I went to the velodrome on Thursday. It is now Saturday and I have finally just about calmed down (though this morning's rowing didn't do my heartrate OR my tear ducts any favours - Joy! Joy! No Joy! Poor poor Purchase and Hunter) so I'll try to tell you what it was like.
Firstly, it was unbelievably warm. I know they tell you this on the TV, but when you're actually in there it seriously gets a bit much. I went for the test event, but I was there on the night they messed up the climate control and let it get a bit cold, so I wasn't quite ready for this.
Secondly, the velodrome (along with every other venue) has a sort of venue TV host (at Wimbledon it's Gethin Jones, which seems a bit of a come-down for him, although I realise Blue Peter and a Strictly stint isn't exactly rock and roll) who is there to keep events moving and fill in the gaps. I am totally behind the concept of this, but the problem is that I am not very good at being exhorted. If a venue puts the word "Applause" up on a big screen, my immediate reaction is to fold my arms grumpily. There is nothing I hate more than being told to make some noise. It turns out, though, that I am very, very amused by a slow motion Mexican wave.
Thirdly, there were a stackload of worthies in. Major and minor royals, plus current and former Prime Ministers. The extreme-o-zoom on my camera got a massive workout.
Fourthly, the acoustics were once again extremely poor. When the British women's sprint team result was being investigated, all we heard was a low-key mutter from the PA. This strikes me as something that would be pretty easy to resolve. They were trying to keep us informed (not always top of sports venues' priority list, I can tell you from the experience of being a) at the Oval when Pakistan refused to come out after tea and b) the Queens' club final fiasco this year) but the echoey acoustic ensured we remained baffled for a long, long time.
Fifthly, and most importantly, it is AMAZING IN THE VELODROME. The atmosphere left every other sporting experience ever in the dust, even the GB gold medal-winning at Eton Dorney. The men's team pursuit were astonishing and their World Record got the place back on its feet after the relegation in the women's spring. And then the men's team sprint... Well, all I can say about that is that I yelled so loudly to cheer them on and then with joy at the finish that I literally nearly passed out. Fortunately for Why Miss Jones (who is at least as Olympics-obsessed as me, and to whom I owe a massive debt of thanks for the fact that I have any tickets at all), I just about managed to keep it together, but frankly it would have been worth it. An incredible, incredible afternoon.
Stadium tonight. Ennis. Mo. When I have more time, I'll tell you why the combination of the movie Scream and an interview with Seb Coe make me super-nervous for Mo. I bet you can't wait.
Bonus occurrence: this one is actually from Wednesday. While the German Men's eight were getting their medals, the German women's quad sculls were on their victory lap. The anthem started playing, so they all stood up in their boat. It was excellent.
Bonus photos: I have tons of photos of delicious cyclists, but I'll save them for another time. Instead, here's one of a man I don't know who has the best beard ever, and one of some pensive princes prior to the sprint final.