Last weekend we flew to Toulouse for the Metfat, it was a mini velodrome race being put on by Met Helmets. Met have been getting more involved in the fixed gear scene, Juliet Elliott is one of their sponsored riders, the support a number of fixed gear crews and riders such as the guys from The 5th Floor, it great to see brands supporting the scene, especially when it keeps our heads safe!
With our bikes all packed we headed off to the airport to fly to Toulouse, we then hopped on a bus and train towards the quaint little town l’isle Jourdain. It’s a really quiet little town that has a rad market where you can get the best cheese and sausage and even has its own abandoned velodrome that you can ride (I’m not sure if your meant to but the gate was open). The minidrome or ‘The Ring’ as it was called is a permanent feature of Veloscope in L’isle Jourdain. It’s a cool bike museum that has some awesome memorabilia, the was a nice fixed gear exhibition on there when we were there and I’ve never seen so many Look Track bikes in one place!
The Ring is slightly bigger than the Red Bull Minidrome, the corners are similar and the technique is the same. The main difference here being you can go a lot faster on The Ring than you can at the Minidrome due to its increased size. I must admit I did prefer the larger size, though it was more intimidating as you knew that you could literally go as fast as you had the balls to go.
Naturally with the increased speed there was an increase in crashes! The paramedics were on standby but luckily were never needed, I have to say I have now seem the fattest paramedic ever! This could be why people were quick to their feet after a crash…no one wanted to be seen by the fat sweaty dude! The event was really well organised, though some of the crashes could have been avoided if the ended the race when one of the riders caught up rather than letting the race go on for the full 10 laps.
We all got a few laps to warm up, though due to the amount of nice wine I had drank the previous night I just seemed to make myself feel sick. I was told that the fastest riders managed to do it in 20 seconds, and when I looked up at the clock I had somehow managed to get a sub 21 second time. Qualifiers were held over 5 laps and I placed in 4th against some stiff competition, so I had made it through to the next round.
In the quarter finals you would be racing someone else that qualified over 10 laps, it seems simple enough but it was really hard work keeping focused and on the red line for the race, I had a few sketchy moments and after a very close race I won and went through to the next round. For the semi finals I had to race some fearless young lad was incredibly fast, I was giving it my all but I ended up taking one of the corners a bit wrong and getting sent off in a really weird direction off the track and kind of towards the next corner…hard to explain but it was well sketchy and a big skid and some evasive manoeuvres kept me from getting sent flying off the track at full pelt. Unfortunately the tyre then exploded and I was out of the competition.
It was a really fun event there was a good crowd and atmosphere, the location was nice, it was super sunny and hot! Congratulations to The winners Juliet Elliott and Thomas Dalbigot! Juliet smashed it, it was great to see some girls racing and them having their own category hopefully we will see more women’s categories in these types of events in the future. Massive thanks and congratulations to everyone from Met Helmets for inviting me along to this, it was great fun. I am really looking forward to a summer of riding and racing.
Check out the video of the event!