A brilliant day at the London Velodrome

Move over the corporate golf day… I was lucky enough to be one of the first people to ride at the London Velodrome before it opened to the public this month at an incredible corporate day with Microsoft. I’d definitely recommend it as a superb event for anyone looking to bring customers and employees together for team building and competition!

First thoughts on the venue were that it’s as impressive from the inside as outside.

Initial view of Velodrome

We were greeted with high quality branded cycle tops and a lovely breakfast which we enjoyed as we were briefed about the event by the organisers.

It was then down to the centre of the track where there was plenty to keep us busy while we waited for our turn, with exhibitions and activities including a Watt Bike Challenge, Kayak Challenge, free massage, a smoothie making bike and some stands from MIcrosoft’s technology partners.

Some massage pleaseMaking my smoothy

Once on our bikes we had a couple of laps to get used to the cycling with fixed wheel and no brakes (being told that if you stop pedaling you’ll fall off certainly focuses the mind) before it was time to get some speed up and move up onto the banking of the track.

I think my face here says it all as I waited to push off from the wall. I was really scared, but as the only woman with 49 men felt the need to be especially brave!

Anxious moments

Pleased to say that the excellent coaches did a brilliant job of helping us all maintain our power round the bends and even I managed to get up above the blue line on the banking after a few laps to build confidence.

Gaining speedAnd faster

It was then time for our time trial. First over one lap over 250 metres and then in pairs after lunch with each person completing 500 metres from a standing start.

Five, four, three, two, one...

I was lucky enough to be teamed with Loughborough Alumni friend Tim Cozze-Young, who had kindly invited me to take part in the event.

Team Loughborough AlumniThe big challenge

We didn’t win (!) but it was great fun to be cycling at speed in the Velodrome.

Lunchtime saw the arrival on the track of the ridiculously talented Jason Kenny.

Jason Kenny shows how it's doneStar struck

First he warmed up before demonstrating how real cyclists tackle two laps of the track. His incredible speed was all the more impressive to watch having just tried it ourselves.

Audience ask questionsQ and A

He then came down the centre of the track for a Q&A, before spending the rest of the afternoon with us, relaxed and chatting. What a completely lovely young man!

We all received signed photos

The final session of the afternoon was an ‘Australian Pursuit’. We were all a bit tired from the intensity of the time trials (and the adrenaline of worrying about falling over on the banking) and frankly I would have been happy to give this a miss… but I am so pleased I didn’t as it was possibly the best part of the day.

Six of you (or in my race four) all set off at the same time at equal distances from each other and if you catch the person in front they drop out – the winner being ‘the last man standing’. Well, what a ridiculously tough event. After a very, very painful 9 laps I was so relieved when they said we should stop. Just two of us were left and as I was catching the gentleman ahead of me I was declared the winner.  Happy girl.

Hurrah!

All in all a tremendous day.

Massive thanks to Microsoft for the opportunity to take part and please get in touch if you’d like more information about organising your own corporate day at the Velodrome.

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