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Track Cycling: Velodrome Racing and Training Area Looking to enter into the realm of track racing? Want to share your experiences and tactics for riding on a velodrome? The Track Cycling forums is for you! Come in and discuss training/racing, equipment, and current track cycling events.

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Old 12-03-05, 06:40 PM   #1
paloewi
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Grass track racing?

http://www.plomesgate.co.uk/g_p_index.html
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Old 12-03-05, 07:08 PM   #2
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lol
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Old 12-03-05, 09:58 PM   #3
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Is that something like moonshine runnin'?
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Old 12-03-05, 10:08 PM   #4
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What the fark?!
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Old 12-03-05, 11:17 PM   #5
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See, I gave up grass for cycling, now this?

"..Don't...tempt me Frodo!"
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Old 12-03-05, 11:42 PM   #6
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Everyone wants to build a velodrome, well..... get your local parks dept. to put in a grass track. Now, how much banking do you think we can get away with?
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Old 12-04-05, 12:09 AM   #7
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Grass banks would be tres slippery, no?
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Old 12-04-05, 09:08 PM   #8
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Yup, it is slippery even without banking but riders use fairly wide (28-32mm) tubular tyres made especially for GrassTrack racing. These have a file or diamond tread pattern on them for a bit of grip.

We've some more photos on our club website at
http://www.southborough-wheelers.co....rasstrack_2005

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Old 12-04-05, 09:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickster
Yup, it is slippery even without banking but riders use fairly wide (28-32mm) tubular tyres made especially for GrassTrack racing. These have a file or diamond tread pattern on them for a bit of grip.

We've some more photos on our club website at
http://www.southborough-wheelers.co....rasstrack_2005

mickster
So you seem to know something about it. Care to share?

thanks

Peter
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Old 12-05-05, 08:17 AM   #10
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I'm no expert - this was the first Grasstrack meet we've promoted - but the basic formula:

Where
Grasstrack racing used to be fairly popular all over the UK - it's particularly big in Scotland where it's often incorporated in a number of the Highland Games held there; there are even riders who make a semi-professional living out of grasstracj racing at these games.
In the rest of the UK nowadays there is a national grasstrack series and around a dozen or so open meetings held each year during the season.

The track
Mark out an oval for the track on a fairly flat patch of land. Most tracks are approx 300-400m round.
The inside line of the track is marked with a painted line. Coloured pegs and string are then placed around the line to stop riders taking a shorter route round the turns. There's no banking.

The bikes
Riders almost exclusively use old skool traditional steel track bikes - the racing can be hard and crashes are fairly frequent, so a tough, dependable (and cheap to repair) bike is essential. The other major consideration is tyre clearance - most modern alloy/carbon frames don't have enough clearance under the fork and at the rear for the wider grasstrack tyres used.
Grasstrack tyres used to be more readily available but are really hard to find nowadays. Alternatives include Vittoria and Tufo dry CycloCross tyres with a minimal tread. tyres usually are sized 28-32mm and top riders will have several sets depending on how soft / dry / hard the track is. Because of the cornering forces exerted on the tyres on the non-banked track, a few sheets of fabric / tape are wrapped round the tyres and the rim to help keep the tyres glued onto the rim.
Wheels are almost always trad large-flange Campy / SUntour / Shimano track hubs laced 32h or 36h to old-skool track tubular rims. You don't see many composite tri-spokes at these races
Gearing will vary depending on the track conditions but I understand that this is uaually in the 76-80 inch range (eg 44x16 to 48x16).
Cranks will generally be short (165mm) for clearance when cornering.
The rest of the bike is pretty much the same as for regular hard track racing on a velodrome.

The racing
It's insane!! The emphasis is on short, full-gas sprints eg 800m. Riders are held on teh start line and pushed off by holders - as the racing is so fast and short its important to get a good start, so it pays to practice with an experienced pusher-offer.
Racing tends to err on the side of the physical too, as riders use shoulders, heads and elbows to fight for teh inside line on the sketchy corners.
Races are similar to hard track, ie sprints, handicaps, devil-takes-the-hindmost, points and scratch races. Due to the lack of banking cornering at speed in a tight packed bunch on a fixed gear bike takes some skill and nerve, and slideouts usually bring half of the field down with them!

It's a cool and slightly dangerous form of track racing, but y'all should give it a go. Just mark out a 300m oval in yr local park, swipe some traffic cones or similar to mark the inside line, put the widest set of tyres you can fit into yr frame and let rip. When you start off its like being a kid again bombing around the park trying to knock yr mates off their bikes whilst trying to hold the rear wheel from sliding out...! As well as being a blast it'll also probably do wonders for yr bike handling skills.

Cheers

mickster
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Old 12-05-05, 10:42 AM   #11
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C'mon, lets step it up a notch and get some banking. We'll use cyclocross tires.
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Old 12-12-05, 12:39 PM   #12
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hey there.. first post in the track forum.

i just picked up a Carlton path racer frame...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/94123693@N00/sets/1338981/
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File Type: jpg IMG_0898web.jpg (63.9 KB, 41 views)
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Old 12-12-05, 02:51 PM   #13
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omg
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Old 12-12-05, 04:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schloe mo
hey there.. first post in the track forum.

i just picked up a Carlton path racer frame...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/94123693@N00/sets/1338981/
That's a nice looking frame. Martin Coopland is a bit of a grasstrack legend...
FGG has a picture of one of his rides featuring the taped on grasstrack tubs I mentioned in the post above:
http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/2003/coopland.htm

Enjoy that frame - it's a beauty!

mickster
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Old 12-12-05, 04:49 PM   #15
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thanks much. the first google i did for grasstrack brought up an article by Martin. he definitely knows his stuff. it's a largely undiscovered sport over here from what i can tell..
who knows, maybe this frame will be on the grass in the spring.
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Old 12-13-05, 10:57 PM   #16
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Yes, over at cycling.tv, there is coverage of the 2004(5?) West Indies vs. the World track cycling. One of the tracks was grass. There is a spectacular crash in that clip...and grass rash is almost as bad a road rash
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Old 12-18-05, 01:06 PM   #17
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Mickster has summed it up pretty well really, a few minor points though.



Quote:
Originally Posted by mickster
Grasstrack tyres used to be more readily available but are really hard to find nowadays. Alternatives include Vittoria and Tufo dry CycloCross tyres with a minimal tread. tyres usually are sized 28-32mm and top riders will have several sets depending on how soft / dry / hard the track is. Because of the cornering forces exerted on the tyres on the non-banked track, a few sheets of fabric / tape are wrapped round the tyres and the rim to help keep the tyres glued onto the rim.Wheels are almost always trad large-flange Campy / SUntour / Shimano track hubs laced 32h or 36h to old-skool track tubular rims. You don't see many composite tri-spokes at these races
Gearing will vary depending on the track conditions but I understand that this is uaually in the 76-80 inch range (eg 44x16 to 48x16).
Cranks will generally be short (165mm) for clearance when cornering.
The rest of the bike is pretty much the same as for regular hard track racing on a velodrome.
If your tubulars tyres are stuck on properly it's unnecessary to have extra tape wrapped around the rim, indeed I don't like any tape on the outside as it can reduce the grip levels. Many riders are using clincher (wired on) tyres these days rather than tubular tyres so gluing is not needed.
With a reasonably high bottom bracket there is no problem riding 170mm cranks.


Quote:
The racing
It's insane!! The emphasis is on short, full-gas sprints eg 800m. Riders are held on teh start line and pushed off by holders - as the racing is so fast and short its important to get a good start, so it pays to practice with an experienced pusher-offer.
Racing tends to err on the side of the physical too, as riders use shoulders, heads and elbows to fight for teh inside line on the sketchy corners.Races are similar to hard track, ie sprints, handicaps, devil-takes-the-hindmost, points and scratch races. Due to the lack of banking cornering at speed in a tight packed bunch on a fixed gear bike takes some skill and nerve, and slideouts usually bring half of the field down with them!

It's a cool and slightly dangerous form of track racing, but y'all should give it a go. Just mark out a 300m oval in yr local park, swipe some traffic cones or similar to mark the inside line, put the widest set of tyres you can fit into yr frame and let rip. When you start off its like being a kid again bombing around the park trying to knock yr mates off their bikes whilst trying to hold the rear wheel from sliding out...! As well as being a blast it'll also probably do wonders for yr bike handling skills.

Cheers

mickster
Ride like that and you'll soon make yourself very unpopular!! Grass track can be quite physical, but generally it isn't.
The racing is a little different to hard track events. Sprints are held over 400-800m and are not held as match sprints, but with 4-8 riders with no stalling or trackstands, just hard racing all the way to the finishing line.
There are longer events also, the standard one being 5 miles. Depending on the track conditions that's likely to take anywhere between 12 and 17 minutes!!
Other events are short handicap events and Devil-take-the hindmosts (miss and out in US terminology)

There are loads of photos here
HTML Code:
http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/gallery/2003/Larry/biggleswade/index.htm
taken from the British Cycling website.

I agree with Mickster...it's great fun

Richard Kennedy
UK grass track rider.
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Old 12-18-05, 01:37 PM   #18
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That looks like a ridiculous amount of fun.

What do most of the people getting into the sport ride - standard issue track frames or old "real" grass track framesets? I recognized some Condors and Fort, but a lot of those other bikes looked custom or a few decades old.
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Old 12-18-05, 01:44 PM   #19
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i've heard that Bob Jackson frames have grass-friendly geometry..
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Old 12-18-05, 02:27 PM   #20
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I used to ride a 1970s Bob Jackson frame, but now ride a custom built one (I'm in some of the photos, I'm wearing the white skinsuit with a red and blue stripe)

Most track frames will be ok at the rear, if it's close clearance then just use a gear combination that moves the wheel nearer to the back of the rear dropouts! The problem tends to be with modern track forks, older forks or road forks should have enough tyre clearance.
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Old 12-19-05, 04:32 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Kennedy
I used to ride a 1970s Bob Jackson frame, but now ride a custom built one (I'm in some of the photos, I'm wearing the white skinsuit with a red and blue stripe)

Most track frames will be ok at the rear, if it's close clearance then just use a gear combination that moves the wheel nearer to the back of the rear dropouts! The problem tends to be with modern track forks, older forks or road forks should have enough tyre clearance.
Rik is being very modest here, these are the colors of a National Champion (yes he will probably hate me for saying this)
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Old 12-19-05, 06:05 PM   #22
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COOL!!!!!
Current national champion grass racer? If not, what event?
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Old 12-20-05, 05:58 AM   #23
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Not current national champion - I've missed most of the year with illness- but yes, ex national champion on the grass track. We have 3 national championships for men in the UK, 400metres, 800 metres and 8 kilometres. (as a rough guide, depending on the ground conditions, an 800m sprint on grass takes approximately the same time as 1000 - 1100 metres on the hard track)
There's currently only one national championship for ladies - 800m - but there is talk of adding a distance race aswell to bring more parity with the men. Interestingly, Vicky Pendleton (current world sprint champion) began her racing career on grass track at the age of 12, she was already several times national champion before she started racing on hard tracks! (she still rides the grass track when her racing/training program allow) Craig Maclean was also a regular grass track rider in his youth.
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Old 12-20-05, 12:13 PM   #24
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Some where in Kansas there's a group doing grass racing.
I know because I sold them a bunch of track stuff. As there is no velodrome in Kansas, I asked what it was for. Turns out they were racing on the green stuff. Can't remember what city though...
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