One of the best things about London is the sheer number of events that are available and open to the public. Sports events in particular have been on the rise, since the London 2012 Olympics which resulted in both (i) amazing, new sporting arenas and infrastructure and (ii) a huge increase in public awareness of lesser known sports (ones which do not have huge sums of advertising and sponsorship money behind them).
Great Britain performed exceedingly well in the 2012 Olympics which brought a lot of positive attention and support to the sport, me included. I was therefore super excited when I heard that the world championships were coming to London in 2016 and bought tickets to attend the event which was to place in the Lee Valley Velodrome, in East London. I love the look of the velodrome. 🙂
So this event actually happened last weekend. We got tickets for the morning session on the final day of the championships (it was a 4 day event in total). This meant that we didn’t manage to see the finals, but did catch a good number of the semi-final events. Fear not, I’m not going to give you a race by race account of what happened, but just wanted to show you a bit of what the venue looks like and to try to transmit a wee bit of the atmosphere on the day (which was brilliant, especially when a GB-athlete was competing).
We arrived about 30 minutes before the event was due to start and therefore managed to see some of the athletes warming up. Spectators can get really close to the track. In fact, if you wanted to, you can actually reach your hand out and push an athlete off their bike if you were so inclined! I was pretty surprised at that, but loved that up close and personal aspect of it. Seeing the track in person, with its extremely steep gradients at certain points just added to how impressive these cyclists are to me.
The layout is pretty standard. You get an oval-ish track, with spectators seated all around it. The teams and cyclists hang out, warm up, change bikes etc in the centre of the track, which is pretty awesome as you get to see what all the teams are up to, how things are set up and what athletes immediately after an event.
It wasn’t long before the first event of the day started, the omnium time trial. Laura Trott, one of the darlings of UK track cycling was competing in this event, so the crowds just went wild when she appeared (she ended up winning!).
Shortly after the women’s omnium came the men’s Keirin. This is my favourite track cycling event as it combines strategy, speed, endurance…and an elderly gentleman on a motorcycle. What’s not to like?
There was actually a Malaysian competing in this event, so I was obviously cheering for him (he ended up getting 3rd place overall, woot woot!).
There were a bunch of other events, but I won’t go into them here. I just wanted to write this short and sweet post to give you a bit of a different flavour to what I normally tend to write on the blog. I hadn’t done a London post in a while and this was a good one to do. Hope you enjoyed it!