She flies through the air …
We had a family outing with a difference today when we headed for the National Cycling Centre (also known as Manchester Velodrome) for big daughter’s World Challenge sponsored abseil. As part of her fundraising for her trip to Peru, she signed up to abseil from the roof of the Velodrome – only 130ft! – and after a few weeks of anticipation, today was the day.
It was a bit of a dim and dismal morning, but luckily she was going to be inside so it didn’t matter too much what the weather did. We’ve never been to the Velodrome before. It’s in an area of Manchester called Sportcity and it’s fantastic that the national team trains here as it’s made a huge difference to the regeneration of the area.
We made our way inside and discovered that we couldn’t miss the signs to the abseil … J
If big daughter was nervous, she was hiding it very well! We met up with the rest of the team who were abseiling at the same time and they went through a safety briefing and strapped themselves into their harnesses and helmets.
Then they were off, climbing up and up on a walkway underneath the roof to reach the platform where they were to abseil from.
I found this picture of the Velodrome on the internet and have circled the platform – you can see that they’re very high indeed! If you look closely, you can even seen someone abseiling down, although this picture was taken on a different day.
And oblivious to all of the activity in the centre of the track were the cyclists, racing past us for lap after lap. Their tyres were so quiet and they moved so quickly on the wooden boards – I think they were only training today but I can imagine that watching a real race here would be very exciting.
This is big daughter as she stepped over the edge and into thin air. She’s the one on the right. It’s not the best photo as the lights were very bright and I’ve done what I can to make it visible, but you get the general idea!
She was brilliant! She got the hang of feeding the rope through her hands very quickly and her abseil was all over in less than five minutes. She was very glad to get her feet on the floor again – but wanted to go up and have another go almost immediately! I’m so pleased, and I’m bursting with pride too. Now that she’s achieved this, I know that she’ll achieve anything she sets her mind to.
Small daughter was very pleased to have her sister back down on the ground too. I think she must have been more worried about her being up in the roof than she admitted to, because she stuck to big daughter’s side like glue for the rest of the time we were there.
Excitement over for the morning, big daughter realised that she was ravenously hungry (having felt sick for most of the previous couple of hours!) so we headed to her favourite eating place for some lunch.
I’ve had lots of proud moments over the years with big daughter – from learning to walk to her first day at school, learning to ride a bike without stabilisers to passing her piano exams – and I know that I’m going to have many more. This one, though, felt like a bit of a milestone. The abseil was all big daughter’s choice and although I know that there were moments of super-scariness for her today, she still got on with it and did it. It’s an important lesson for life, and I’d say she’s got this one in the bag.