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|The Giordana Velodrome in Rock Hill, SC, under the lights.|
This past Tuesday I was double lucky; it didn't rain that evening at the velodrome and I was able to get away from work a little early to drive to Rock Hill in time to ride.
On Tuesday evenings, at the Giordana Velodrome, they have a "Two Hour Challenge." The challenge is to see how many laps you are able to ride in two hours. The competition is for the most laps ridden for the whole month. The riders are divided into different age brackets. Timing is done by transponders (chips) attached to the forks of each rider's bicycle. Each lap is recorded for each rider as they cross the finish line. The two hours are from six PM through eight PM.
I was pedaling around in the infield of the track when the timing began. My expectation was that there would be some type of official start. Riders were riding around and the timing had already begun. Pacelines were forming as riders began picking up speed and drafting off of each other. I quickly entered the track. A young rider that appeared to know what he was doing passed by. I latched onto his wheel and sat in his draft. I noticed that the pacelines were riding above us and going on by as they came upon us. I determined which paceline was the fastest and jumped on the back of it. We were zooming around the track. It was a lot of fun.
Around 6:30, as the angles of the sun changed, shadows of the riders began to grow longer and it was hard to tell where they were coming from as we rode around the banking of the track. There was music playing and the whole atmosphere reminded me of the fair ride "The Himalaya."
Eating and drinking are not allowed while riding on the track. After about an hour of hard riding I had to ride down to the infield where my supplies were. I quickly downed a twenty four once water bottle of energy drink mix. Then I ate a package of energy chews and chased it down with about ten ounces of energy drink.
The biggest problem I had while leaning low over my bike and riding as hard as I could, was that my hands kept going numb. So while I was in the infield eating and drinking I also tried a change of gloves. No luck, same problem continued. Numb Hands.
The last seven minutes of the two hours were the longest. I kept watching the clock as we made lap after lap around the velodrome. Finally our two hours was up. I pulled off of the track and went over to return my timing chip. After I gathered my things together and was about to leave, I asked Ashley (the time keeper) how many laps had I ridden. She told me 305 laps. I felt everyone of them.
During the hour and a half drive home I drank at least five and maybe six bottles of water. I was already planning my next trip to the Giordana Velodrome and the "Two Hour Challenge."