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Old 07-19-10, 11:20 AM   #1
Hermes 
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Home Depot Center - LAV Trip

Saturday, my wife and I along with 6 other track racers from NorCal flew to Long Beach to get certified to race at the LA Velodrome located in Carson, CA. The trip was organized by our coach who attended the session. We were led by an LAV instructor / coach for the 2 hour private session.

One pic is worth a 1000 words. Here we are for a photo op at the end. This is an amazing facility and we definitely broke the fun barrier.



A couple of my racing buddies, who raced at LAV, warned me about the initial impression when you walk into the velodrome and not to look down the wall. Well, that is not possible and when I walked in and saw the steepness of the 47.5 degree banking and height of the wall 38 feet, I thought this is going to be amazing.



We had to get our rental bikes fitted, pedals installed, adjustments and etc, The rental bikes were Felt and geared at 86 gear inches.





We are all experienced track racers from Hellyer Velodrome in San Jose that is an outdoor cement track 335 meters with 23 degree banking. However, LAV is 250 meters, wooden surface with 47.5 degree banking so we needed to learn about how to ride this track. Andrew our instructor was giving instructions before we saddled up.



To keep from slipping down the track on the banking, one has to go approximately 18 mph. Andrew led us on the track and soon we were flying around the track and making our way to the top near the rail. I did not look down and focused on holding position. It was a piece of cake.

We then did some pace line team pursuit drills riding up the bank in turn one and going to the back of the pace line out of turn one to get used to the wooden 250 meter track. We then did a flying 200 meter. At LAV, one has to climb to the top of the track by traversing. It would use too much energy and the gear is too big to climb directly to the rail. So in the flying 200, you have two laps to climb to the top. Once at the top, you begin acceleration out of turn 2 and dive down the banking into turn one. The dive from the top of the rail into turn one was really fast. I hit the turn and I felt the g forces push me into my seat. It was so smooth and fast I am totally spoiled. We all passed and are invited back to race at LAV anytime.

Andrew showed us his pursuit bike with the Russian disc wheels - pretty cool.



My wife and I have plane tickets for this weekend and plan to race at LAV on Saturday.

Here are a couple more pics...

Flying into Long Beach



Piling into the car



Andrew with his bike


Last edited by Hermes; 07-19-10 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 07-19-10, 12:33 PM   #2
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Thanks for the photos and report Hermes. Looks like all kinds of fun! Beautiful facility.

I haven't raced at a velodrome since St.Louis in the 80's and our track was in terrible condition compared to yours.

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Old 07-19-10, 12:48 PM   #3
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Pretty cool stuff Hermes, no really cool and I do not race.
I know you had to be super excited.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-19-10, 05:00 PM   #4
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Cool. That's steep. G-forces! Are those tire slide marks in the picture with Andrew holding up his bike on the track?
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Old 07-19-10, 05:18 PM   #5
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Does anybody know the stats for the Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis?

Some time ago I rode on it with a bunch of other tandem riders. I don't think it's as high or as steeply banked as the Home Depot Center. My overall impression was that, unless you just rode around the bottom, it was a hilly ride.
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Old 07-19-10, 05:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
A couple of my racing buddies, who raced at LAV, warned me about the initial impression when you walk into the velodrome and not to look down the wall. Well, that is not possible and when I walked in and saw the steepness of the 47.5 degree banking and height of the wall 38 feet, I thought this is going to be amazing.

To keep from slipping down the track on the banking, one has to go approximately 18 mph. Andrew led us on the track and soon we were flying around the track and making our way to the top near the rail. I did not look down and focused on holding position. It was a piece of cake.

We then did some pace line team pursuit drills riding up the bank in turn one and going to the back of the pace line out of turn one to get used to the wooden 250 meter track. We then did a flying 200 meter. At LAV, one has to climb to the top of the track by traversing. It would use too much energy and the gear is too big to climb directly to the rail. So in the flying 200, you have two laps to climb to the top. Once at the top, you begin acceleration out of turn 2 and dive down the banking into turn one. The dive from the top of the rail into turn one was really fast. I hit the turn and I felt the g forces push me into my seat. It was so smooth and fast I am totally spoiled. We all passed and are invited back to race at LAV anytime.
Hi Hermes,

I am really glad that everything worked out so well.

Not looking down the wall reminds me of those movie scenes when someone in crossing a deep gorge on a rope bridge and their guide says, "Don't look down!"

Personally, I use these speed "limits" on the track: 18 MPH on the pole line; 20 MPH on the stayers (blue) line; and 22 MPH at the balustrade (top of the track). I will go as slow as 18 MPH on the stayers line but at that speed you don't have much margin for error and I have seen a lot of people slide down the track because they were going too slow.

You think that you're spoiled, I get to train there whenever I want (because I bought an annual pass). I still need to get myself up to Hellyer though. The biggest advantage of the Home Depot Center Velodrome (aka LA Velodrome) is that it is indoors so anytime the weather or available light is not conducive to outdoor training on a Tuesday or Thursday, I make a quick 20 minute drive up the freeway and get a great workout.

BTW, Andrew is a very cool guy and he is a 60+ racer.

And just to confirm, I will definitely see you on Saturday. For reference, I'm doing the 500 meter and 2,000 meter time trials.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
Cool. That's steep. G-forces! Are those tire slide marks in the picture with Andrew holding up his bike on the track?
Hi rm -rf, no, that's "tape" covering some divots in the wood surface. The track is probably due for some surface repair and refinishing but in our current economy there's no money for it. Any corporate sponsors out there who would like to help?

Rick, you really need to get over to the velodrome (it's at the Home Depot Center in Carson). US Elite Natz are Sep 29 - Oct 3, 2010. They are a lot of fun to watch if you love cycling and I know you love cycling.
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Old 07-19-10, 05:52 PM   #7
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Does anybody know the stats for the Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis?
Hi Retro Grouch,

Here:

http://www.indy.gov/eGov/City/DPR/Do...racklayout.pdf

It's the old international standard for length: 333-1/3 meters with 28 banking.
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Old 07-19-10, 05:58 PM   #8
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I am not ashamed to say:

I am sick with envy!

However I have no doubt you are going to help me get a vicarious ride.

Please!
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Old 07-19-10, 06:13 PM   #9
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Hi Cleave: We had a blast and Andrew was excellent. When I did my flying 200 meters, I did not have any problem with the height or banking. I was close to the rail on my final lap before I accelerated.

Both MEA and I will be at LAV on Saturday morning for the racing next weekend. I saw that you are going to be there racing as well. This will be a great time and it will be a wonderful to race together (even though this is a time trial). We are flying up the night before and staying in LB.

We did not have any speed indication on the rental bikes and just followed Andrew.
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Old 07-19-10, 07:43 PM   #10
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Really, really cool Hermes. I am green with envy and jealous, but still wish you guys well at the races.
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Old 07-19-10, 09:51 PM   #11
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Wow.

I have done a few laps around the Marymoor Velodrome in Redmond, Wa., (much less steep than LAV, I don't know the details) and it definitely takes some getting used to. I can't imagine doing it on the track at LAV.
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