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Thread: New to track

  1. #1
    I can't find my pants mirona's Avatar
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    New to track

    Not new to cycling, though, as I've tried every other discipline in cycling except for track. I mostly wanted to try something new, but then realized that track racing is very fast and that just made me want to do it even more. I have no experience with fixed gear bikes, but I'm sure I'll catch on quick.

    I found two outdoor, paved tracks that are relatively close to me: Kissena and New England Velodrome (which I guess is actually an auto track). There is also Trexlertown which is almost twice the distance as the other two. Does anyone here have any experience on these tracks? Do they offer good beginner instruction that you're aware of?

    Also, what are the racing classes like? I'm obviously a beginner at the track, but have been riding and racing bicycles for almost 20 years. Is it done similar to road cycling categories? I understand that there are different disciplines within track cycling. I've heard sprint, pursuit, time trial, etc. Is there a list of descriptions for each somewhere?

    Finally, I want to get a decent bike to start off with. It will probably be used on the road and running tracks to a lesser degree as well. I was checking out the Specialized Langster Comp. I work at a bike shop, so I can get it for a really good price. I already checked out eBay and such and didn't find much for the same price that could be comparable. Would this be a good bike to start off with?

    Thanks. Hopefully I can make this an exciting year with track.

  2. #2
    Mitcholo CrimsonKarter21's Avatar
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    Hey mirona, I'm from the road forums too and I'm getting a track build started up soon, too. While I don't know much, I did see some fully outfitted Bianchi Pista Concept's fully loaded on Ebay for $999 Buy it Now. They come with everything except the rider, and all of the parts look pretty good.

  3. #3
    I can't find my pants mirona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonKarter21
    Hey mirona, I'm from the road forums too and I'm getting a track build started up soon, too. While I don't know much, I did see some fully outfitted Bianchi Pista Concept's fully loaded on Ebay for $999 Buy it Now. They come with everything except the rider, and all of the parts look pretty good.
    I'm seeing them for $1049 and really don't want to spend that much right off the bat.

  4. #4
    R900Campagnolo marcelinyc's Avatar
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    practice riding fixed around town for now then come to kissena in mid march on saturdays for training. racing starts april 15.
    get any track bike that fits or borrow a bike for a day at the track
    www.fixedgearfever.com will answer all your questions

  5. #5
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    I haven't ridden any of those tracks, but can give you the general gist of things:

    Most tracks have rental bikes available for the intro classes and beginning riders. Some will let you race on the rentals, others won't, or will limit the races you can do on them.

    Intro classes usually give brief local history, some track history, basics of riding a fixed gear vs. a geared bike, and most importantly the etiquette rules for the track. There can be a lot of people in a small space, often doing very different things, and it's important that everyone abide by some relatively simple etiquette rules. There are minor variations from track to track, but they're mostly pretty consistent. Sometimes there are local rules about where/how you get on and off the track, where you ride at what speeds, etc. Then you usually do some riding, often some follow the leader, maybe some standing starts or TTs depending on how long the class is.

    The USCF rulebook has a decent description (a bit dry) of the various races and how they work. It's good to know the rules anyway, because there are a lot of little things you need to know to race more effectively.

    Here's a really short "track cycling 101" to get you started.
    Track - the other off-road
    http://www.lavelodrome.org

  6. #6
    Forum Admin lotek's Avatar
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    Mirona,

    here's some good information on intro track riding:
    http://www.superdrome.com/devoclass.htm
    there are good descriptions of the events, and track etiquette
    in the basic rules section.

    Marty
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  7. #7
    I can't find my pants mirona's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the info. Some good reading.

    I have an old roadie lined up. Will have my friend build a wheel for it to ride around town and get used to the fixed gear. I'm getting to the point where my room won't hold any more bikes and I love it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member CafeRacer's Avatar
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    If your new to track do all the events. It doesnt take long to figure out what side of the sport your better at or have more fun at - Endurance or Sprint. Alot of the time you may have fun in events on both sides of the sport. I think the only event you would never see a sprinter in is a pursuit.

    The Biggest sprint events inculude Match Sprints, Keirin, Kilo, 500m(ladies)
    Endurance events include Points racing, scratch racing, madison, pursuit.

  9. #9
    I can't find my pants mirona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CafeRacer
    If your new to track do all the events. It doesnt take long to figure out what side of the sport your better at or have more fun at - Endurance or Sprint. Alot of the time you may have fun in events on both sides of the sport. I think the only event you would never see a sprinter in is a pursuit.

    The Biggest sprint events inculude Match Sprints, Keirin, Kilo, 500m(ladies)
    Endurance events include Points racing, scratch racing, madison, pursuit.
    Sounds good to me. I do think, however, that I'll most likely find myself in the endurance events more with my background in endurance road and cross country mountain biking. I can't wait to try some kind of sprinting, though.

  10. #10
    (((Fully Awake))) Serendipper's Avatar
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    Good to see you join the fold Mirona! Good luck, and keep us posted. I have a feeling you will be a formidable opponent at the track.

    Here's a great resource for Cat 5 and Cat 2 alike: http://www.fixedgearfever.com

  11. #11
    I can't find my pants mirona's Avatar
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    Well, my Langster came in on Thursday. What a snappy little bike. There's a nice paved running track at my school that I can do some training on. Can't wait until spring to actually race!

    The mechanic and I are figuring out a budget build wheel for a fixed-gear bike I can tool around town on as well.

    Oh, and why are the cranks on track bikes shorter than those of road bikes?


    *Yes, I know I forgot to remove the safety sticker on the fork.

  12. #12
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    The cranks are usually a little shorter to reduce the risk of banging a pedal on the track in the corners. It's not a bad thing, but it can be extremely disconcerting to a beginner.

    The Velodrome Phoenix
    Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead. -- H. Chinaski

  13. #13
    Senior Member Dubbayoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VelodromePhoeni
    The cranks are usually a little shorter to reduce the risk of banging a pedal on the track in the corners. It's not a bad thing, but it can be extremely disconcerting to a beginner.

    The Velodrome Phoenix
    It's a bad thing if hitting the pedal lifts your rear wheel off the ground causing you to slide down the track; hopefully nobody is coming up behind.

  14. #14
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dial_tone
    It's a bad thing if hitting the pedal lifts your rear wheel off the ground causing you to slide down the track; hopefully nobody is coming up behind.
    A lot of endurance guys lately are riding 170 (and sometimes longer) cranks on the track-- at endurance race speeds there's pretty much no chance of banging a crank, even on a steep track like ADT, but it's possible if you're riding slow in training. That said, I'm an endurance guy and I only ride 165s.

    I have banged (actually tapped lightly) a crank in a match sprint at Blaine. The other guy said "did you hear that", I said "yep" and we continued creeping along. Haven't hit a crank yet at ADT.

    If you're going to ride a track bike on the road the short cranks help because the turns aren't banked-- you can't coast through turns, so you need the clearance on the pedals.
    Track - the other off-road
    http://www.lavelodrome.org

  15. #15
    Senior Member CafeRacer's Avatar
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    Sprinters mainly used 165's for the clearance. The theroy that you can spin faster does hold up a little but is a side point. 165's reduce the risk of clipping a pedal while crawling up the banking in a match sprint witch usualy ends in slivers or rash.

    That being said alot of sprinters are now going to longer cranks. Guys with big long legs can generate gobs of torque and can leverage it even more on a longer arm. 170's and 172's are more and more common. Plus WC sprinters are racing on bigger gears than 10 years ago. Having that little extra leverage to get a 98" gear going is helpfull.

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