Eimear and Orla’s trip to Alkmaar (Holland)
On Friday the 14th of November we left the house at 4:50 am to drive to Dublin Airport to take part in a Track Training camp in Alkmaar, Holland with Orla Hendron and Gen Sheridan. We met all the Girls in the airport, checked in, said goodbye to Mam and Dad and we were off. We landed in Amsterdam at 1:15pm and as we were coming out of baggage claim in the airport there were hundreds of people waiting for Ariana Grande to come out. Unfortunately we were late for our bus so could not stay long enough to see her. We headed to the Hotel, booked in and had dinner.
We were then off to the Track in Alkmaar. We took the public bus which unlike Irish buses, never arrived a second late. We arrived at the track an hour early to fit the bikes with Gen and Orla. We also got to watch some of the more experienced Dutch riders on the track. We were all quite intimidated by how steep the track was at certain points and some of us were tempted to run.
We met our coach for the weekend Herman Schenh. He explained to us how fast we had to go around the corners in order not to fall which was a bit daunting but he wasn’t long getting us out on the track with everyone else. We did a 2 hour session and got to know the basics of riding on an indoor track. At first it felt like you were going to fall off going around the corners but by the end of the session it felt normal. We were all exhausted by the end of the session. We got the public bus back to the hotel, had supper and off to bed.
After breakfast on Saturday morning we went straight to the Velodrome. As our bikes were still set up from the day before we got on the track straight away for a 3 hour session. We did some Madison racing, starting from the machine and sprints. We were all beginning to get comfortable on the track now. We had lunch in the canteen in the Velodrome. We went back to the hotel and went on a guided tour of Alkmaar. We got to see all the pretty streets lit up for Christmas . We went to Jumbos supermarket to pick up a few bits and headed back to the hotel for dinner.
On Sunday morning we had breakfast and headed to the Velodrome for the last time. Herman had some chocolate for everyone and then we played a game of Olympic handball as a warm up. We got on the track and did a few races. We did a 75m TT from the starting machine, a 250m TT, a scratch race and a pursuit race. After that we were all lined up against the railing to start the points race, we took off and as we hit the first corner everyone came down besides Eimear and Aisling from Cork. It was very scary but good craic. I was not able to race again but I got back on the bike and did a few laps. We said goodbye to Herman and thanked him for his coaching over the weekend.
We got a private bus to Amsterdam Velodrome to pick up the people that were racing. They had all done really well. We then went to the airport and Frank checked all 21 of us in for the journey home. We got some food in the airport and ran to security as we were a tad late. When we got out of baggage claim in Dublin and saw our parents none of us wanted to leave as we were all like a little family now. We said our goodbyes and began the trip to back Westport. Thanks to Gen and Orla for bringing us to Holland and looking after us so well and we hope it won’t be the last time. Thanks also to Tony and the Westport Covey Wheelers.
[Report Orla Harrison]