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  1. #1
    Hip-star jhaber's Avatar
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    Epic Failure - First Day at the Track

    So I went to London, Ontario today to ride at the track for the first time.
    I was all excited, spent yesterday cleaning and getting my bike ready. I bring my bike with me. The only person at the track 1 session to do so.

    In 2 hours I fell three times. I have been riding a fixed gear bike for two years on the street without once falling or laying the bike down. Yet, my first time on the track I slide out three times. Twice taking a hunk of track out with my pedal as I fell. My once babied and pristine paint job has a big paint chip in the chainstay now.

    What would cause this? The guy running the session said it might be my tires. I changed my pedals out at one point so I know it wasn't pedal strike. I tried sanding down my tires after the second fall but it didn't help. These tires have been ridden all summer on the street and maybe there was crap on them but I really don't know. What else could it be? I wasn't going too slowly. I feel very frustrated at this point. I doubt I will be driving back there (an hour + drive) any time soon and will likely wait till I move to Calgary to try the track again.

  2. #2
    not actually Nickatina andre nickatina's Avatar
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    Overinflated clinchers possibly? Worn out treads?

  3. #3
    Hip-star jhaber's Avatar
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    My front was inflated to 140 psi last night (max psi 150 for the tire) and the back to 110 (max psi 110 for the back). Decent tread on both tires.

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    that might be too much pressure for clinchers? are there logo's painted on the track surface?

    could be anything that made you crash. Low speed, yes, dust??? who knows, maybe the tread was squared off from being riden on the road and with that much pressure it stepped onto it's edge more?

    I usually put the same amount of pressure in clinchers on the track as I do for the road, maybe a tiny bit more, 110-120 psi and I weigh a lot too.

  5. #5
    Senior Member yusuke343's Avatar
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    if you were on a finished wooden velo, it was most likely caused by one of the two things...
    1- superficial (outermost ) layer of rubber has wear, dirt, or rubber compound not formulated for a track.
    2- you were going a bit too slow, and with gyroscopic not helping you, the tires would break traction at the banks.
    "If I kept count, I'd realize just how dead I should be."-Hickeydog

  6. #6
    Senior Member yusuke343's Avatar
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    oh, and also sorry to hear that your first time on the velo.... kinda sucked for a lack of better words. I hate when you physic yourself up for something and it goes horribly wrong... and im also a sap for pristine paint...
    "If I kept count, I'd realize just how dead I should be."-Hickeydog

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    Quote Originally Posted by yusuke343 View Post
    if you were on a finished wooden velo, it was most likely caused by one of the two things...
    1- superficial (outermost ) layer of rubber has wear, dirt, or rubber compound not formulated for a track.
    2- you were going a bit too slow, and with gyroscopic not helping you, the tires would break traction at the banks.
    what formula works for the track? please let us know.

    it sounds like the guy needs new tyres as he said he rode them on the road all summer which would square off the rear and perhaps scallop the front, so they need replacing from being worn out, not from the rubber they are made from.

    I think that will only confuse the guy when he is shopping for new tyres, trying to find them in a paticular compound.

    Whatever you do Jhaber, don't worry about it. Go back and have another go, probably a combo of it all and nerves etc, after the first crash you more or less would have tensed up and went down a lot easier.

    go back again, do some laps around the duckboards, move up once you have some speed and just sit in the sprinters lane getting the feel and go from there. Going too slow can cause crashes, when up high in the banks, painted surface, tyres on the wrong way etc, but eben then you have to be unlucky to crash. You can usually track stand in the banks.

    the track is usually a very safe way to ride. If you can ride on the road and make it around a corner you can ride the track.

  8. #8
    Upstanding member. Mike T.'s Avatar
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    What speed were you going when you slid? 30kph on the FCV is the suggested minimum but we know it can be ridden slower. 20kph is my slowest but below about 27 it becomes more & more risky.

    Of course sanding tires helps. Shiny tires and new tires with the mold release still coating them are deadly. That stuff is a waxy coating.

    At slower speeds the bike should be tipped slightly - away from the banking.

    Did pedal strikes cause the slides? If so, BB height, crank length and pedal thickness and length all play a part. There's a test gauge on the trackside bench - a short 2x4 piece of wood. If it slides under the low pedal you're good to go.

    Tire pressures - 100 to 120psi is fine at the FCV. I would't go higher. There's no track paint so that isn't the reason.

    I would suggest you get new tires and pay attention to small details - sand the tires, tip the bike under 28kph, don't get tire pressures too high. It's rare we get slides and usually it's because of the stuff in this paragraph.

    To the fellow who says trackstands can be done on the banking - this track is 50 degrees. Lower than 25kph risks a slide.
    Last edited by Mike T.; 01-18-09 at 09:50 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post

    To the fellow who says trackstands can be done on the banking - this track is 50 degrees. Lower than 25kph risks a slide.
    no worries.

  10. #10
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    The street isn't tilted at 50 degrees....

    I'll second what Mike T. says-- all good advice. And any track where you can do a trackstand on the banking is pretty hard to slide down (e.g. Encino). Most of the wood tracks in the US and Canada are too steep for that.

    A few other comments/things I've seen (particularly among people who spend a lot of time on a fixed on the street and come to the track).

    - Crank length-- it's not just what pedals you use, but also the crank length (and width of the pedal/crank combination). The 2x4 rule of thumb that FCV uses might not work as well if you for some reason have an extra wide BB spindle.

    - You could have square, or square-ish tires. If you ride on the street on the same tires it's pretty easy to get a flat spot on the center and sort of square off the tire. Its handling will change very abruptly as you go from straight to curve, or even change speed, especially at FCV. A kid once showed up for our intro class with frighteningly square tires, so I made him use a rental bike. I think he would have been very unhappy very quickly on his own bike, but managed to do fine on the rental.

    - Tread-- if the tires have a significant tread pattern it could actually be hurting you as it makes and breaks contact with the track. Track tires tend to be either smooth or have a very fine diamond/file pattern.

    - Dual compound tires. Sometimes they're made more durable in the middle and stickier just away from the middle for better cornering. It might feel a little different as your angle changes, but should be ok. I've actually seen a few tires where the stuff at the edges was slipperier than the middle, usually it's when they're a color other than black, but even some black tires use silica for durability and dye for the black.

    - Most clincher rims aren't designed for super high pressures (140+) and your tires won't necessarily handle any better. The rental bikes at ADT use inexpensive Vittoria clinchers that are kept at 110-120, and they're fine. I occasionally ride the same model tire on some clincher training wheels I have and they hold up well and stick pretty well, though not as well as some nice track tubulars (some tubulars slide off the wood as if they're greased though..). ADT isn't quite as steep as FCV, but close.

    - Handlebars-- hopefully you have drop bars. We've had a few fixie riders show up with really narrow (just wide enough for hands) straight bars. They really give you very little control. I doubt they'd have let you ride FCV with bars like that..

    - Your elbows-- as mentioned previously you might have tensed up after the first crash (or even before it, riding on the banking. Even as an experienced track rider the short track makes the 50 degrees look even steeper. If you had your elbows locked it could affect your handling enough to need to keep a higher speed.

    Try a rental bike-- that's one way to simplify things when you're learning. I went out there a couple years ago to ride when I was visiting family in Detroit and had a blast on one of the rental bikes. It handled just fine and stuck just fine to the track. I brought my own pedals and shoes. If you don't slip with the rental then you can start varying things on your bike to make it work better. If you do, then you vary things about how you're riding.

    I hope you'll go back out and try again-- that's an awesome track to ride, and well worth an hour drive (I drive two hours each way to get there, and would totally do it again).
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  11. #11
    Upstanding member. Mike T.'s Avatar
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    That was good advice b-duck - using a rental - I never thought of that! Those cheap tires at 100psi don't slide unless the rider does something silly.

    To the original poster - about what speed were you doing when you slid? I can't see how it can happen, even using any dodgy equipment (bad tires, low pedals) at 30kph+ speeds.
    Last edited by Mike T.; 01-19-09 at 06:20 AM.

  12. #12
    Upstanding member. Mike T.'s Avatar
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    To the original poster jhaber - I sent you a PM.

  13. #13
    Hip-star jhaber's Avatar
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    Thanks for the PM. To address a few things in this thread... The bike I was using is link to in my sig. It has a high BB (one of the session leaders tested it with their brick). It has also 165 track cranks (omniums). I don't think the issue was that.

    The front tire was a vittoria rubino and the back was a cheap schwalbe tire. Both are black in the middle and blue on the edges. Both had tread left.

    I was using road drob bars. The last time when I went down I was riding with mks gr-9 pedals which are fairly narrow.

    I believe I was up to a proper speed each time I fell. I was told by someone watching that even on my good laps it looked like my lower tire was sliding down and that I was correcting for it.

    I might have been tensing up but of that I am not sure. I am typically a very confident rider. I think at this point I will have to go back at least one more time, I can't leave something like this on a bad note. Thanks for all the help from everyone thus far.

    Jonathan

  14. #14
    Hip-star jhaber's Avatar
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    I was planning to get new tires for the summer anyways. Something around 200 grams (or less) and all black. Maybe I could get them now and see if they make a difference on the track before they touch the streets. Recommendations (cheaper is better)?

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    Hopefully some new tires sort things out. I once read on here that the Vittoria EVO CX 23c clincher tire worked decently at London on the wood boards.

    I am just finishing my Track build to ride in London and that is what I decided on. I'll report back next weekend (providing my hubs arrive in time and I can build up my wheels before Sat).

    I never had any grip issues on any of the rental bikes and I have been on 3 different ones.

    On a coincidental note: A coupe good friends of mine were in yesterdays session. One of them was behind you for one of the tumbles but he was able to quickly avoid disaster. Hopefully you weren't hurt.

  16. #16
    Upstanding member. Mike T.'s Avatar
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    This morning I spoke, via e-mail, with one of the fellows who probably was helping with that T1 session. He says he mentioned that your tires might have turned hard and should be replaced.

  17. #17
    Upstanding member. Mike T.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhaber View Post
    I was planning to get new tires for the summer anyways. Something around 200 grams (or less) and all black. Maybe I could get them now and see if they make a difference on the track before they touch the streets. Recommendations (cheaper is better)?
    I haven't seen a (reasonable) tire yet that wasn't ok on that track. I use Continental Supersonics which are (as far as I know) the lightest clincher at about 162g. They are NOT for the street though.

    Marinoni's house-brand Cadence tires work fine if you can find them. Marinoni will ship mailorder. They're on the youths' Marinoni rentals.

  18. #18
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    I'll go out on a limb and suggest that the blue sections, possibly combined with other factors like tires getting old and hard, were the main culprit. We have a local running joke about tires, that's essentially "blah blah blah, most tires will work fine, but if you find yourself behind someone on red Tufos, watch out!". I know one guy who slid about a meter sideways on our straightaway (about 17 degrees) on some red Tufos, and then another guy who should have known better showed up about a week later on the same model tire and did about the same thing. They use silica filler for durability, instead of carbon black, and it makes them slippery. We even had someone who slid out (twice!) in the first corner of his pursuit start at elite nats. After the first one the neutral mechanic tried to make him borrow some wheels with better tires, but he didn't. So he slid again and was done...

    The rubino pros with grey where your blue is seem to work fine on our track, so I'd even suspect that your rear tire is causing you trouble and you don't have the feel yet for what it feels like just before you slide or as you start. I'd replace both tires anyway, and look for something all black that feels kind of sticky, or just get whatever is on the rentals and run over it a few times with some scotch-brite.

    There's a little section on tire selection on the ADT website: http://lavelodrome.org/Training/AccelClassSummary.htm but it doesn't really say anything that hasn't been said in this thread. It's probably the biggest question we get from new riders, or riders from other tracks.

    I was talking about tires last night over dinner with a friend who doesn't bike. My friend, who's been doing some research in latex and polymers lately, pointed out that one of the books that pretty much every scientist and engineer owns (and we compare what year's version to see how old we are) is the CRC handbook, which contains enormous amounts of data on all sorts of materials. CRC is the "Chemical Rubber Company" who first published the book because they were accumulating enormous amounts of materials data because rubber properties are often very fine tuned with strange materials for very particular applications.
    Track - the other off-road
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  19. #19
    asleep at the wheel fixedpip's Avatar
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    I've had slippage issues on the track (on less banked ones than London) with coloured tires esp when crossing lane markers (paint/tape). For training I'm a big fan of high(ish) TPI all black tires like Vittoria Open Corsas, Rubino Pros etc.

    I suspect it was the coloured rubber compound, combined with the age/condition of the tires and the angle/surface of the track that may have been your literal downfall (sorry couldn't resist).

  20. #20
    the darkness DARTHVADER's Avatar
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    if you skid on the street to scrub off speed your rear tire is probably pretty squared off...maybe get a nice new rear tire to swap when you go to the track...
    help.

  21. #21
    Senior Member melville's Avatar
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    The context is different, but the sentiment carries over: Carroll Smith, famous motor racing engineer, is quoted as favoring tires that were round and black. His take was that he didn't want the tire to be a variable from week to week, like when multiple tire manufacturers were engaged in a tire development war.

    I see those garish colored tires, and hear the riders of same speak of "Man, the improved cornering...", and yet on a road ride I'm always the first at the bottom of a twisty descent.

    Round and black.

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    melville, I don't agree. I've ridden heaps of different tyre brands and models. They do handle differently and some are better than others for given conditions. I like Veloflex Pave clinchers for the track and Michellin ProRace3 for the road.

    To the OP, hard luck. That sucks. Change your tires and get back up there. Also 50 deg. is a baptism by fire if ever there was one!

  23. #23
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    Probikekit sometimes has cheap Veloflex Open Tubulars (work like clinchers). Those would be nice.

  24. #24
    Senior Member melville's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunaka View Post
    melville, I don't agree. I've ridden heaps of different tyre brands and models. They do handle differently and some are better than others for given conditions. I like Veloflex Pave clinchers for the track and Michellin ProRace3 for the road.

    To the OP, hard luck. That sucks. Change your tires and get back up there. Also 50 deg. is a baptism by fire if ever there was one!

    No, I didn't say there isn't a difference. Just that you can usually find what you need in the round and black department. And that roadies who fuss about their tires usually aren't riding hard enough to make a difference.

    I can't speak for a 50 deg wood track, but I prefer Michelin in a clincher and Vittoria Corsa or Vittoria Crono in a sew-up. Of course, at Marymoor there was actually too much traction (brushed concrete surface) when I was riding it.

  25. #25
    Upstanding member. Mike T.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunaka View Post
    50 deg. is a baptism by fire if ever there was one!
    Actually the perception is far greater than the reality. This track, due to its excellent design of radius to steepness makes it very easy to ride. This past Wednesday we had a regular rider, at the Huff & Puff session, who is up into his eighties. He was rolling around at about 25kph or 15mph. Some of us younger Huff & Puffers would lap him about every 3-5 laps.

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