I started track racing in 2008 when the Masters Track Nationals was at the Hellyer Velodrome in San Jose, CA. The first track race was the 500 meter time trial in the US Nationals and I managed to beat one guy with a pathetic 48 second time. Last year, I did not participate. This year, most of my training has been focused on Masters Track Nationals and Track Worlds at the end of October in Portugal. Last week, my wife and I packed up our bikes, wheels, clothes, electronics and other paraphenilia and flew to Frisco, TX to compete in the US Masters Track Nationals for a week against the best in the country.
Masters racing begins at age 30 and is divided by age group 30 34, 35 39 and etc up to 70+. My wife and I competed in the 60 64 age group. We were joined by two other racers in our club in that age group as well as a 40 to 44 a couple of 65 to 69 and a 70+. In addition there were several racers from our Hellyer velodrome from other clubs. So besides participating in some fabulous racing, we got to hang out with our friends and meet new people from across the country.
One can compete in many different events depending on age, gender and race category including the Individual 2K pursuit (ages 50+), Individual 3K pursuit (30 to 49), 1000 meter TT <50, 500 meter TT 50+, Flying 200 meters, Match Sprints, Points Races, Team Sprint, Team Pursuit and the Madison.
One can enter as many races as you want and there is a best all around rider per age group awarded based on points but not including the team events. Two of our club racers won best all around for the 60 64 and 65 69 and our team won three national championships.
Besides racing, I watched a lot of races and cheered on my friends. The most exciting races to watch are the points races where a group races head to head and sprints every 10 laps for points. The racer with the most points wins. These are similar to criterium races but much faster with more action. If you lap the field you are awarded 20 points.
The Frisco TX track is called the Superdrome. It is a 250 meter wooden track with 44 degree banking on the turns. The track is built on a steel superstructure with sheets of plywood laid over the steel to form the surface. The surface is painted with a "gritty" paint to provide some traction. It is equipped with an excellent lighting system similar to major stadiums. Compared to the Los Angeles Velodrome, the track is not as high (wide) or fast and, IMO, about the same speed as Hellyer. The track surface of LA is made of Siberian pine planks laid on the end creating a very fast solid, slippery surface. Even though the Superdrome had a gritty surface, many racers slid down the track and crashed mostly from going too slow and having their pedal strike the 44 degree banking. I took the accelerated class at LA and raced at LA so I did not have a problem at the Superdrome and really enjoyed riding and racing on the track.
2K pursuit 60 64
8 of 15
Although, I did not crash on the track, I managed to crash off the rollers about 5 minutes before my race and land on the cement. It was a perfect 4 point landing on my knee, wrist, elbow and hip. Since the landing was masterful, the damage was minimal. My coachs wife came to my rescue and bandaged my arm and hand. She did a great job but it looked more like there was a shark attack in the warm up area versus a fall. Not really an excuse but I am sure it had some impact on my race good or bad.
I was up against the second fastest racer in the event who lost to my teammate by .065 seconds. He had to pass me on the lap which probably cost him the championship. I got a good start but was about .5 second per lap short of plan on the first 4 laps. I floated the second lap and did a negative split on the race. My fastest lap, by over a second, was my final lap. According to my coach, I am technically perfect but need a more power and less crashing.
500 meter TT 60 64
6 of 15
I got a good start and rode a good race. I missed the podium by .11 seconds.
3K 60+ team pursuit
2nd of 3
The main competition was Vics Expresso. After seeing the results of the 2K pursuit, their team had better times than we did. I did not focus on that fact but tried to motivate our team to work to our strengths and work as a team. We decided to have our strongest rider do two lap pulls with each of us taking one lap pulls. Each racer had the option to do less rather than slow the pace of blow up.
I felt really good going into this event. I really liked the 44 degree banking upon which to make the exchanges. I felt great during the race even though it was hard and could have gone faster. When my turn came to pull, I maintained pace and tried to lift the pace a little on the second half of my lap. The key in team pursuit is to work as a team and not surge or make it difficult for others. We dropped our 4th on the final lap and the 3 of us finished strong and together.
The winning time was 4:00.6. The Vics guys dropped their slower guy early and three of them rode most of the race. They set a new national record for the event. Congrats to the Vics Expresso for a great race and record.
The state and national events are a lot of fun and I wish there were more track events similar to these throughout the racing season. I have one more major track event left for this year which is Masters Track Worlds in Portugal. I plan on racing at LA velodrom one more time before then and hope to have a great time in Portugal but no more trainer crashes!
Here are some pics...
The calm before the storm...we arrived on Monday which was two days before racing started to practice and get a feel for the track. Here is what it was like before the gang showed up.