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  1. #1
    Senior Member ethman's Avatar
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    Track Training for a Roadie

    Sorry if this has been discussed to death, I did a search and didn't come up with anything from past posts on the board.

    So, as the title says, I'm a roadie who would like to incorporate a little more track training into my workout plan. I don't plan on specializing as a track racer, but I really enjoy racing on the track, would like to get better at it, and can't help thinking how much this will help me in my road races.

    Are there any books out there with training plans or workouts ala Joe Friel's Cycling Bible? Anyone else in a similar boat and feel like they've got some good ideas? The events that I would to gear my training for are the points and scratch races, not so much the pursuits.

    Thanks

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    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Sure, look at the sticky at the top of this section. It was written for someone like you.
    Keep in mind, that you as a good roadie are the most dangerous person on the track. I got hit yesterday in a race by a strong rodie - fortunately he went down and I didn't, and no one was hurt. But a good roadie is strong enough to be dangerous, and often doesn't realize that he doesn't know how to ride a bike as required on a track. Enjoy the read above and be safe! It can be addictive! ;-)

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    Senior Member ethman's Avatar
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    Chas- thanks, I did read that before posting, but I didn't very much detailed info about training. The bit about learning to ride at much higher cadences is helpful along with all the info about gearing. I'm curious about what type of specific workouts you guys might do. Intervals at x rpm for y amount of time at such and such HR... I really have no idea how you guys like to measure your workouts. Is it similar to Friel's periodization plans for roadies and triathletes?

    Btw, I have been trying to be very careful and checking over my shoulders before changing lanes. I really don't want to be a bull in a china shop out there. And yes, I can see how addictive it is. Thanks for posting!

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    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    The roady that hit me was closing the gap, but didn't realize you tend to accelerate a little coming into my slipstream. He should be taping the brakes (backpedling), but has the habit of going up/down track to decelerate. Not good if the track isn't clear.

    For practice, this was posted in another thread:
    "Hook up a computer that measures speed(no need for power or cadence or anything yet) then figure out your max speed for say half a lap. Then ride stedily at 90% that for two laps then full speed for a half. then back it down to 75% for two laps, then back up to full for half. Then take a recovery lap, repeat."

    Something along those lines is good - track riders need acceleration, and practicing jumps makes a big difference. High RPM acceleration will make the difference for ya, and interval training of that is a good plan.

    Sometimes we practice jumping 30sec hard, 60 sec recovery, repeat. Rather similar to a madison also. That and riding 30mph (paceline) for a couple of miles and then sprinting the last 400 meters. When motorpace training, periodiclly practicing hard acceleration into the wind for 100m or so. Some guys like to vary their gearing to develop different muscle skills.

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    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    The roady that hit me was closing the gap, but didn't realize you tend to accelerate a little coming into my slipstream. He should be taping the brakes (backpedling), but has the habit of going up/down track to decelerate. Not good if the track isn't clear.
    He shouldn't be backpedaling, either. When you're coming into the back of a line you should float (essentially softpedal but don't backpedal) as you come into the slipstream so that you slow down smoothly as you get on.
    Track - the other off-road
    http://www.lavelodrome.org

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    The roady that hit me was closing the gap, but didn't realize you tend to accelerate a little coming into my slipstream. He should be taping the brakes (backpedling), but has the habit of going up/down track to decelerate. Not good if the track isn't clear.

    For practice, this was posted in another thread:
    "Hook up a computer that measures speed(no need for power or cadence or anything yet) then figure out your max speed for say half a lap. Then ride stedily at 90% that for two laps then full speed for a half. then back it down to 75% for two laps, then back up to full for half. Then take a recovery lap, repeat."

    Something along those lines is good - track riders need acceleration, and practicing jumps makes a big difference. High RPM acceleration will make the difference for ya, and interval training of that is a good plan.

    Sometimes we practice jumping 30sec hard, 60 sec recovery, repeat. Rather similar to a madison also. That and riding 30mph (paceline) for a couple of miles and then sprinting the last 400 meters. When motorpace training, periodiclly practicing hard acceleration into the wind for 100m or so. Some guys like to vary their gearing to develop different muscle skills.
    Assuming 700cx23~28mm tires and 172.5~175mm crankarms on a fixed-gear roadbike or 165mm crankarms on a typical trackbike ridden on the street, what gearing/inches does one need and at what rpms does one spin to maintain 30mph for two miles without gassing out? Is this possible for seasoned road riders (not racers), or are these numbers applicable only for elite or the near-elite riders?

    I consider myself an ok stronger than weak recreational road rider and I can maintain 18~20mph with my 44t/15t (~80") fix-geared Soho-S for most of my flatish 15mile road circuit that has verrrry looooong straights. The minimum straight is 1/2 mile between traffic lights/intersections....the longest stretch is at least 1 mile long, maybe longer, which I've been riding 3~5x a week in prep for a 6week track class I hope to take in a month ....and I can barely hang on to 30mph @ 130rpm (both Cateye indicated) for more than 15 seconds without gassing out and thighs begging for mercy.

    What should I be doing better with myself and my bike to prep myself for the class? If things work out at the track, I will get a proper track bike for the track. I plan to rent for the class.

    Thanks for the insights!
    Last edited by paipo; 08-30-10 at 02:53 PM.
    May the road be long with the wind on your back.

  7. #7
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    I think you are doing the right thing. my commuter bike (Langster) is 42x16 (70"). I normally ride around 20mph, and sprinting is probably 24-25. Reguardless of the gearing and speed, it teaches my legs how to spin (120-130rpm), and makes my lungs work!

    At the track, with 92" gearing, that relates to 28-30mph steady, and sprinting something over 35mph.

    so, for me riding in a pack on the track at 30mph isn't a problem (92"), but I'm not going that fast on my own on the road!

    If you can do full on 15 seconds, you will be doing one lap on our 200m track. That is a good sprint! See if you can go full out (98%?) for 30 seconds, so you will have some options on how long you can sprint. Doing 15-30 second intervals on your soho is good practice.

    I think you'll be find in the class. There is a lot more to riding the track than just strenght, and I think you are fine with that part.

  8. #8
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitingduck View Post
    He shouldn't be backpedaling, either. When you're coming into the back of a line you should float (essentially softpedal but don't backpedal) as you come into the slipstream so that you slow down smoothly as you get on.
    Well, yes he should. That is a bit advanced for a new rider. First, they need to learn how to decelerate without weaving, or darting up track. But in the long run, the trick is to ride a straight line without darting or sudden braking. One really has to ride on the track with the safety of everyone else in mind. Looking way far ahead to anticipate and not barreling full speed into someone's slipstream, and looking over his right shoulder when moving up track are things that will (hopefully) come with time.

    Of course, if he practices on the road, not the track, and only comes to the ‘dome on race night, he may never learn; being strong enough to win the race may obscure the humility needed to know he is putting everyone else on the track at risk.

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    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    Well, yes he should. That is a bit advanced for a new rider.


    We generally encourage people to just leave a bigger gap when they're learning, rather than backpedal. In a line of 30 people motorpacing it gets really sketchy fast if people start to backpedal.

    First, they need to learn how to decelerate without weaving, or darting up track.
    heading slightly (not weaving or darting) up track, or just poking your head or body out into the wind is preferable to backpedaling.

    But in the long run, the trick is to ride a straight line without darting or sudden braking. One really has to ride on the track with the safety of everyone else in mind. Looking way far ahead to anticipate and not barreling full speed into someone's slipstream, and looking over his right shoulder when moving up track are things that will (hopefully) come with time.
    yes! (though we teach early and often to look before making any lateral motion)

    Of course, if he practices on the road, not the track, and only comes to the ‘dome on race night, he may never learn; being strong enough to win the race may obscure the humility needed to know he is putting everyone else on the track at risk.
    Race turnout here (LA) has gotten good enough that we don't have that problem too much. In carson there's also a great PA system so riders often hear about their sketchy moves right after they make them.
    Track - the other off-road
    http://www.lavelodrome.org

  10. #10
    Senior Member ethman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    Sometimes we practice jumping 30sec hard, 60 sec recovery, repeat. Rather similar to a madison also. That and riding 30mph (paceline) for a couple of miles and then sprinting the last 400 meters. When motorpace training, periodiclly practicing hard acceleration into the wind for 100m or so. Some guys like to vary their gearing to develop different muscle skills.
    So do you practice/workout with a group at the track on a regular basis? I think the velodrome near me does as well... Seems like a different setup then roadies, where we generally just train on our own plan.

  11. #11
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    You will also need to train MAXIMAL efforts in addition to longer intervals. 15 seconds is not a maximal effort. You will probably need a lot more snap to be competitive on the track, so train standing starts and rolling jumps from different speeds really focusing on getting EVERYTHING YOU HAVE into the first few pedal strokes. You are training explosiveness.

    I'm an ex-roadie myself, and for me the snap and acceleration was the biggest difference about track. I came into it the first time with decent road fitness, but when they jumped in a keirin I had no chance of hanging in there, even though I could achieve a not-embarrassing top speed and maintain an ok speed for 30 seconds or so.

  12. #12
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ethman View Post
    So do you practice/workout with a group at the track on a regular basis? I think the velodrome near me does as well... Seems like a different setup then roadies, where we generally just train on our own plan.
    Yes - we have race practice twice a week and then a race once a week, so 3 time on the track for me, in additional to any road riding I do.

    Intially it took me months to get what I would consider half way decent track skills, and then practicing with a group at the track gave me a much better (and specific) workout than I would do on my own.

    Baby Puke is right about the explosiveness. If you practice alone, make this a piece of your practice. That is always a part of my velodrome training. Some riders do weight lifting to improve this skill, and those guys are darn hard to catch!

    It sounds like you are strong enough. Track time will make a big difference, as there are some specific track handling skills you need (and will be taught). Initially, practice being steady, smooth, aware, and a safe rider. That is what will make you stand out from the crowd.

  13. #13
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    In the gym....does dead-lifts, squats, calf-raises, leg-extensions sound about right? Seems like muscles used to perform these excercises are the same ones used to be explosive on the track.....pull pull pull, pump pump pump, lift lift lift, push push push!!!! Or are there other specific weight-training excercises condusive to track performance?
    Last edited by paipo; 08-31-10 at 10:46 PM.
    May the road be long with the wind on your back.

  14. #14
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    I wouldn't worry about calf raises or leg extensions, but deadlifts and the squat are the core of my program. I also like the zercher squat and the Romanian deadlift for variations. You'll want to do some upper body work as well to balance what you get in the core and legs: Press, bench, pull ups/downs, bent over row.

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    Do they ride around a running track? How do they handle the turns? Sounds dangerous to me. Paved tracks would be a must.

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