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  1. #1
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    Olympic Team Pursuit, Why the Big Swing-Away?

    Top-notch team pursuit teams work like clocks...wondering why lead riders swerve up 3 meters to top of track to let teammates follow thru? Seems like well-drilled teams would have lead rider move up only 1 meter out of line to let teammates ride thru but even champ teams have the front rider swerve way up the track. Yeah lead rider letting teammates ride thru is conserving energy & the little bit of energy used to swerve to top of track is minimal compared to overall effort but OTOH all the top teams do this.

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    Wear One IvyCap's Avatar
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    Better cut. High bank so that you get max decline when falling back in line. Kind of like a flick during match sprints which tends to catch opponents off guard and allows for a faster dig.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
    Top-notch team pursuit teams work like clocks...wondering why lead riders swerve up 3 meters to top of track to let teammates follow thru? Seems like well-drilled teams would have lead rider move up only 1 meter out of line to let teammates ride thru but even champ teams have the front rider swerve way up the track. Yeah lead rider letting teammates ride thru is conserving energy & the little bit of energy used to swerve to top of track is minimal compared to overall effort but OTOH all the top teams do this.
    Remember, no one wants to be in the wind unprotected. So, the faster you can get behind your teammates, the better.

    EDIT:

    Refer to sideshow_bob's post below.
    Last edited by carleton; 08-07-12 at 06:34 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    The big swing allows the lead rider to slow down quickly, let the teammates speed on past, then dive down the bank and catch up to speed quickly for "free" with the potential energy stored when he went up the banking.
    I sort of think it's the opposite. I ride a few team pursuits at a reasonably high level. When I download my data at the end of rides, once we are up to speed, the speed stays very constant. If you only swing a little way up to let everyone past, you have to wash off quite a bit of speed, and you then put yourself in the box as the train comes past getting back up to speed and getting back on. If you swing a long way up you maintain speed but you are riding a further distance, so as the train comes through you are basically already at speed, and if you have washed any off, the bank gives it back with much less effort.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sideshow_bob View Post
    I sort of think it's the opposite. I ride a few team pursuits at a reasonably high level. When I download my data at the end of rides, once we are up to speed, the speed stays very constant. If you only swing a little way up to let everyone past, you have to wash off quite a bit of speed, and you then put yourself in the box as the train comes past getting back up to speed and getting back on. If you swing a long way up you maintain speed but you are riding a further distance, so as the train comes through you are basically already at speed, and if you have washed any off, the bank gives it back with much less effort.
    I think we are saying the same thing.

    My "slow down quickly" was a bad phrase. It don't mean actual speed, but speed in relation to the measurement line. The bike is traveling the same speed, but it's now going vertically, not horizontally. The teammates are going horizontal.

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    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    ultimately it allows you to get back in the draft much quicker. If you do a shallow swing up, it may take 1/8 - 1/4 of the track to get back on the wheel. If you have done a two man pursuit with 1/2 lap pulls, you have to get back on your partner's wheel fast, or you have no advantage from a 1/2 track pull.

    I once won a race against a stronger rider just because he couldn't do 1/2 lap pulls, when the two of us did a breakaway.

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    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    either way you're slowing down, and you're going so fast, your legs are screaming, you want all the banking you can get to get back up to speed, slam back on to the end of the line and getting back on the train.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

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    Agree with the general answers. If you compare it with a 4-up team time trial on the road, or even the chaingang, the hardest part of the peel-off on the road is when you have to accelerate to drop in behind the last rider, having slowed down to allow the team/group to go past.

    as others have said, swinging up the banking slows you down quickly, gong back down the banking accelerates you with less effort onto the wheel of the last rider and you therefore spend less time unsheltered by your fellow team members and therefore spend less energy.

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    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    I was doing this again last night (two team pursuits to lap the field). If you do it in one smooth fluid motion, it feels great, and you can get back on the wheel quickly and with no extra effort. For me, just quickly swinging up above the blue line and back down put me right on the wheel of my partner. You do want to get on your partner’s wheel as quickly as possible to take advantage of that draft – track pull on a 200m track doesn’t give me much time for drafting.

    I have seen beginners that take a lap to get back on the wheel where they are again taking a pull and get no benefit from the draft. That is what happens when you move 1 meter up the track – it takes a long time for the person below to pass, you have extra effort to accelerate to get back on the wheel, and you are missing a lot of draft time.

    Practice it; it is a good skill to have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by atbman View Post
    Agree with the general answers. If you compare it with a 4-up team time trial on the road, or even the chaingang, the hardest part of the peel-off on the road is when you have to accelerate to drop in behind the last rider, having slowed down to allow the team/group to go past.

    as others have said, swinging up the banking slows you down quickly, gong back down the banking accelerates you with less effort onto the wheel of the last rider and you therefore spend less time unsheltered by your fellow team members and therefore spend less energy.
    This seems to make sense though I'm guessing visibility plays a big part; lead rider swings up high & doesn't have to look straight back to see exactly where/when to fall back into place.

    Well I never rode track but it's nice to see NBC doing a decent job at covering current Olympic velodrome events. They published the broadcast schedules on the net & (manual-programmed) Tivo gets all the cycling bits. Have seen previously that even non-race fans can get into track events (esp sprints) 'cause they're short duration & sometimes quite spectacular.

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    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
    This seems to make sense though I'm guessing visibility plays a big part; lead rider swings up high & doesn't have to look straight back to see exactly where/when to fall back into place.
    Visibility doesn't really drive it at all- after you've done a few zillion of them gets pretty automatic to get back onto the line. Chas58 described it pretty well- it's about minimizing the energy spent once you're off the front.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitingduck View Post
    Visibility doesn't really drive it at all- after you've done a few zillion of them gets pretty automatic to get back onto the line. Chas58 described it pretty well- it's about minimizing the energy spent once you're off the front.
    Well thanks for the answers, I have to trust yalls' knowledge more than my guess. Still seems like swinging wide breaks the draft & advantage of swooping down off banking is technically outweighed by lost momentum of swooping up. I'm guessing that the effort of leading vs following is so much more that the small effort of climbing the banking is minimal anyway.

    A non-biker friend commented on the more minor 2012 Olympic sports like keirin & trampoline, I'm hoping Madison comes back!

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    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    It's no extra effort to climb the banking during an exchange-- you just shift your weight and go up while you maintain your constant effort. All the energy you pay to go up the banking comes right back out when you come back down. It saves you energy because you do slow down a little while doing it, so you're paying less in wind resistance (the energy there goes as v^3). It's *way* easier to switch in a paceline on the track than on the road if you're doing it in the turns, and as atbman says, if you're doing it right you don't have to put in that acceleration to get back on the back of the line, it comes from the elevation and angular momentum (you're changing radius, too). There are times when you only go up a foot or so, but that's mostly just in mass start races where you want to force the pace or keep a position near the front when you get back in.

    Madison is another example of a race where you use the shape of the track for speed and energy management-- when you go from racing to relief you generally want to do it quickly so you can use the speed you already have to get up the track while using the track to drop your speed down to light tempo. Getting back in you do most of your acceleration up high and then use the track to get the last bit of speed to match your partner as you come back in. When the race is fast it's easiest if you make the exchanges at the exits of the turns so you can put the energy in slowly climbing the track at large radius and then get it back in a fast acceleration when you drop down.

    I'd like to see madison come back, too-- it's an awesome race. I hope they keep the miss and out though.
    Last edited by bitingduck; 08-09-12 at 08:51 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bitingduck View Post
    It's no extra effort to climb the banking during an exchange-- you just shift your weight and go up while you maintain your constant effort. All the energy you pay to go up the banking comes right back out when you come back down. It saves you energy because you do slow down a little while doing it, so you're paying less in wind resistance (the energy there goes as v^3). It's *way* easier to switch in a paceline on the track than on the road if you're doing it in the turns, and as atbman says, if you're doing it right you don't have to put in that acceleration to get back on the back of the line, it comes from the elevation and angular momentum (you're changing radius, too). There are times when you only go up a foot or so, but that's mostly just in mass start races where you want to force the pace or keep a position near the front when you get back in.

    Madison is another example of a race where you use the shape of the track for speed and energy management-- when you go from racing to relief you generally want to do it quickly so you can use the speed you already have to get up the track while using the track to drop your speed down to light tempo. Getting back in you do most of your acceleration up high and then use the track to get the last bit of speed to match your partner as you come back in. When the race is fast it's easiest if you make the exchanges at the exits of the turns so you can put the energy in slowly climbing the track at large radius and then get it back in a fast acceleration when you drop down.

    I'd like to see madison come back, too-- it's an awesome race. I hope they keep the miss and out though.
    OK, I'm starting to see the point about banking helping accelerate back onto group. Had assumed that switching rider was still going at virtually same speed as other riders but no, he/she does have to slow a bit so the 'exchange' doesn't take too long I guess. Didn't know the Olympics had a miss 'n out, dunno if NBC covered that. Saw one live, I had thought it would be super-dangerous with rear riders sprinting INTO a pack but no, the "pros" seem to manage it pretty safely. BTW before the track events started I set Tivo to record them all, disappointed that some of the recordings didn't include the advertised velodrome events. Velodrome is indoors so I assumed events would stay on a strict schedule, probably NBC didn't keep to their schedule. Missed the road race on tv & tried to watch it on NBC's web site (nice that they have video of entire event) but the server was overloaded, it wouldn't show.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
    OK, I'm starting to see the point about banking helping accelerate back onto group. Had assumed that switching rider was still going at virtually same speed as other riders but no, he/she does have to slow a bit so the 'exchange' doesn't take too long I guess.
    In a fast TP his speed doesn't change a whole lot, and most of the acceleration and deceleration are taken care of by the banking. You just have to keep the effort going til you're back on, but using the banking keeps from overloading your legs getting back on. It's a pretty fluid move, and once you've done it a few times it's pretty natural. If you spend a lot of time on the track you do thousands and thousands of exchanges, and even if they're not all at the same speed as a TP, or in aerobars, you do learn to use the track to minimize the effort. Going from a 45 degree, 250 m track to a 30 degree, 333 m track you really notice, because on the shallow 333 the track doesn't help you as much.


    Didn't know the Olympics had a miss 'n out, dunno if NBC covered that. Saw one live, I had thought it would be super-dangerous with rear riders sprinting INTO a pack but no, the "pros" seem to manage it pretty safely.
    It's part of the international omnium. They couldn't really be run internationally until recently because nobody can understand their number being called out in a foreign language when they can't hear very well and can barely breathe. They use little radio alerts on the handlebars (like the lightup coasters you get in some restaurants to tell you your food or table is ready). Miss and outs aren't particularly dangerous- Cat 5's can race them just fine. Nobody really sprints into the back of the pack-- the front slows down as soon as it crosses the line and people stack up and try to go one of two places-- either fast around the outside (the correct move) or dive for the big hole at the bottom to beat the guys who are in back coming over the top. The guy who dives will get stuck behind the slowing riders who are already safe and end up out. Sometimes they survive, but then are usually in the wrong spot next time, and get pulled a lap later. Getting out the back when you're pulled is pretty easy, so it's generally pretty safe. And experienced riders generally know if they're out or not before they finish crossing the line. I haven't seen many crashes in miss and outs-- occasionally there's a tangle at the bottom or someone get pushed into the upper wall.

    Win and outs are much more dangerous. In a win and out you go some number of laps, then there's a sprint for first. Whoever wins that pulls out of the race and the next lap is the sprint for second. Whoever wins that pulls out and so on. The problem is that a lot of riders (especially inexperienced ones) don't hold their line at the end of the sprint, and there's a whole race coming over the top of them. They also have to get out of the race safely from the front rather than the back, which is a bit trickier without impeding the riders behind.
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  16. #16
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    "miss and out" is a new title for me. Over here they are called an eliminator (formal) or a Devil (informal) - Devil being short for "Devil take the hindmost".

  17. #17
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    "miss and out" is a new title for me. Over here they are called an eliminator (formal) or a Devil (informal) - Devil being short for "Devil take the hindmost".
    Those names occasionally get used for it as well, but in american it's generally miss and out. There are a couple different versions that are common in the US. In one common version, riders are pulled until there are 3 riders left, then it's 3 laps to the finish with a 3 up sprint. For most of recent history in SoCal it seems to be true elimination races (which I prefer) where riders just keep getting pulled every lap or every other lap until there's one left. When turnout is small, we sometimes give people "strikes" where you get a strike each time you're last, and get pulled after 3 (or some other number)
    Track - the other off-road
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