Velodiva and I participated in a 3-day Kenny Williams Spring Track Camp this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Hellyer Velodrome in South San Jose, CA.
Kenny Williams is a track coach from the Seattle area. In 1999, he won the U.S. Elite Criterium Championship and by 2004 was placing 3rd in the Elite TT championships. He won 14 master world championships and 35 master National championship and several Top 3 and 2 other elite National championships on the Track since 2000. Kenny and a couple of other clients flew in from the Northwest to join us and many track racers from the NorCal area. We heard good reports about his camp last year and were looking forward to the clinic.
First a little bit about riding at the track. Hellyer is 335 meters and shaped like an oblong bowl. The banking is 23 degrees maximum in the turns and the surface is concrete. There is a concrete infield for staging events and a warm-up / cool down circle for very easy riding. At the start of sessions, there is a programmed warm-up and then there are drills / practice races called “efforts”. All warm-ups and efforts are controlled by a supervisor who is responsible for riders’ safety and administration of the rules of the track.
We had a diverse group of participants in both age and ability. The participants...Kenny is on the far left. Also, not everyone participated in all three days. So we were missing about 3 people.
Day 1 was about proper warm-up and endurance events. Kenny started out by having everyone gear to 81 gear inches (48/16). His point is that a warm-up is not an effort and should be smooth and mellow. We started out at 15 mph and worked our way up to 28 mph on the last couple of laps. For all other efforts, we changed to 86 gear inches. Some guys wanted to use a larger gear but Kenny wanted to focus on technique versus speed. We proceeded to do some standing starts (person holds the bike in place). Starts are quite technical and require proper technique and smooth power transfer. We did a couple in 81 gear inches and then he had us gear up to 86. We then increased the distance and he timed our starts. We did some two lap (670 meter) pursuit style efforts to get the idea of doing a 2K pursuit. After we completed the laps, Velodiva and another woman wanted to do a real 2K pursuit against each other. Velodiva won by 20 seconds. All of this took a lot of time and we started at 9:30 AM and finished at 5 PM. It was a great day.
Velodiva during the 2K pursuit race.
Day 2 was about sprinting. After the warm-up, we proceeded to flying 200 meters. The flying 200 meters is done with a one lap windup around the track at the rail. At the right place on the back stretch, one dives down to the pole lane crossing the starting line at max speed sprinting for 200 meters until the finish line. This time is then used to pair up sprinters and in real races establish the field. If you are not fast enough in the flying 200 meters you do not make the cut and will not race (there are a set number of slots in a race). In general in the 50+ categories, there are so few racers that show up, everyone makes the cut independent of time. Based on our 200 meter times, we were paired and we did some drills. This was followed by two, three person matched sprints. This is where you start rolling slowly around the track for two laps and then sprint to the finish. Both Velodiva and I thought these were a blast.
Hanging out in the infield waiting our turn.
Once in a while, we got to ride around the track and chat. Hermes and a buddy cruising the track.
Day 3 was about mass start races. We did some drills where we went out as threesomes with one party as the rabbit. The second person sets up the third rider (immediately behind the second) to catch and pass the leader on the turn going into the home stretch. Later, we divided into two groups and rolled around the track. At the whistle, the last rider from each group would sprint to the front of the other team. We did this until each person performed 3 efforts. We then did two 15 lap points races. In the points race, we all race together and you sprint every five laps for points: 5 –1st, 3 -2nd and 1 -3rd. After getting to know each other and working out together for 3 days, we all felt comfortable racing together. These were a lot of fun and great experience.
Kenny and the supervisors did a great job – no crashes and not even a hint of an incident. We learned a lot of new things, got some great advice on technique and met new people and advanced relationships.