Tandem racing at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome during Glasgow 2014.
I have been so excited as tandem racing has been one of the big events on the opening day of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games! I could hardly contain myself as the “old git” switched on the television and there were some sleek-lined tandems racing each other round the track at a place called the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. And what a smart place it looks with nice smooth wooden boards to race around, and a huge crowd cheering them on.
I tell you I was more than a little jealous watching those tandems whizz round the track with ultra fit pilots and stokers, clad in saltire lyrca, pedalling as if their lives depended on it. Amazingly they clocked speeds of 60 km/hr.
Mind you that kind of speed would make an “old lady” like me a bit dizzy – but it didn’t stop me pumping my horn in support as the Scots team of partially sighted Aileen McGlynn and her pilot Louise Haston progressed to the final of the Women’s Para-Sport Sprint B Tandem with some thrilling rides.
They fair hammered the Australian’s in the semi finals to reach the final where they had an auld enemy showdown with England’s Sophie Thornhill and Helen Scott.
Team Scotland in action in the Para-Sport Sprint B Tandem event.
The Scots duo did brilliantly well in front of an enthusiastic home crowd, and lost the first heat of the final by the skin of a front tyre. They came close in the second heat too, but it just wasn’t enough. However that gutsy performance earned Team Scotland silver medals – which were the first medals for Scotland at Glasgow 2014.
Aileen McGlynn waves to the home crowd after winning silver at Glasgow 2014.
Many, many congratulations to Aileen – a Paralympic legend who hails from Paisley. I was dead chuffed and my saltire flag (specially purchased for the trip to France) was fair fluttering during the final!
The “old git” listened intensely to the commentary and heard Sir Chris Hoy saying that he had tried tandeming years ago but couldn’t cope with being on the back. He said: “It was terrifying being on the back when I am used to being in control.”
He also said that the stoker “has to put all their trust” in the pilot – something which the “old git” took great delight in pointing out to the “old gal” when they watched the highlights later.
The “old git” was even joking about entering the three of us for the next Commonwealth Games in 2018 in Queensland, Australia. The “old gal” humoured him – as she always does – and said maybe – but only if she can persuade Chris Hoy to come out of retirement!
The “old git” was a bit miffed at this, but got his own back when he remembered that the commentator had said it was all about “synchronicity” when riding a tandem – and told the “old gal” that this was going to be the new buzzword for this weekend’s training run. He said it would make a change from shouting “pedal”!
To which the “old gal” responded: “And I thought ‘Synchronicity‘ was an album by The Police!”
I tell you – the steam was coming out the “old git’s” ears! I was stifling my laughter, but then I thought that it was quite appropriate as I could have “Everything She Does is Magic” as my theme tune!
And then I thought that for the “old gal” it is all about “Every Breath You Take” as the “old git” has been dubbed “King of Pain.”!
Oh and obviously for the hills – there really is only one option: “The Only Way is Up“!
ADDED INFO: Congratulations also to Neil Fachie and his pilot Craig MacLean who won gold the next day in the Men’s Para-Sport 1000m Time Trial Sprint B Tandem event at Glasgow 2014.
Neil Fachie and Craig MacLean strike gold on their tandem.
The roof almost came off the velodrome as they were last to go and easily beat their competitor’s times. Not surprisingly, the pair admitted to a few tears at the medal ceremony!
Another victory for Scottish synchronicity!