Originally Posted by oaktownash
I'll be living within easy riding distance of the LA velodrome this summer, and I'd like to ride the track at least a few times. I've been to the website and checked it out pretty extensively, including the calendar, but I still have a few questions a regular there could probably answer. So: Is it very accessible for someone who is not training to ride in olympic or professional events? It seems like most to all of the track time is devoted to training, and there is very little if any racing at the beginner to intermediate level.
Most of the training times are very accessible to people who are not training for olympic or pro events. The tues/thurs intervals are heavily attended by people who are not likely to ever do a mass start race, and may or may not do some time trials-- some of the riders used to attend Roger's spin class (which was the same interval workout as the riders on track, but on spin bikes) and gradually switched. Check out the details for them here: http://lavelodrome.org/Training/RogerSession.htm
. The people who show up range from nearly total beginners up to people with multiple national level medals (and the occasional worlds medal) and everybody leaves with a good workout that's appropriate for their level.
There are several evenings during the week with open training, and a number of clubs show up as a group at those, but individual riders are welcome and encouraged to ride as well.
Sundays are usually pretty lightly attended, but will often have pretty good attendance for the last hour or so when people show up for motorpaced madison practice.
The full calendar for the summer isn't up, but it's pretty much the same as the months that are posted now.
All of the race events have many categories for non-elite riders, all the way down to Cat 5, and pretty much all of the race days have a time-trial session in the morning and a mass start session in the afternoon-- check out the results page if you want to see the ages and experience levels of the riders, as well as some times.
The reason there isn't more racing is that there are too many racing opportunities in SoCal, including two other tracks, and we all work together to avoid splitting up the racer base too much. It's expensive to put on races (even without prize money) and low attendance makes it hard to put on more races, and there just aren't as many track racers as road racers yet, though that's been steadily improving.
If you have some decent experience riding a road bike in a pack you can probably pass the accelerated class without too much trouble. If you get some time at San Jose (you're in the bay area) a few times for their intro classes and some training you'll be way ahead of the game.