Graham Barnes, father of Emily (National Cross Champ U16) and David (podium cross champ U14), told me that they were both racing at a national ominiun at the Herne Hill Velodrome. So I decided to take a trip down to the track.
The aim was to work on my tan whilst enjoying the racing, so it was a pity it rained. Riders, no matter their size or age, still ride tactically and racing is racing, so it's good to watch.
We support Emily, David and Tao as our youth riders because it's riders like these that inspire us and, after all, they are the future of the sport. Omnium was introduced to the Olympic medals line up a few years ago and since then British Cycling has been organising races, especially for younger riders to find talent in preparation for future games.
The Herne Hill velodrome is something we've always supported as individuals and as Condor. It was where I did my first 'cross race and we've continued to hold 'cross races there. I popped down to see what the grassroots scene is like and support the Barnes' and cheer on Tao too. Being there is the best way to really understand what cycling means to younger riders and how you can benefit them most.
Rain stopped play between rounds and what was overwhelming was the enthusiasm everyone had. Many young riders of all ages were giving it a go and enjoying the track and being active. They couldn't wait to get out there.
I've never actually ridden on the track. I'm a bit frightened. But if children aged 6 to 16 can do it, I can.
Anyway, I'm off. I'll be going to Newport velodrome this Saturday for a beginner's starter session bike, coach and 2 hours for £27.
P.S. Emily & Tao won their Omnium meetings and kudos to David who can ride the rollers no handed. And both ride Condor Lavoro framesets.