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  1. #1
    Senior Member Briareos's Avatar
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    Track Events For Beginner's

    One sort of track events do most coaches or "monday night clinic" instructors recommend? I'm mostly interested in pursuit/kilo, the mass start races don't interest me all that much. I'm guessing that I'll have to learn the ways of the track just like everyone else, and that doesn't bother me, it makes sense. But I'd rather start doing pursuit/kilo training and stick to it. Will I have trouble doing this? Seems like a lot of the entry level stuff never even addresses track time-trials.

    Early morning thoughts...Yours?

  2. #2
    this portrait of karma transplant's Avatar
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    entry level "stuff" teaches you how to properly ride on the track with other riders: contact, rules, etc. it's like learning to walk before you can run. i imagine they track managers do not run kilo/pursuit type events for the beginners simply because it doesn't really teach you those skills when it's such a controlled environment as opposed to mass start races. so yes, you'll have to go through some of the basics along with everyone else before you can dedicate yourself to pursuit/kilo/olympic sprint type events.

    also, how do you know you may not be interested in mass start events later? you may find out that you enjoy them quite a bit.

  3. #3
    Oh Hell Yes Hawk Wheels's Avatar
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    My coach focuses on pace lines for handling etiquette.
    It helps to have a training partner, someone to work with/against!
    I suggest try everything at first then settle into your niche with all skills covered.
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  4. #4
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    This old track coach used to recommend that new riders first get their skills down pat through lots of bike handling drills: low speed stuff like shoulder, elbow, and hip bumping, tire touching, track stands, as well as "silly" drills like picking up waterbottles, riding backwards, no-hand trackstands. Additionally there would be on-track stuff like "follow-the-leader" on the banking, pacelines and reverse pacelines, two-up pacelines, and whatever else could be thought up.

    Then work on basic tactics like jumps, pins (the "razor"), taking runs, etc. as well as "chalktalk" about the tactics and rules for the various races.

    Then come the pack riding drills, most of which involve nothing more than getting used to moving through a pack at various speeds without killing anyone.

    Then the training races, with an emphasis on tactics, positioning, and simply understanding the rules, including the gray areas.

    And finally the racing itself.

    IMO, any rider pursuing an interest in the track should at least learn all the races and get some basic exposure to them all, hopefully advancing a category or two in the process. Then he/she can pick a specialty.

    In some cases, I have had riders who absolutely insisted that they wanted to do nothing but pursuit or kilo and didn't even want to ride in a pack. That's not ideal IMO, as racing really is very effective training. Great gains can be made behind the motorcycle, but I always felt that regular racing was part of a complete training program.

    In some cases I had riders that were such godawful bike handlers that I didn't want anything to do with them riding in a pack and would only allow them to pursuit or kilo if they were going to work with me. Hopefully you don't fall into that group.

    Pursuit and kilo, BTW, have turned into two utterly separate events in the last couple of decades. The training is much, much different and I'd tend to discourage someone from trying to do both unless that person has no particular concern for results. (Which is just fine, IMO.) Training for pursuit will put you in very good shape for typical massed-start track events and much road racing. Training for kilo will make you fast as hell but will likely not give you the endurance you need for pursuit, points, etc. and will make a mess out of you if long road races are your thing.

    Short version: Yeah, if you really don't want anything to with massed start races, then it's "allowable" to do nothing but pursuit or kilo training. Then you just need to stay disciplined enough to not get involved in other people's pacelines, packs, etc. as it's very irresponsible to endanger other track users with your incompetence. Maybe you could wear a reflective vest that says "Fred" in big letters or something.

    HTH.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    6 jours has a lot of good comments.

    For one, you need to learn basic track etiquette and how to ride comfortably in close quarters with people because even time trialists need to warm up on the track, and it can get very crowded. This is especially so at the kind of events where TTs are run, like state championships (masters and elite). Events where time trials are run are rare at some tracks because it can take a lot of people (holders, multiple timers) and it can take a long time when you only have 1-2 people on the track at a time.

    And not only is racing good training for TT events, there are also plenty of things you might do to train for TTs that require you to ride closely with other people, such as Team TTs. And if you want to ride a team pursuit well you need to get a lot of practice riding close.

    As for Kilo helping you with mass starts-- it might not help in your points racing, but it seems to be good training for the Keirin lately-- Theo Bos and Jamie Staff were both kilo specialists before they were keirin champions.
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  6. #6
    asleep at the wheel fixedpip's Avatar
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    Lots of good advice here.

    Found that most track's generally training sessions will be crowded, so you have to be comfortable riding with others. These sessions are some of the best ways of working at overall fitness. Plus you have to know track etiquette to be safe on any track regardless.

    I'd say its pretty rare for any track to offer specialized training to beginners as theres such a huge gap between your skills and fitness and those required for racing. However some tracks do have beginner specific races once you've attended a few training sessions.

    I like pursuit but I also love points races/devil-takes-the-hindmost and other events. A bit of variety really helps your overall track experience.

  7. #7
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention in my previous post that our track does occasionally do things like have sessions to introduce triathletes to the track, and other sessions where road bikes are allowed (just near the bottom, and not mixed groups of fixed/free) to let time trialists use it for training or getting their position down. For a while we also had an open session every two weeks that was focused on pursuit training (starting gates, pacing, etc) alternating with sprint training on the other weeks.
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  8. #8
    Upstanding member. Mike T.'s Avatar
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    You're getting the good stuff from these guys. The "Track Events For Beginners" (your original topic) are "trackschool" (whatever form this takes at your track), general track riding or fitness training (probably this will consist of paceline type work) and "B" level races (ability level based races).

    I could be corrected but I get the impression that you're probably nervous riding in the company of others. But "training" for specific TT events like the kilo and pursuit are very specialized things as there can't be many people on the track at once. So specific training times for these are rare and probably restricted to high class riders. The biggest bang for the buck for those who run the track are group riding based - both training and racing.

    We've tried recreation-based TT's and their training at our track but this is very boring for those waiting their turn when 10-20 people turn out. Letting those waiting ride paceline above the blue line helps tremendously but in the end most people prefered to do just that - ride paceline in a group.

    You would be well advised to get stuck in to group riding sessions as this is where comfort, fine-tuned knowledge of the ebb & flow of trackwork and general fitness is gained. Unless you're very comfortable and safe around others, you're just a general P-I-A.

  9. #9
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    For one, you need to learn basic track etiquette and how to ride comfortably in close quarters with people because even time trialists need to warm up on the track, and it can get very crowded.
    This is a fantastic observation, IMO. Some of the most dangerous track time I ever put in was warming up for championship events: kilo and pursuit guys doing standing starts, sprinters putting in some 40 MPH jumps, maybe a motorcycle lapping at the blue line. Worse than a cat. 4 madison.

    Unless you're very comfortable and safe around others, you're just a general P-I-A.
    Someone should engrave this on a plaque and hang it at the rider's entrance to every track in the country. Just beautiful. If I had a nickle for every time my last bit of advice to a rider heading out for an exercise was "Oh, and watch out for the dimwit in the blue jersey"...

  10. #10
    Upstanding member. Mike T.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Six jours
    "Unless you're very comfortable and safe around others, you're just a general P-I-A"

    Someone should engrave this on a plaque and hang it at the rider's entrance to every track in the country. Just beautiful.
    But those who should read it and heed it never do.

    If I had a nickle for every time my last bit of advice to a rider heading out for an exercise was "Oh, and watch out for the dimwit in the blue jersey"...
    I even made myself chuckle once when I refered to a Dimwit as being "as nervous as a crack dealer in a blind alley". I wouldn't ride his wheel for a gold-plated track bike.

  11. #11
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    Good to see there are still a few folks who care. In my neighborhood, at least, bike handling skills are apparently frowned upon as evidence of wasted time.

  12. #12
    Senior Member I saw Elvis's Avatar
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    My first exposure to competitive cycling was on the track. The club I joined had a near full time coach and all the stuff he taught me was really useful. When I started road racing the ability to look after myself in a close bunch was invaluable and my position on the bike was (until the ol' back started to play up) good. And the handling skills I picked up in paced events have got me out of many tight spots.
    So enjoy it, the skills you pick up will really help your riding.
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