As promised, here's a short report of my newest time-sink, a day on a cycling track. As I see, Cait, who did the same session as me on the day (i.e. track accreditation followed by a track training session) has beaten me to it already on her blog, and you can read there what we did, so I'll just give a few of my own impressions here.
The sundrive track is nothing near as scary as a "real" indoor track (so I was told), as it only has very shallow banking.
Riding a bike without freehub, gears and brakes does take a bit of getting used to. There was a few times where I almost got caught out, e.g. when I wanted to shift my position on the (quite uncomfortable) saddle, which I would usually do in freewheeling mode, but your bike reminds you very quickly that you have to keep pedaling.
I thought it would be difficult to keep pedaling after a full out sprint, because whenever I do it on my roadbike I do not have the power to turn the pedal any more after the effort and usually freewheel until I've recovered. On a track bike the pedals move your legs after a full-out sprint.
I know I am very much spoilt with the bikes I ride (blog post on my new S-Works Carbon Epic coming as soon as it's customized and fully built up), but I think the track people keep such - how can I say this diplomatically - low-end well-used starter rental bikes to entice you to buy your own bike as soon as possible. I won't go into details, but I almost spent more time off the track getting my bike fixed than riding it!
This leads me to another point. From the start Ireland is at a disadvantage when it comes to developing track cycling as a sport due to the lack of facilities and resources (Ireland doesn't have an indoor track and only a couple of basic outdoor ones).... On the other hand, there's plenty of mountain biking opportunities and you can practically ride all year round. And with plenty of people doing it already, I bet there's some track talent lurking on the dirt roads!
Anyhow, after the session I was intrigued and looked up track records and made some calculations of how many seconds I could shave off merely with the right equipment, i.e. using a skinsuit, a pointy helmet, shoe covers, an aero bike with aero wheels and good tires....