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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 02-29-12, 11:14 AM   #1
joakley
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First lasting advice

Thought this might be helpful for all riders new to the track. What was the one bit of advice you were given when you first started track that you remember and still use today?
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Old 02-29-12, 11:46 AM   #2
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- When in doubt, hold your line.
- Hold your line through the finish and don't sit up because riders are coming in behind you at full speed.
- Check and maintain your equipment regularly.
- Be predictable, even when making unannounced moves during a race.
- You'll have to race it and see. You can't kilo with a sliderule. (by baby puke)
- It's all about the engine.

Some (what I think are) original saying from me:
- Pay attention to what equipment people are not using as much as what they are.
- Spend money to buy equipment to solve particular problems. If you don't have any problems in particular, then there is no need to spend any money.
- High-end equipment is used to handle higher torque and to help lower wind resistance. They do not create speed or power.*
- You can't buy speed. A coach, annual track pass, proper bike fit, & gym membership will make you faster than any piece of high-end equipment like carbon frames, discs, $300 helmets, etc...
- Championships and Medals are earned during training. You pick them up at events.



*I knew a young guy that had more money than sense. He was interested in racing...but more interested in equipment. He never trained, instead he was a craigslist and ebay champion. Within a short period of time, he had a world class race-spec carbon bike with all the components...complete with Mavic Io/Comete wheelset. I watched him race and he didn't have the fitness to even finish a short Cat5 race. All while drawing unneeded attention to himself based on his really flashy bike.
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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; 03-01-12 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 02-29-12, 12:08 PM   #3
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Thanks for the pointers Carleton! Aside from the power and speed stuff, it's amazing how much advice I've heard and read about that is built around being safe and predictable. I know how true that stuff is from racing cars and motorcycles. One bonehead move can ruin everyone's day.
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Old 02-29-12, 12:29 PM   #4
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Thanks for the pointers Carleton! Aside from the power and speed stuff, it's amazing how much advice I've heard and read about that is built around being safe and predictable. I know how true that stuff is from racing cars and motorcycles. One bonehead move can ruin everyone's day.
Contrary to popular belief, track racing is actually safer than crit racing. This is probably due to several reasons:
- No brakes.
- The Race Director can see the entire race at all times and riders are admonished immediately after races.
- No corners.
- Emphasis on etiquette.


It's organized chaos...like a beehive.

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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 02-29-12, 12:35 PM   #5
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Here is how a typical open track warmup might look:

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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 02-29-12, 01:34 PM   #6
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"Do not change line for squirrel!"
--Eddie B.
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Old 02-29-12, 02:51 PM   #7
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There is quote that I always like to think about when training. I cannot remember who said it, a UK track sprinter I dont remember which one. "I kick my own arse today, so I can kick yours race day."
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Old 02-29-12, 04:05 PM   #8
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There is quote that I always like to think about when training. I cannot remember who said it, a UK track sprinter I dont remember which one. "I kick my own arse today, so I can kick yours race day."
That quote is worth saving! That and putting on the toptube so every time you look down...BOOM!
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Old 02-29-12, 05:10 PM   #9
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coming from a road racing background, are there any habits I need to leave on the road?
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Old 02-29-12, 05:15 PM   #10
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Wide arms, throwing your bike side to side, and standing to get more power are all not very usefull on the track. Im sure there are others.
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Old 02-29-12, 06:28 PM   #11
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coming from a road racing background, are there any habits I need to leave on the road?
No coasting - keep pedalling!
Keep pressure on the pedals and speed up on the corners when on a steep timber track. Wood burns...
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Old 02-29-12, 08:29 PM   #12
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Keep pedalling/don't stop pedalling.

HOLD YOUR LINE, especially in a finish!

In a sprint finish, I had a friend start swinging up the track because he knew I was behind him and to make room for me to come through. What he didn't realise was that I was already coming around him.......Phwoar, almost had to change the knicks after that race!
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Old 02-29-12, 09:36 PM   #13
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- The Race Director can see the entire race at all times and riders are admonished immediately after races.
What do you mean after? If there's a decent PA system you'll hear about it during the race!
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Old 02-29-12, 09:39 PM   #14
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coming from a road racing background, are there any habits I need to leave on the road?
Making lateral moves without looking first.

*Always* do a quick shoulder check before you move laterally. It lets you see if someone is overlapped, and is a "turn signal" for other people to know you're moving over. It won't telegraph your moves, but it will make things a lot safer. That's probably my biggest complaint about roadies. People are generally a lot closer together on the track, so much smaller moves will lead to contact.
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Old 02-29-12, 09:41 PM   #15
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- It's all about the engine. Period.
I'd dispute that a bit- once you're at a certain point with the engine you can make up for lack of engine with more brains.

Everything else I'd agree with and put in bold, too.
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Old 02-29-12, 09:47 PM   #16
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Also, check out the "highlights box" and the "General" section just below it on the details of the accelerated class at HDC. The rest of the writeup is details. For some racing tips, go to the bottom.
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Old 02-29-12, 09:57 PM   #17
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"Do not change line for squirrel!"
--Eddie B.
Hey Ray, that also goes for the bunnies!
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Old 02-29-12, 11:43 PM   #18
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Good points above.

I thought of another one: Don't freak out if someone touches you. The freakout will cause more havoc than the touch.

You can always tell the veteran roadies and the track racers when you see them on the road. They ride within inches of each other like it's no big deal.

I'm friends with a young woman who raced 2 seasons on the track before trying crits and one of the first things she said after her first crit was, "Man. I was like a foot away from the other girl while going through the turn and she started freaking out. I don't understand what the big deal was." hahaha.
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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 03-01-12, 01:34 AM   #19
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"Don't focus on numbers, focus on your execution." -Isaac
"Don't look down, ever." -Wada-san
"Hold on loosely" -.38 Special
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Old 03-01-12, 09:58 AM   #20
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I thought of another one: Don't freak out if someone touches you. The freakout will cause more havoc than the touch.

You can always tell the veteran roadies and the track racers when you see them on the road. They ride within inches of each other like it's no big deal.
+1
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Old 03-01-12, 02:37 PM   #21
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I'd dispute that a bit- once you're at a certain point with the engine you can make up for lack of engine with more brains.

Everything else I'd agree with and put in bold, too.
True: I got passed at the finish line by a 76 year old racer once, because at the time he had a lot more tactical expeirence than I did.
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Old 03-01-12, 02:44 PM   #22
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Hold your line
Go up track to pass and to avoid accidents
Always do a shoulder check when moving up track or passing.
Don’t overlap wheels
When catching a wheel, decelerate early. You have no brakes, and when you get into someone’s slipstream at speed it is easy to come up on them too fast.
STICK means hold your line. Use it when you think there is potential danger ahead of you, and listen to it when you hear it behind you.
It is pretty rare for anyone to pass on the left – people new to the track should always be passing to the right.

Strong road riders are potentially very dangerous when new at the track. Power without track discipline and control is dangerous. Even if you are the strongest person out there, ride with caution and control. One false mistake by a strong newbie may take down the whole pace line.
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Old 03-01-12, 08:55 PM   #23
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Marymoor's website has some pretty good PDFs on it for new racers. I especially like the terms and slang one. The number placement download is goofy, but I am sure every one has done it wrong in the past year.

http://velodrome.org/mva/node/71
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Old 03-02-12, 09:16 AM   #24
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Good points above.

I thought of another one: Don't freak out if someone touches you. The freakout will cause more havoc than the touch.

You can always tell the veteran roadies and the track racers when you see them on the road. They ride within inches of each other like it's no big deal.

I'm friends with a young woman who raced 2 seasons on the track before trying crits and one of the first things she said after her first crit was, "Man. I was like a foot away from the other girl while going through the turn and she started freaking out. I don't understand what the big deal was." hahaha.
We actually do a reverse paceline drill occasionally where the paceline rides on the sprinter's line, and you rotate through on the pursuiters line practicing soft elbows and headbutts. If it sounds silly, it is slightly but great for getting used to that sort of thing.



Best single piece of advice I got on the first day was "You cannot go too fast for this track." Which I took (and take) as a personal challenge. The point for a first day class, after talking about minimum stick speed, was to not try to find it.
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Old 03-02-12, 09:42 AM   #25
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Best single piece of advice I got on the first day was "You cannot go too fast for this track." Which I took (and take) as a personal challenge. The point for a first day class, after talking about minimum stick speed, was to not try to find it.
Yeah, the corollary is "speed up to get out of trouble".

It's pretty rare for speeding up to be a bad idea-- people naturally tend to speed up when they get nervous, which is a good thing on a steep track. If there's a crash in front of you, you have to go around to the right (as chas mentioned) and speed is your friend there, too. It's pretty common in neutral-lap slides for everyone to be going *almost* too slow, then someone twitches, exceeds the friction limit, and goes sliding down. Then the people behind them steer uptrack to avoid it and start dropping like flies because they were already going slow and didn't accelerate as they moved up track. Usually it's juniors or cat 5s, and they all then giggle or curse (respectively) and get back up and start over with minimal damage.

So to add one more thing:
"Neutral Lap" does not mean "slow lap"
Watch a P/1/2 race start vs. a 4/5 race start-- the P/1/2 race is starting while people fight for position lining up at the rail, and is usually pretty fast off the rail while people are trying to get better positioned during the neutral lap. A 4/5 race start often makes you want to cover your eyes so you won't have to watch the inevitable slide.
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