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  1. #1
    Senior Member zimbo's Avatar
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    Oval Speedway tactics question...

    So the first couple of races this year in my immediate area are on a 1/4 mile oval speedway. I haven't ever been there but I'm guessing from the photos that there will be no "corners" to speak of that would require coasting or braking. So it's basically going to be like a totally flat 40-minute road race.

    I guess the only thing that makes it interesting (i.e. not come down to a field sprint) is that because the oval is only 0.25 miles long a concerted breakaway could easily lap the field. Thus, unlike a typical road race on flat ground there's greater motivation to break away and less motivation to let one get away.

    Since it's early in a long season--and since I presumably still need 7 more starts as a Cat5--I'm treating these races as training opportunities rather than win-at-all-costs events. Priority One is to avoid crashing out Snuffleupagus Regardless of the fact that winning is a low priority, I'd like to hear from some of you regarding tactics. Suppose, for example, that the field is going 24 mph. By my calculations if I can sustain 28mph for a mere 4 minutes that's enough time to lap the field (assuming the field keeps going 24 mph when I make the jump).

    Which raises the question... how do race officials handle the case where a breakaway laps the field? Does the bell lap mean the field still has two laps to go? Dumb question, I know.

    Also, it really brings home to me the importance of keeping mental note where everyone is. In a road race it seems like it would be easier to keep track in your mind (hey, there's a group in front of me) whereas in a speedway race you potentially have to keep track of people behind you and in front of you. Mix in 50-60 racers and it could get weird, I suppose.

    Thoughts?

    --Steve

  2. #2
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    The races up at Ace Speedway this last year were pretty jumpy. That said, sometimes they'll let guys away from the field...usually a guy will get a hundred or two hundred meters, and the field will chase. I did 5, maybe 6 races up at Ace, and every single 3/4 race ended in a field sprint.

    Crashing bad (as anyone who remembers my ER pictures from earlier in the year can attest).

  3. #3
    Senior Member zimbo's Avatar
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    Do you happen to have any data for those Ace events last year? (Average speed--which I know doesn't tell the whole story--finishing speed, how well you did, etc.)

    I might just go balls-to-the-wall from the start and hammer until I puke. After all, it doesn't really matter how well I finish. If I can put the hurt to a few people along the way it will bring me some satisfaction.

    --Steve

  4. #4
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zimbo
    Do you happen to have any data for those Ace events last year? (Average speed--which I know doesn't tell the whole story--finishing speed, how well you did, etc.)

    I might just go balls-to-the-wall from the start and hammer until I puke. After all, it doesn't really matter how well I finish. If I can put the hurt to a few people along the way it will bring me some satisfaction.

    --Steve
    I rode most of this last year sans computer. The few times I was running a computer up at Ace I recall the field averaging 28-30 during the fast races, and as low as 24-25 during the slower races. Teams would usually try to work lead out trains the last few laps, so if nothing is away by 10 laps to go, nothing is going to get away. Sometimes the sprints are hotly contested, sometimes not so (e.g. I walked away with a prime almost uncontested twice in one race...). Other times I just sat in and finished mid-pack during the sprints.

  5. #5
    wavylines
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    Man, you're making me nostalgic. I started racing at ACE in '04, but left the area last summer. This race will probably be similar, same racers similar course.

    My tips:

    Cs (aka cat5): breaks never make it, or at least, none came close in my 4 races as a cat5 or in any of my friends' that I watched. If you hammer from the start, they'll catch you. The draft on a flat race is just too powerful, and cat5ers are so jumpy they chase down everything. The race is really decided in the last 5 laps. Laps 5-1, you gotta be upfront and out of the wind as best as possible. Bell lap, you'll learn whether you're better off going early or chasing down the other guy who went early. Basically, flat oval cat 5 races are a sprinter's ballgame (which was good for me ). Your placing will probably depend not only on the strength of your finish but also on how smartly you chose a wheel before it. The big caveat to all this, though, is that you're also there to learn. So if you want to feel how a break works, heck, go for it. Oh, and keep everything upright!

    Bs (cat 3/4): breaks have a shot of making it with team support (happened 3 out of my 3 ACE races in '05, but 0 out of 2 in '06). The trick is the teams: if there's anyone big enough and well organized enough to support a break (Franklin Street, de Oro, others?), then it might go. Without that, then probably not. IF a break is going to go, it will probably take off between minute 10 and 30, more or less. Before that, everyone's still getting warmed up, after it, it's too close to the finish and people are more willing to chase. For the finish, you need to be thinking of your pack position a little earlier than in the Cs, with at least 10 laps to go, as things get organized earlier and the pace is higher, making it harder to move around. Breaks can be good for TTers (I've seen a strong 3 make it), but otherwise ... it's again a sprinter's paradise.

    If you're not a sprinter, well, you never know. A strong 1-2 lap kick at the end might be what you need. You might not win, but you might pull away from everyone but a few sprinters who will jump you at the line, leaving you somewhere in the top 5. Or use the teamwork angle. Get some guys who will control the pack behind you as you try and get away with some other dudes. Or, if you're on a team that doesn't want the break to succeed, then you'll be an asset to them in pulling the break back. In that case, you probably won't win, but you might be responsible for one of your teammates winning.

    Snuffle: what team do you race for? We were probably out there together at some point. I raced for Duke.

    Here's a writeup of my last race at ACE if you're curious: http://dukecycling.blogspot.com/2006...e-venture.html

  6. #6
    Aut Vincere Aut Mori Snuffleupagus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by curveship
    Snuffle: what team do you race for? We were probably out there together at some point. I raced for Duke.
    I race for/with C4 (Cross Creek Cycling Club) out of Fayetteville.

  7. #7
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zimbo
    Regardless of the fact that winning is a low priority, I'd like to hear from some of you regarding tactics. Suppose, for example, that the field is going 24 mph. By my calculations if I can sustain 28mph for a mere 4 minutes that's enough time to lap the field (assuming the field keeps going 24 mph when I make the jump).--Steve
    This a huge, and almost certainly flawed assumption. One of 2 things will happen: 1) they'll immediately chase, 2) they'll let you dangle at 100 yards, and reel you in when your toast. If it's a Cat 5 race, No 1. is the most likely.

    If your Aunt had ***** she'd be you're uncle.

  8. #8
    starting pistol means war YMCA's Avatar
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    You are kidding me, a 400 meter track for bike races? Is there any banking? I mean, some velodromes are 333 meters for gosh sakes!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by YMCA
    You are kidding me, a 400 meter track for bike races? Is there any banking? I mean, some velodromes are 333 meters for gosh sakes!
    its at the wake county speedway I think. max bank of ~10 degrees. and honestly, it doesnt really sound like much fun. but to each his own.

  10. #10
    shut up and ride
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    some velodromes are 400 or 500 meters.

    it's up to the riders to make it a race. like the op mentioned the short course gives a good chance for the break to lap the field. the hard part as compared to say a half mile crit course is that you can't get out of sight which usually helps the break as the pack will often ease up when they don't know what they're chasing and some of the field at the back won't even realize that someones up the road. also with a big strung out field you don't even have to make it a full lap. if the pack strung out to 50 or more meters long the break will approach the back pretty quickly. a team mate of two in the field could help by slowing things up just a bit as the break appraches, or stretch the back of the field a little as long as they don't drop off the back to pace the riders up

  11. #11
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    An alternative and less negative team approach is to go to the front and ride hard. Dont worry so much about getting away, force a selection or two. Encourage other strong riders to join in. This is a typical approach in a higher cat points race for example (closest thing in my experience to what you describe).

  12. #12
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    Watch the A race. Watching them race helped me out a lot in my races at Ace.

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