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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 03-07-09, 01:07 PM   #1
carleton
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Cadence and training for a beginner

Sup, guys. Long time rider, first time Track rider here.

It's my understanding that power and cadence are two major components to being successful at the track. I'm in the gym hitting the leg presses, calf machines, and leg machines pretty regularly.

I can maintain a 100RPM cadence riding my track bike on the road for as long as my route will allow. I can get up to 120 for maybe a half mile or so. Then my hips start to bounce a bit (I'm sure that's a result of bad technique).

So, what cadences should I shoot for to be competitive as a beginning racer?

Thanks, C
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Roadies can run tempo all year as that's what humans were designed for. If you want to be a cheetah, lay around and lick your paws more.
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Old 03-07-09, 10:03 PM   #2
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For sprinting, you'll want to get up to the 140 range.

You can train this type of leg speed by doing flying starts in a light gear from the top of the banking at the track.. Alternately, if you have access to a spin bike (fixed gear type, heavy front disk wheel) you can practice getting your rpms to 180+ ...

For endurance type races, ie: mass starts and pursuit you should work closer to the 120 range with a heavier gear... but there is a lot more info that I don't know about.

Best advice, get out there and ride!!
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Old 03-07-09, 11:04 PM   #3
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For sprinting, you'll want to get up to the 140 range.

You can train this type of leg speed by doing flying starts in a light gear from the top of the banking at the track.. Alternately, if you have access to a spin bike (fixed gear type, heavy front disk wheel) you can practice getting your rpms to 180+ ...

For endurance type races, ie: mass starts and pursuit you should work closer to the 120 range with a heavier gear... but there is a lot more info that I don't know about.

Best advice, get out there and ride!!
It's funny that you mention 180+ rpms. I spent 30 minutes on the bike at the gym as a warmup before working out. I cruised comfortably at +/- 110RPM (130 BPM heart rate. max = 185BPM), went up to 125/130 during guitar solos (Metallica, Tool, Rob Zombie...) then maxed out at 183.

I'm not sure how RPMs on "spin bikes" correlate to actual on-road RPMs. Is there any correlation or is the spin bike just stroking my ego?

On the street I ride 51t/19t which gives 70.5 gear inches. I plan to use a 16t and/or 15t for the track which would give 83.8 and 89.4 gear inches respectively. The 19t really makes me spin to keep up with traffic (and my buddies running 48/16 = 78 gear inches).
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Roadies can run tempo all year as that's what humans were designed for. If you want to be a cheetah, lay around and lick your paws more.

Last edited by carleton; 03-07-09 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 03-08-09, 03:30 AM   #4
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Rollers. Smooooooth it out.
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Old 03-08-09, 07:13 AM   #5
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carleton, the idea with using the spin bike is that it helps to train your nervous system to spin at a high cadence.

The translation to the bike is that since you will be doing much lower rpms, the body will cope easily with the stresses.

=)
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Old 03-08-09, 04:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
It's my understanding that power and cadence are two major components to being successful at the track.
So, what cadences should I shoot for to be competitive as a beginning racer?

Thanks, C
Cadence drills are great but since you don't come from a road racing background spending time on group rides will be a better use of your time.
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Old 03-08-09, 05:03 PM   #7
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Whats the best way of measuring cadence? Do many bike computers track this?
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Old 03-08-09, 06:08 PM   #8
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Whats the best way of measuring cadence? Do many bike computers track this?
cateye makes a wired computer with cadence for around $ 35. look for it.


I use it on my stationary spin bike =)
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Old 03-08-09, 07:22 PM   #9
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Cadence drills are great but since you don't come from a road racing background spending time on group rides will be a better use of your time.
Cool. Will do. But it's much easier to ride the rollers in my living room and the bike at the gym than with a group.

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carleton, the idea with using the spin bike is that it helps to train your nervous system to spin at a high cadence.

The translation to the bike is that since you will be doing much lower rpms, the body will cope easily with the stresses.

=)
Got it.

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Rollers. Smooooooth it out.
Got some, gonna work it out.
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Roadies can run tempo all year as that's what humans were designed for. If you want to be a cheetah, lay around and lick your paws more.
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Old 03-11-09, 10:16 AM   #10
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Got the cadence up to 230+ WTF? I think those computers are off on the bikes in the gym...
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Roadies can run tempo all year as that's what humans were designed for. If you want to be a cheetah, lay around and lick your paws more.
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Old 04-22-09, 07:57 AM   #11
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A question ... didn't see the need to start a new thread since this one seems to pertain ...

Like Carleton, I've been riding for quite a while but I only recently developed an interest in riding at the velodrome. I am going to be taking lessons later this month, and I would like to not totally suck at this. In terms of cycling, I have been a commuter/non-competitive cyclist. I don't really have time to go to the gym to build my quads, nor do I have the body type that easily builds muscle. So my question is ... for someone like me, what would be a good strategy for getting better at track racing? My technique should be passable or average, as my daily driver is a fixed gear. I've been trying to learn the strategy of the different races also.

Perhaps a change in my diet or daily riding routine? I could probably work in some training exercises even though I hate exercising. Gym is doubtful though, since the free time I'd have for that instead will be spent at the velodrome.

And speaking of diet, what is a good diet for track training? Pardon my ignorance, but frankly this is the first time in my life I have considered the consequences of what I eat. But if anything could make me care, it would be bikes.

Thanks in advance for any advice you might have!
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Old 04-22-09, 09:46 AM   #12
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So my question is ... for someone like me, what would be a good strategy for getting better at track racing? My technique should be passable or average, as my daily driver is a fixed gear. I've been trying to learn the strategy of the different races also.
Ride at the track a lot
Watch lots of track races
Read the rule book
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Old 04-22-09, 09:53 AM   #13
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Ride at the track a lot
Watch lots of track races
Read the rule book
Ask lots of questions
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Old 04-22-09, 10:16 AM   #14
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A question ... didn't see the need to start a new thread since this one seems to pertain ...

Like Carleton, I've been riding for quite a while but I only recently developed an interest in riding at the velodrome. I am going to be taking lessons later this month, and I would like to not totally suck at this. In terms of cycling, I have been a commuter/non-competitive cyclist. I don't really have time to go to the gym to build my quads, nor do I have the body type that easily builds muscle. So my question is ... for someone like me, what would be a good strategy for getting better at track racing? My technique should be passable or average, as my daily driver is a fixed gear. I've been trying to learn the strategy of the different races also.

Perhaps a change in my diet or daily riding routine? I could probably work in some training exercises even though I hate exercising. Gym is doubtful though, since the free time I'd have for that instead will be spent at the velodrome.

And speaking of diet, what is a good diet for track training? Pardon my ignorance, but frankly this is the first time in my life I have considered the consequences of what I eat. But if anything could make me care, it would be bikes.

Thanks in advance for any advice you might have!
a few thoughts... change the way that you ride daily. if you ride kind of casually (like i do when i'm commuting, usually fairly relaxed), start going a little bit harder. aim for sharp accelerations, and when you've gotten yourself tired, sprint again. cool down a bit and then try to hold a good strong steady speed for a while.

eating... if you do some sort of workout and have really tired yourself out, make sure you eat protein. keep your diet fairly healthy, balancing carbohydrates, protein, good fats, and fruits and vegetables.

for getting better at the drome, race as much as possible. train with people who are faster than you. ride a lot. watch races. ask questions. understand how races are won, understand your strengths and how to apply them. figure out whose wheel to follow and why, and try your damnedest to follow it.
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Old 04-22-09, 11:54 AM   #15
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Thanks for the advice! I am definitely going to try and integrate this in my daily commuting routine. Generally when I commute I do tire out though because Atlanta is so hilly, and I'm not a great climber, so I have to really power up the hills as fast as I can or I won't make it. I think I average between 15 and 20 MPH in the city on my 5 mile commute, which isn't terrible, I suppose, considering the terrain.

I talked to my friend Laura, and she just told me dieting is as simple as following the new Food Pyramid ... so I am going to try that also.

One drawback is that my workplace does not have showers, so if I am really pushing during my commute I am likely to get really sweaty! Hah.
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Old 04-23-09, 09:13 AM   #16
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Whats the best way of measuring cadence? Do many bike computers track this?
Another way is take an old/cheap computer, set the wheel size to 1666 and unit to km, and it will show your cadence when you hook the magnet to your crank arm. If the speed shows 10.6kph (for example) you're spinning at 106 rpm.
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Old 04-23-09, 12:11 PM   #17
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What i do to make my commute a little more interesting is ride easy on the way to work and then hard on the way home. I only live about one mile from work and i take it easy on the way there but usualy do atleast twenty miles on the way home. Take a long cut and it will pay off.
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Old 04-23-09, 03:13 PM   #18
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I was reluctant to do a 5 mile bike ride to work because of 2 issues.

1) We don't have showers at my office building.
2) I am NOT a morning person and I often run late as is.

But I might do it anyhow just because it would be a perfect workout.
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Old 04-24-09, 11:22 AM   #19
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Another way is take an old/cheap computer, set the wheel size to 1666 and unit to km, and it will show your cadence when you hook the magnet to your crank arm. If the speed shows 10.6kph (for example) you're spinning at 106 rpm.
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Old 04-27-09, 07:37 PM   #20
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devils haircut--take steroids.

if you don't have a body that builds muscle easily, you're going to have a hard time at track racing. just saying...you will not win many races when you are going up against people who are jacked.

Also, just b/c you ride a fixed gear bike on the road doesn't mean your technique is good...at all. I recently went to a velodrome in Dallas (after riding a fixed gear bike in the street) and was surprised by how bad my technique was according to the coach and some olympians.
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Old 04-28-09, 01:00 PM   #21
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Hah, steroids. I'd look really funny on steroids I bet. I know I'll never be pro material at the velodrome, but my desire would be to not suck, basically. I'd like to come in somewhere in the middle of a pack of amateurs. As for my technique, I am sure it could stand for some improvement, but I meant more in terms of it being average compared to all my friends who are also just starting.

I doubt I will take any sort of performance enhancing stuff. I know I am pretty much screwed racing against people with thighs that are bigger than my torso, but I know my limits! Lol.
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Old 04-28-09, 01:05 PM   #22
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haha, yeah, i didn't mean to sound like a jerk but reading my post I think that's how I came off. And I was jk about roids. I would SERIOUSLY recommend taking some sort of protein/calorie supplement if you are skinny. Something w/ tons of calories and tons of protein. Cell tech used to work well for me when I was a HS athlete.

But yeah, just get out on the track and ride, man! ride a ton and eat even more! Atlanta is hilly, so you should get out on the roads and do long rides. Do lots of sprints.
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Old 04-29-09, 02:00 AM   #23
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OK here's an update.

After training and racing for about 2 months the first thing I've noticed is that whatever speed/cadence number you reach on the street you will maybe get 75% of that on the track. The corners eat up your speed...and there are 4 corners on the track that come up very quickly. You have to fight them to keep whatever speed you gained on the straights.

Do the spin bikes with resistance for more realistic feeling.

Between the bike and the gym, more gains came while on the bike than in the gym.

My conditioning sucks. When I used to play junior tennis I had a coach that used to be pro and I asked him, "What's it like to hit balls at a pro level?" His response was, "Think of the hardest single ball you've ever hit...now do that every stroke of every rally." So far, that's what racing has been like for me...in the beginner group. I think I say, "Holy f*ck. I can't go on like this." during every race. We have 4 races per race night.

I know a lot of it is mental, pain thresholds and all of that. That's all new to me. I was a good city rider and assumed that racing would be easy for me. It's not. Think about it, how many times do you say, "Holy f*ck. I can't go on like this." on your commute to work?
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Old 04-29-09, 02:51 PM   #24
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Haha ... no you didn't sound like a jerk. But maybe I am just desensitized to teh intarwebs.

Carleton, I will likely be seeing you at the track after I take the certification course. Keep on truckin' man! I doubt I will be able to keep up with you and your CF rig though!
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