Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Bikes: Pinarello FP3 with Ultegra SL and Quarq Riken PM
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Track Racing 101
Track Racing at Denton Park has started again in Christchurch and here are a few pointers I have given my riders based on initial observations...
*You can't sprint flat out for longer than 100-150m (about 30 pedal revolutions). Seen a few guys try and do the 400m charge on Denton Park and get mowed down easily.
*My tactic of choice on Denton Park is 3rd at the bell, 2nd at the 200m line and kick for the line midway through the banking between turn 3 and 4. Doesn't work everytime but will work most of the time.
*On a 250m track like Wanganui or Dunedin its 3rd at one a half laps to go, 2nd at the bell and kick down the back straight coming out of turn 2. You will note that most of the sprints at Athens went like this.
*Being forced to lead out isn't the end of your chances. Go 80% from the bell and down the back straight start to wind it up to 95% and jump as hard as possible or respond when others jump with around 100-150m to go. In a two up match sprint till you commit to the final sprint you can actually ride the 2nd rider up the track and block them in till you jump.
*For roadies use the track to practice road sprinting. On the road you can't sprint 100% for 400m so use the track to simulate the increase in tempo till you commit to your final kick as you would when road sprinting.
*Try and use the bankings to lap out. At turn 1 or 3 just roll straight up and when you spot the end wheel use the banking to roll down to the wheel. Easier than lapping on the straights.
*Never look around on the track. Riders always come off their racing line. Practice looking under your arms or even between your legs. Tip, if a rider is looking back jump them hard when they look forward.
*Ride a straight line in the sprint. Remember that if you are below the racing line other riders can not come underneath you nor can they ride below the red racing line coming past. If they do speak with the commissaire.
If committed to the sprint you must ride a straight line. I will be pretty hard on the commissaires this year. I saw an experienced rider come out of the red line in a sprint to block another experienced rider and the commissaires did nothing. A few years back two vets caused a rider of mine to crash and break a collarbone weeks out from Nationals!
*If you know you can't win the sprint then attack. Like any race, if the opposition is faster then try and get away. Good places to go is off the front if you spot a weaker rider on your wheel. When the rider if front laps up jump through hard.
You can attack down the straights when a weak rider is leading.
From time to time the whole group will roll up the track on the bankings, this is a great time to attack. This is a good tactic for points races where you sprint every lap (or 2nd or 5 laps). Don't commit for the sprint and when those who have sprinted ease up, make your move.
*Ride Devil take the Hindmost events from 2nd position. Each lap between turn 3 and 4 just roll up to the hip of the lead rider and you should be safe.
*With NZ Track Nationals in early January I will asking officials to run some Aussie Pursuits (like an individual pursuit just 5-6 riders on the track) so you get some practice at Pursuiting. The key to pursuits is a quick acceleration to pursuit speed (not max speed) holding a steady pace. I will be asking for some 3 lap U17 pursuits and 5 lap Open pursuits.
When I talk about pursuit speed I mean...
50kph may be your maximum speed
48kph may be your speed over 200m
46kph may be your speed over 500m
44kph may be your speed over 1000m
42kph may be your speed in a pursuit
40kph may be your speed in a 5km time trial
38kph may be your speed in a 10km time trial
If you started a pursuit and rode up to 50kph you would die towards the end. If 42kph was your goal speed then you would sprint to 42kph and try and hold that for the distance. Sarah Ulmer is the master of doing this where every lap she does after her start lap (usually around 4sec slower) is nearly the same.
*This is a lot to try and take in. I suggest you copy this sheet and take it to track with you. For each race pick one suggestion and try and apply it. Try and come up with some ideas of your own as well. I will be at track on Wednesdays and after I finish work on Sundays. I will be talking you through the races you do. As always the goals you set for each race are your own!