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  1. #1
    Senior Member spazegun2213's Avatar
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    Spaze goes back to school... to get schooled

    Alright, so I moved to San Diego about a month ago now and have been getting back into cycling by commuting and riding on the weekends. Soon after getting here I discovered there is a velodrome in the area (by that I mean 5 miles from where I live) and that they offer classes. Last week we bought a bike for my wife and the seller had just bought a track bike said it was a blast. After going back and fourth about wanting to spend the money my wife finally asked me last night if I had signed up for the level 1 class. I replied no and she asked why I was being lazy, lol. So last night I signed up for the level one class! It starts next month, so I should have time to get back into a little better shape in hopes of not making a complete fool of myself. I'm super excited about this class and honestly cant wait to come home exhausted from class on mondays

    I'll update this more as the class gets closer, but i've been lurking in here and there are some great threads on starting out. Now, if I get hooked, I need to find a bike/frame to buy.
    '11 allez Comp, very specialized & '09 Pinarello Pista, that only turns left
    It doesn't hurt any less, you just go faster

  2. #2
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Nice! Good luck!

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    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    They are right, it is a blast.

    On your first day out, just concentrate on being smooth and predictable, and on learning.

    Heck, on my first days, I had a hard time not getting vertigo in the turns (although they do flatten out at speeds over 27mph) and relaxing my arms enough so the bike didn't act so darty. There is lots to learn!

  4. #4
    commuter
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    Bring your wife and bikes to the track on Saturday mornings and ride during the public session when any bike is permitted. Stay until noon and you can watch Eddie B coach his riders. Pam is a great coach; glad you're taking the class. She and Tony Olsen taught my wife and me to ride track 13 years ago.

  5. #5
    Senior Member tony2v's Avatar
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    Cool! I help Pam and Thom with the Monday night adult classes. You're going to have a blast! The Monday regulars are a fun and helpful bunch. I'll be there on June 18th to help fit people to their rental bikes.
    Don't forget to come out on Tuesday nights to watch TNR (Tues Night Racing).

  6. #6
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    Hey, Tony! Met Thom at the Stage 8 finish line in LA with John Ledford, just before J did the pit ref thing on Tommeke Boonen, stood in front of him and wouldn't let him go until he autographed his picture on the cover of Velonews.

    Spaze, don't forget about Saturday Night Lights, USAC sanctioned racing once a month through September. June 9 is the next one, SNL3, since it also needs a neo-fascist acronym. It promises to be quite the party. Hopefully we'll see some fast riders come down from LA to animate the racing. April was exciting with 67 riders. Gary will be announcing and there is a rumor about live music.
    Last edited by Ray R; 06-01-12 at 04:07 PM.

  7. #7
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    I'm going to Atlanta Velodrome tonight to start the first week of the 4 Beginner's class program. Hopefully will be fun

  8. #8
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danilo View Post
    I'm going to Atlanta Velodrome tonight to start the first week of the 4 Beginner's class program. Hopefully will be fun
    Sweet. How did it go?

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    Well...

    I'll preface this by saying, I don't ride any bicycle at the moment. I actually just bought a road bike that I haven't even ridden (an old 'vintage' Rossin), that's in Florida at my parents house. So, where I'm getting at, is that I'm horribly unconditioned in terms of cardio. I'm not overweight by any means or weak, I weight train twice a week or so and I play racquetball pretty often too... but this kind of exercise is... well, different. I wanted to try cycling as I hate running, and I also like bicycles in general as I grew up riding BMX bike in trails and the like.

    So the first time at the bank, well I felt like I was riding the banks back home in Daytona... (a bit scary for sure), then I felt the bumps and felt like I wasn't in control then my natural thought was to coast, so I let off but then the pedal pushed me to keep going and my mind said 'duh! no coast, keep pedaling harder' so I did... then I got more comfortable with the banks... I didn't look down but forward, where I want to go not where I'm at (something I picked up in car autocrossing). However, it's not easy as it looks that's for sure, and those bumps don't help.

    I focused on staying in my line... I stayed in the lane between red n' black line and tried to stay in there along the turns... focused on relaxing and doing as little with my arms as possible.

    Then we did some exercises at the end going up and down the banks... that was kind of intimidating at first, but again it worked out. I don't love the feeling of accelerating and my legs being forced to go with the acceleration, but I guess you get used to that.

    My final thoughts is that it is more challenging than I expected and I think that the more conditioned I get, the more fun I'll have as I'll be less worried about my legs burning and more about enjoying the ride.

  10. #10
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    It gets easier.

  11. #11
    No matches Flatballer's Avatar
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    It doesn't get easier, you just get faster. - Lemond.
    It's a bike race, not a tea party. - GirlAnachronism

  12. #12
    Senior Member spazegun2213's Avatar
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    So, here is the report. I go there nearly an hour early and was one of the first in line for a bike. Pam was super helpful and very nice. As you can see from the text I survived, which was my only goal for last night. Bottom line is I had a BLAST! I only forgot to pedal once in the first session and scared the bejesus out of myself on the apron. I also learned that without the little rotate peg thingys (technical term) rat traps are nearly impossible to get into once moving... at least for me. Past that the banking did not scare me at all, and actually reminded me about the banking I've been on in cars. I was shocked at the amount of grip one has on the track though. Surprisingly didnt have any problems starting or stopping on the boards and I'll give kudos to my lazyness at stop lights for my low speed stability (I never want to unclip).

    The last drill was a one lap flyer and from what I saw of the level two group, I have a lot to learn, but thats a good thing I managed a 26.1 last night and was pleasantly surprised. My fat arse can really get up and go when needed.

    Overall, it was a great night! It has also inspired me to look for cheap(ish) track bikes on Craigslist (any recommendations?). I figure if I had this much fun in one night, i should be doing this a few times a week! I'm stoked for next week and really cannot wait for what is has to offer.

    Tony, It was great meeting you last night!
    '11 allez Comp, very specialized & '09 Pinarello Pista, that only turns left
    It doesn't hurt any less, you just go faster

  13. #13
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Nice write up, thanks for sharing. I think most of us share your passion. Next thing you know, you'll be doing that flying lap 10mph faster. You tend to pull a lot of G's in the corners at those speeds though..,.

  14. #14
    Senior Member tony2v's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spazegun2213 View Post
    So, here is the report. I go there nearly an hour early and was one of the first in line for a bike. Pam was super helpful and very nice. As you can see from the text I survived, which was my only goal for last night. Bottom line is I had a BLAST! I only forgot to pedal once in the first session and scared the bejesus out of myself on the apron. I also learned that without the little rotate peg thingys (technical term) rat traps are nearly impossible to get into once moving... at least for me. Past that the banking did not scare me at all, and actually reminded me about the banking I've been on in cars. I was shocked at the amount of grip one has on the track though. Surprisingly didnt have any problems starting or stopping on the boards and I'll give kudos to my lazyness at stop lights for my low speed stability (I never want to unclip).

    The last drill was a one lap flyer and from what I saw of the level two group, I have a lot to learn, but thats a good thing I managed a 26.1 last night and was pleasantly surprised. My fat arse can really get up and go when needed.

    Overall, it was a great night! It has also inspired me to look for cheap(ish) track bikes on Craigslist (any recommendations?). I figure if I had this much fun in one night, i should be doing this a few times a week! I'm stoked for next week and really cannot wait for what is has to offer.

    Tony, It was great meeting you last night!
    It gets better every week as you get the feel of your bike. Next Monday is the Flying 200 meters.
    If you get there early again I'll be there to let riders get their bikes and warmup before class.
    Get use to the cowbells, level two is all about the cowbells!

  15. #15
    Senior Member spazegun2213's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    Nice write up, thanks for sharing. I think most of us share your passion. Next thing you know, you'll be doing that flying lap 10mph faster. You tend to pull a lot of G's in the corners at those speeds though..,.
    It also does not help I have an addictive personality I'm also an adrenalin junkie that has raced crits, cars (still do this actually) and love high octane sports. Now if I could only get into better shape faster!

    Quote Originally Posted by tony2v View Post
    It gets better every week as you get the feel of your bike. Next Monday is the Flying 200 meters.
    If you get there early again I'll be there to let riders get their bikes and warmup before class.
    Get use to the cowbells, level two is all about the cowbells!
    Tony, I now understand just how twitchy track bikes can be. I had only heard stories till monday night. It was hard for me to understand Pam's talk on how to control the bike better when you are standing on it. I just could not relate it to my road bike... but within seconds of standing on the track bike I understood. Everything both the coaches said made sense and was easy to digest which makes the class even better.

    Flying 200m you say? that must be an all out sprint!! I cant wait! As for level 2, I'm hoping that I have the time to sign up as soon as level 1 ends

    oh, and I may or may not be eyeing this
    '11 allez Comp, very specialized & '09 Pinarello Pista, that only turns left
    It doesn't hurt any less, you just go faster

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    We just did the Flying 200m last night... yeah it's pretty dang fast into that first turn, it was challenging to keep the bike in the low end of the bank (pole lane) as the speed just wants to bring the bike up, I think the highest I got was the sprinter's lane

  17. #17
    Senior Member spazegun2213's Avatar
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    Well week 2 has come and gone and here is my brain dump. This week I made the trip to the velodrome on my daily rider and really enjoyed it.. all 5 miles of it. So I got there, said hello, grabbed my bike and tried to warm up more(ish). I still hate rat traps... this time it only took me 2 laps to get into them just enough time to not really be able to warm up. We started with the snake and moved into the pace line for the second drill. This was something near and dear to my heart as a long time ago I rode with a race team when I was not fat and slow. Pace lines are something I'm very familiar with this time I dont need to worry about cars . I felt very comfortable on the wheel of the person in front of me, but i did notice its MUCH harder to control speed and I had to be really on top of that to keep a consistent pace. When level one was brought back into the staging area we watched level 2 to points races. This was really fun seeing a rolling game of chess unfold, so much so I missed nearly 1/2 of what the coach was saying (I'll admit it). After watching that it was intervals starting on the flying 200m line. So we sprinted pole to pole or roughly 1/4 of the track. That reminded me just how rough intervals could be as my legs started to burn after my second run. As quickly as it began it ended, and the real flying 200 was next! We watched level 2 line up and have at! There were some blistering times again and the freight train (chris) was back with something like a low 13, but I dont remember. I managed a 14.7 but seriously slowed down the front straight. Pam (head coach) was nice enough to offer up some "extra credit" after all the 200's finished. When they did I figured I wanted to learn a little more and really "get my monies worth." oh.. I was about to! At first it was just me and then some of the guys from the level 2 group joined.. and when I say chris and another fast rider walk up, I knew I had just tossed my self into the deep end, with the sharks *gulp*

    There were 6 of us total and pam managed to explain the rocket drill to me (I was the only one that had not done it) in 15 seconds and off we went. I was paired with chris, so I figured I would not have to chase him, sweet! Chris gave me some pointers and told me to do my best which was nice. Soon he was off and I was satelliting around the top. Looking back I saw another fast level 2 rider in the back and counted down... 3.. 2.. 1.. out of the saddle and down I went.... annnnd completely missed his wheel. So I continued my sprint and managed to catch him about 1/2 way to his group of 2. He pulled up and off I went... oh boy this is not easy. I managed to catch chris again and he laughed saying that I botched it and gave me pointers about not doing that again. He also said the guy I was chasing was fast.... yup he was. But he was also a bigger guy (I'm not svelte myself). About the time he told me to really ride his draft, he was off again and before I knew it I was counting down....3... 2... 1 and out of the saddle I went, down the banking and managed to catch his wheel nearly perfectly. I tucked in knowing this time was not going to be easy on my legs. Around we went, and by the time I caught chris again I was nearly done. I was really feeling it and wheezing. Chris laughed again and said that time I did much better. I was happy I had come this far and was sort of wondering what type of pace I'd be able to keep up this next time. Before I knew it I was on his wheel and about 1/2 way to may group I lost it... I had to pull up so I apologized to the guy on my wheel and called "out." I felt a little defeated, but I was not the first to call out and that was the last lap anyway.

    I came in, completely wiped out, still breathing heavily feeling torn. I leaned something new, but I also felt like the slowest person out there. As I rode home, I realized how relaxed my allez felt and how good I felt... Another good night, and I'll be back next week to get my butt kicked and learn something new
    '11 allez Comp, very specialized & '09 Pinarello Pista, that only turns left
    It doesn't hurt any less, you just go faster

  18. #18
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spazegun2213 View Post
    oh, and I may or may not be eyeing this
    That's a great price for a great bike (assuming that you can get it for close to $500.)

  19. #19
    Senior Member spazegun2213's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    That's a great price for a great bike (assuming that you can get it for close to $500.)
    As if 60/61's were hard to find in road bikes, they are nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find for used track bikes. I really should have jumped on that. ~$600 for that shipped would have been pretty sweet. Although I think I may be making too much out of the geometry thing. I think I should just get a cheap(ish) bike (or frame) and go from there. Although this monday whilst doing the snake I did have a pedal strike, and that jarred me for a second. but I'm sure with clipless pedals that will be even more infrequent.

    there is an 09 track pro frame on ebay for $400 though... hmmmmmm
    '11 allez Comp, very specialized & '09 Pinarello Pista, that only turns left
    It doesn't hurt any less, you just go faster

  20. #20
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spazegun2213 View Post
    As if 60/61's were hard to find in road bikes, they are nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find for used track bikes. I really should have jumped on that. ~$600 for that shipped would have been pretty sweet. Although I think I may be making too much out of the geometry thing. I think I should just get a cheap(ish) bike (or frame) and go from there. Although this monday whilst doing the snake I did have a pedal strike, and that jarred me for a second. but I'm sure with clipless pedals that will be even more infrequent.

    there is an 09 track pro frame on ebay for $400 though... hmmmmmm
    The older Fuji in the ebay link above is a perfect bike. I've seen that bike win elite US National Championships. Ridden by both elite sprinters and endurance riders. The angles are nice as well as the fork rake. Plus it uses a standard 27.2mm seatpost. Aero seatposts cause more problems than they solve.

    Stay away from the Fuji track pro. The integrated seat post and clamp have LOTS of issues. It also has chainstay issues. Some earlier production models won't clear anything but cranks with wide Q factors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    The older Fuji in the ebay link above is a perfect bike. I've seen that bike win elite US National Championships. Ridden by both elite sprinters and endurance riders. The angles are nice as well as the fork rake. Plus it uses a standard 27.2mm seatpost. Aero seatposts cause more problems than they solve.
    I have the last of the Fuji Track pro with the older design (2008). Cannot fault the bike other than the motor...
    http://climbinglama.blogspot.com.au

  22. #22
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Stay away from the Fuji track pro. The integrated seat post and clamp have LOTS of issues. It also has chainstay issues. Some earlier production models won't clear anything but cranks with wide Q factors.
    Not to mention that with all of these problems, sites were blowing out the track pro frame only for ridiculously low prices. Hipsters were buying these and slapping whatever fork they could find on it to get a stylish Fixed Gear racer.

    You do not want to change the fork rake of a track bike. A real track fork cost more than the frame costs - I have do doubt that many of those frames got the right fork.

    The older bikes were great though - just be careful with ebay.

  23. #23
    Senior Member spazegun2213's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalai View Post
    Cannot fault the bike other than the motor...
    heh, I know that feeling!

    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    Not to mention that with all of these problems, sites were blowing out the track pro frame only for ridiculously low prices. Hipsters were buying these and slapping whatever fork they could find on it to get a stylish Fixed Gear racer.

    You do not want to change the fork rake of a track bike. A real track fork cost more than the frame costs - I have do doubt that many of those frames got the right fork.

    The older bikes were great though - just be careful with ebay.
    good to know. I'll make sure whatever I buy I post here first for a real opinion. I'll probably also stick with something proven (fuji, felt, etc) and not stray from that. I have seen quite a few pista knock off frames that might work as a start....
    '11 allez Comp, very specialized & '09 Pinarello Pista, that only turns left
    It doesn't hurt any less, you just go faster

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    hope you don't mind me posting about my last day at the school here in DLV

    We did pace line again with a sprint on the last lap, that was fun.

    Then we did match sprints... I barely won against what I would consider a strong rider, he started in the front and I stuck on his wheel the whole time until the very last turn where I gave 200% to the finish, maybe got him by like 1/8 of a wheel. Unfortunately that drained me so much 5 minutes later I had absolutely nothing left for our mass race... the whole group took off and I had nothing. I really just felt completely drained, the motor was overheated

    All in all, there's much to learn and I'll have to see if I can pick up a cheap track bike to keep going with this. I learned alot and it was really fun.

  25. #25
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danilo View Post
    hope you don't mind me posting about my last day at the school here in DLV

    We did pace line again with a sprint on the last lap, that was fun.

    Then we did match sprints... I barely won against what I would consider a strong rider, he started in the front and I stuck on his wheel the whole time until the very last turn where I gave 200% to the finish, maybe got him by like 1/8 of a wheel. Unfortunately that drained me so much 5 minutes later I had absolutely nothing left for our mass race... the whole group took off and I had nothing. I really just felt completely drained, the motor was overheated

    All in all, there's much to learn and I'll have to see if I can pick up a cheap track bike to keep going with this. I learned alot and it was really fun.
    Yep, that sounds about right. If you are doing several races, you have to be careful when to use your sprint power. Certainly, if you can learn to draft and then pass at the right time (not too early, not to late), you can be an effective rider. Doing lots of intervals will help a lot with your recovery rate (but if I do them right I always feel like I am going to puke). Most experienced people are not going to let you draft the whole race though.

    Cheap track bikes are fun.

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