Halloween in Alkmaar….Part 1

Velodromes, Scary faces and Hema shopping were the order of the day in Holland.

Halloween weekend saw the Women’s commission volunteers host the 4th instalment of the track camp to Alkmaar Holland.   Thanks to the continued sponsorship from Paul Atkinson along with  support from the Provinces, the Track Commission and the Youth Academy this camp is now a well-established event in the Women’s Commission Calendar for the girls.

Ready for off at Dublin Airport

Friday, October 30th, an excited and perhaps a little apprehensive bunch of girls from the four provinces gathered in Dublin Airport.  For some this would be their first visit to an indoor velodrome and for others it was an opportunity to gain more experience and learn and improve on their skills under the expert guidance of the now famous Herman Schenk.

Dutch Junior Team on the track on Friday

The first session with Herman was planned for Friday evening from 7pm to 9pm. After landing in Amsterdam, the group went to the Hotel Strad Land in Alkmaar for dinner with a quick stop along the way at the Velodrome to drop off the bikes for those who brought their own. Here, we got a glimpse of the Dutch Elite junior Squad in training as the Dutch squad are is now based in Alkmaar.

Warmup with Mary Hunter

We arrived in at the Velodrome in good time for our evening session with Herman, so Mary Hunter took the girls through a few dynamic warm up moves to get them nicely geared up for the session ahead.  The two hour session flew by and in no time at all using Orla and Naoise as expert riders to keep the girls at the correct pace, Herman had the girls riding up and down the 43% banked Velodrome.  Before the session was finished we did some Flying 250 times to give everyone a benchmark for their progression over the weekend.   Then it was back to the hotel for some well-deserved supper and off to bed for another busy day on Saturday.

Friday training

Saturday was a lovely crisp autumn morning and everyone was excited to get back to the Velodrome.  On the short bus trip from the Hotel to the Velodrome, we passed a hive of activity where there were around 10 astro-turf hockey pitches all occupied by girls. The sport facilities in this area are amazing, in addition to the Velodrome and hockey pitches there’s a skate park and a mountain bike skills course. On the Sunday this seemed to be the meeting point for huge numbers of mountain bikers heading out for their Sunday ride.

Mountain Bike Meeting Point

The girls wasted no time at all and once they were reunited with their bikes they were up on the board’s again whizzing round and round.   Herman, based on what he had seen the night before, put the girls into groups of four or five and we worked as team pursuit teams riding up and over changing every half lap. This was the core element of the session, we all got a great workout and lots of practice riding close to each other and manoeuvring up the banking on the track. When Herman pulled out the Derny for some Keirin racing, everyone was able to participate in a number of safe and exciting races before the session was over.  To finish, Herman timed us again over the 250 lap giving us the opportunity to improve our technique and time from the day before.

The Group showing off the banking!

Lunch was provided for us in the Velodrome before we headed down  for an afternoon of costume hunting and shopping in the now must see Hema shop.


Stay tuned for more…..soon!