July. Birthday month, kick start my international triathlon season month and fun times in warm places with cool people month… it was all there for the taking, but oh my, my, my, was it not to be!!!

July started off being a month filled with excitement. I was not really looking forward to the whole year older thing, but it was nice to spend time with friends and laugh at myself for being older. Laughter will keep you young they say!

On our way to sunny Spain

Next on the agenda was my first European Cup triathlon of the year and a trip to Spain with one of the funniest girls I know, Emma Sharkey, from the beautiful emerald isle of Ireland. Emma was flying from home and I was flying from the UK and we would meet in Spain and go from there. We would have each other so it would all be easy, breezy, beautiful, cover girl. We wish!

Delayed luggage coupled with our lack of Spanish had us off to a good start, but it had us laughing because there was nothing we could do. All luggage firmly in hand and all train tickets paid for, we were finally on our way to Barcelona and then the beautiful little seaside town of Altafulla. The heat made for a sweaty journey and Emma’s all black everything outfit left her hot, hot, hot! I also learned that jeans are just not meant for travel. Ever.

Carroll Tri Suit 16We found the hotel in Altafulla with little difficulty. We were here finally – straight to the sea for a swim please! We hopped into the sea and all was right in the world again. We did all the usual things after a day of travel with our bikes and then food, food… give us food! We got our bearings with where registration was, where the nicest Italian restaurants were and we even spotted the best Froyo (frozen yoghurt, Ed) shop for a treat after the race. We had it all done! We got this!

The next day we had the bike recce first thing. Altafulla was a really cool course with a nice big hill which intertwined its way through some old Spanish streets. It was super cool but this was as far as the love for the course grew for me. Up the hill for the first time and my bike became very vocal making all sorts of crazy noises. After much deliberation and some fiddling about with what I thought I may have done incorrectly when rebuilding my Ribble Aero 883, she seemed to be running smoothly thank god. A couple of more times up and over the hill and we were good to go.

Swim recce was next and as there is a lot less technical equipment involved for this section, it seemed to go rather swimmingly! Food, food, give us food! Once our hunger was put to bed we were free to relax and chill out, watching the WTS Hamburg race, before having to dash off to our registration and briefing.

Time for dinner…food again! Yay! Dinner done and home to do the last bits and bobs putting number stickers on bikes and helmets and then we were ready to sleep.

Carroll Tri Transition

Triathlon race day

The next morning was a lazyish start as the race wasn’t until midday. A relaxed breakfast and a little nap before heading down. During our warm up my bike seemed to be running smoothly. I left Emma and decided I would do one more hill just to make sure my bike was ‘A OK’. Cue the disaster.

Seemingly my rear derailleur had been knocked in transit and it was spending a lot of time up against the spokes creating the noise I’d heard the day before. It had had enough on race morning though and got caught in the spokes which broke the replaceable derailleur hanger. With 45mins to race start I was without a working bike.

Panic… no, don’t panic. Who can help? Ring Stephen from Triathlon Ireland. He likes bikes. He will know. As expected he told me all the relevant details and what to do, but unless I could find a new hanger, I would be a little screwed.

The bike mechanic on site had an extensive tool kit – one small multi-tool. Great! What next? At this point I was stressing just a little. Everyone had racked their bikes and was down in swim warm-up. I was still in the athlete area with no tri-suit on and no bike to rack. These invaluable experiences in life that seem to be awful at the time, have to make sense at some point in your journey. Don’t panic.

I asked if could borrow a bike and the next minute along comes this bike. God knows what speed, or if any speed at all it was, how old it was and how much heavier than me it weighed but she went into transition and I would hop on later and see what happened.

Lets get it on

What happened next, not a whole lot. I had enough time to run down to swim warm up and take three strokes before we were called out of the water to line up. There was an Irish lady whose accent was more comforting than she knew at the time, who was shouting us on. My head was a ‘little’ frazzled and so the race wasn’t exactly what I had planned.

The swim seemed to just stay as one big group and I was at the back following feet constantly thinking about how this bike was going to be. Out of the swim, onto the bike and I could barely reach the handle bars or change gears! Disaster! One lap of the bike is all I could manage and made the decision to call it a day there. I don’t like giving up. Bike mishaps happen every day and are oh so fixable but this one was out of my control. Big lessons learned however – always carry spare hangers.

Emma went on to get the top 15 place we were both chasing. Go on Emmahuh!!

Race over and once packed we were on our way back to Barcelona where I would be leaving Emma who was staying there with friends for a night whilst I went back to the airport. We hopped onto our train in Altafulla and it was packed. I reminded myself to keep my phone in my hand as with a bag on my back and bike box in front of me, I wouldn’t be so sure that anything from my bag wouldn’t be stolen.

One hour passed on the train and our stop was coming up so I placed my phone in my bag. I strapped my bag and had it under my arm pit until the beeps to tell us the doors were about to open. I then doubled strapped it, grabbed the bike box and exited the train. I checked my bag and the phone was gone. Someone had stolen my phone. Now what?

I was leaving Emma and had no phone, no Spanish and no memory of Rich’s phone number to ring him and let him know the story. We went our separate ways. Emma messaged Rich and he eventually got word to the taxi driver collecting me that I needed a meet and greet at the airport. This was all beknownst to me. I arrived safely in the UK but there was no taxi driver to be seen. After some tears a very kind lady taxi driver who allowed me to use her phone to ring my mother. The taxi driver finally showed up and I was on route back to Loughborough. Just after midnight I arrived home a little worse for wear. All in a day’s work… who knew it could be so exciting.

Lessons learnt for next time

Not the trip I was after but these things happen. I learned more than you could even imagine. I dealt with the world of emotions. I laughed. I cried. It was all going on.

Carroll on Ribble smaller

In light of it all, my poor Aero 883 had an emotional time also. It clearly came across some very rough luggage handlers at the airport. My bike box did extremely well to protect the frame as a whole and not allow the rough handlers to damage the frame itself. The bit that broke off is designed to do exactly that and with only costing a few pounds to fix I am very glad my Polaris bike box did its job and protected the frame which is slightly more expensive than a few pounds to replace!

Good equipment makes a huge difference and that is as simple as it gets really. Spend the dollar on good protective equipment and reap the benefits upon meeting a rough airport handler.

I am off to Sweden this week for another European Cup triathlon this weekend. Let’s hope the luck of the Irish stays with me this time round! Stay safe, stay happy and most importantly, stay healthy.

Happy pedalling!
Ailbhe (Alva…just in case it’s slipped your mind!)  🙂

LPAero883Large
The innovative and versatile Ribble Aero 883.