horns of wilmington's cow

By anth

Ahead of the curve

Spent most of the day at the Track Cycling World Cup in the new Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome today, and quite a sparkly venue it is too. Okay, so it ain't got the glitz or the scale of the London 2012 Velodrome, but this modest wee stadium was perfectly up to the job. Even if the constant 'play-music-if-there's-any-break-in-action' got a bit wearing, and the people in charge of the big screens attempted Scots and failed (at the start of time trials a big "Wheesh'd" appeared on the screen, erm, should that not be "Wheest"? And as the derny pulled off in the Keirin the announcement was to "Give it laldy!", which I'm sure would work better if "Gie" was substituted for "Give").

This is Robert Foerstermann, a man with 36" thighs, putting even Sir Chris to shame, winning his semi-final sprint heat to set up an all-German final. Unfortunately for him his younger compatriot, Stefan Boetticher, got the better of him, winning the first two races in a best of three challenge.

We did get to see the diminutive Laura Trott win the Omnium in dramatic fashion, going down to the last 500m flying TT to leapfrog the Aussie who had been sitting first after the scratch race (then strangely Dougie Vipond, who was compering, interviewed Danny MacAskill on the big screen as Trott went round getting the applause of the crowd, the timing could have been better...).

The day spent there was by reason of having taken the (wrong) decision to rely on public transport. Okay, so there's no parking at the velodrome, so I'd toyed with the idea of parking in the nearby (bandit country) streets, or even in central Glasgow and shuttle bussing it there. I'd even considered riding the 50 miles there, and training it back (before realising there would be a constant headwind, and that the spare ticket I had, because Mel's laid low with a virus, would be better off used by one of my cycling friends). Instead I got the bus to Waverley, train to Glasgow, then shuttle bus - and reverse to repeat. Getting there took a grand total of 2 and a half hours (compared to an hour driving, or three hours cycling) due to a combination of Sunday bus timetables, delay to the train, and shuttle buses during the day operating at wider time gaps.

But that was nothing compared to coming back. The shuttles were well-organised, but it was still about 45 minutes before we were back at Queen Street station, where it was announced trains were running late due to a tree on fire near the track at Haymarket... The 5.30 had hordes lining the platform, and Phil who I was there with is in a post-achilles rupture big boot thing, so we figured we'd get on the 6pm train, which in turn was delayed, finally rolling out at 6.27pm. Just before it left there was an announcement that due to the late running the train would be terminating at Linlithgow... Erm.... What?!?! Yep, we had to get off, wait 5-10 minutes, then get on the next, busy, train from Glasgow to Edinburgh. Ten minute wait for the bus once in Edinburgh saw a grand total travel time of around 3 hours 15 minutes...

An hour by car. And if cycling (which granted I wouldn't have done to come back in the dark on the bike, but the theory holds), especially with a light tailwind all the way, would actually have been quicker.

And people wonder why I hate public transport...

Velo Pano
Boetticher pounces
Foerstermann thighs
Corner lean

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