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  1. #1
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    Your first season

    I'm a newb to these forums, and to track. I train with a bunch of U16 national champs on their carbon road bikes, whilst I'm on a SS langster. I hopefully will race as soon as the season starts up at my track. I'm looking forward to it and have no idea what to expect. So, what happened in your first season?

    (I have to ride SS+Brakes cause the track won't allow fixies with the roadies.)

  2. #2
    what. kyle!'s Avatar
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    Just have fun and soak it all in. If you set expectations or goals, you likely won't meet them. Your first season should just be sponge time. Talk to the seasoned racers and heed their advice within reason.

    Edit: my first season was great. About half way through I started understanding the pack more and then starting launching weekly suicide attacks in the longer races with about 2 to go. Just focus on getting comfortable with the pack and riding in tight quarters before our try to be a hero.
    Last edited by kyle!; 10-10-12 at 02:33 PM.

  3. #3
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    Just get amongst it and soak up the atmosphere and go to every training session possible. I went out and won my track category and road category in my first season. The second season (last season) was not so great as I was bumped up a grade in both and quickly found out there was a big gap in between our club grades. Not to mention we lost pretty much half of our track season and training due to rain last year.

    This year should be a lot better for me, but I have a goal that should come to fruition the season after this one (we're about to start this season at the end of the month). This season will be much more about learning HOW to race. Experiences so far have shown me that this is a much more valuable ability than being able to just power around.

    HAVE FUN!!

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replies, I'm not expecting to place well in the first season. The training that I attend is pretty much 1/2 fitness and 1/2 riding in a bunch. I'm slowly getting more comfortable with having people around me on the track.
    Sorry if this is a bit of a newb question but I am quite eager to know what to expect.

  5. #5
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Expect it to be hard.

    The best advice I got before my first season was, "don't try to win." Winning should be low on your priority list. Instead, you want to stay safe, get comfortable, get used to the way the pack moves on the velodrome, and watch races. Learn what happens when, how to recognize it, and how to be in the right place for it. Learn how not to get yourself boxed in; learn how to get yourself un-boxed in when you find yourself boxed in. Learn how to carefully get some clear boards in front of you so you can chase after an attack. Learn how to carefully surf wheels to stay sheltered at all times.

    You're a fish learning how to swim in a school - focus on that.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  6. #6
    Italian Stallion mcafiero's Avatar
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    Last season was my first season. I'll tell you the good and the bad.

    First, I had a great time and met some amazing people.

    I decided that if I'm going to be racing on the track, that I am going to do it right: got a coach (a great one, btw), and a good bike that I can grow into (Dolan DF3), and dedicated 100% of my training towards the prospect of track racing, specifically sprints.

    It was a huge commitment. Every day I trained. Some days in the gym, some days on the road and other days driving 3 hours round trip to my track. But I love working out, so it was fine!

    I don't even want to know how much $$ I dropped on cycling. Between gear, bikes, race fees, travel to Frisco TX and Los Angeles for some racing, more gear, bike repairs, etc.... I spent a LOT of money.

    The team I ride with is full of world-class masters racers: world record holders, national champs, a really strong elite racer... so being the new guy with no experience was hard sometimes. I am told that I am a really strong rider, but I never felt that I was because of the company that I was among. But I managed to win a few races and had a lot of fun.

    Since Nationals was held on my home track, it only made sense to compete at Nat's. I rode pretty ****ty. I couldn't stay below the stayers line in my 200 or team sprint and felt pretty embarrassed in both events. And my confidence was shaken and it effected my performance in the sprints as well. The highlight of my experience was getting to race Carleton twice. He beat me once and I beat him once, so I hope we'll get a tie breaker next season!

    Ended up 9th in the Sprints at Nat's.

    I was really annoyed because at one point I mentioned to my coach that I was being really good with my diet, but was told, "Don't worry about your diet, you need calories.". Well he obviously doesn't realize how much I can eat. I gained a lot of weight and got crazy fat. I don't blame my coach, but it sucked.

    After Nat's I was so frustrated, I considered selling all of my gear. No joke. I like winning. That's all. But I got over it and the switch is back "ON" again.

    This year I'm going to be more careful about my diet. I have just about lost all the weight I gained.

    So my advice? Give it your best and set high goals, but know that it takes a few years to really get good at it. Good luck!
    "Go out hard. When it hurts... speed up"
    I have a grande hairy chest and I am of Italian descent.
    2010 Cannondale Supersix
    2011 Dolan DF3

  7. #7
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    If you're doing TT's, you'll see the biggest drops in your times in that first year, depending on your fitness going into it. There is so much technical stuff to know about riding a good time on the track compared to the road, and you will improve fast with practice. Riding track takes not just training, but also practice, like baseball or hockey. I dropped nearly ten seconds off my kilo in the first year, three seconds in the following year, and the past two years I've squeaked out another half second. So be prepared to improve A LOT, quickly, but also know that that learning curve does not last forever! But yeah, have fun with it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    I am going to give slightly different advice, but I think it fits with a lot of other people's advice.

    Try to win some races. And when it goes wrong figure out how, and what you should do different.
    If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

  9. #9
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Every new racer sees all of the gear and whatnot and wonders what they should get. The fancy frames and wheels are the most obvious to new racers. Many think that is the key to being faster because all of the fast guys have them. That's not the case. The fast guys have them because at that level, they are winning and losing races by seconds and less than a second. New racers win and lose buy 10s of seconds (if not more). You can put a new racer on a $20,000 World-Class bike and they'll still get slaughtered and their flying 200M time will still be in the 15" range. I've seen this happen.

    For best results (in my humble opinion) spend money in this general order:

    - Track season pass (ride/race as much as possible)
    - Road Bike
    - *basic* equipment (chainrings, cogs, tools). Notice that I didn't say fancy carbon or aero gear.
    - Race entry fees (but this should be covered in the season pass)
    - Clinics
    - Skinsuit, aero helmet, booties
    - Diet for Athletes book. This will change your energy and fat levels.
    - Gym membership (if you plan to be a sprinter)
    - Coaching (optional really)
    - Travel to other tracks for regional type events to broaden your horizions
    - Aero front wheel
    - Fancy carbon/custom frame
    - Aero disc

    The returns diminish as you go down the list.
    Last edited by carleton; 10-16-12 at 08:24 PM.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the replies and thoughts. As for the posts about specific events, my local track (Aldersley, UK) holds a league during the summer, (April-September I think) and I plan on taking in part in that every week in every event I can to keep my eyes open before I start thinking about training specific events (I've tended to prefer endurance events in the past, but that wasn't track).
    As for the list from Carleton, I have my club membership/race license sorted.
    My bike is a Langster, so I use this SS for training with the roadies at my track every week. I do ride it fixed but, plan to get a more track specific wheelset after new year. I have plenty of basic gear, I've been into cycling (MTB mostly) since I was a child and have only just started track so tools etc. isn't an issue.
    Anything after that point I think I would mainly be looking at after my first season? I don't plan on throwing money at the sport, because when I go and train with all the roadies with their Pinarellos and fancy carbon stuff, they don't really drop my alloy SS. I already know cycling can be a money sink
    Another newbie question, will I feel a big benefit of getting track wheels over my Flip-flop hub set up now?
    Thanks for the replies from everyone.

  11. #11
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lew. View Post
    Thanks for the replies and thoughts. As for the posts about specific events, my local track (Aldersley, UK) holds a league during the summer, (April-September I think) and I plan on taking in part in that every week in every event I can to keep my eyes open before I start thinking about training specific events (I've tended to prefer endurance events in the past, but that wasn't track).
    As for the list from Carleton, I have my club membership/race license sorted.
    My bike is a Langster, so I use this SS for training with the roadies at my track every week. I do ride it fixed but, plan to get a more track specific wheelset after new year. I have plenty of basic gear, I've been into cycling (MTB mostly) since I was a child and have only just started track so tools etc. isn't an issue.
    Anything after that point I think I would mainly be looking at after my first season? I don't plan on throwing money at the sport, because when I go and train with all the roadies with their Pinarellos and fancy carbon stuff, they don't really drop my alloy SS. I already know cycling can be a money sink
    Another newbie question, will I feel a big benefit of getting track wheels over my Flip-flop hub set up now?
    Thanks for the replies from everyone.
    Your stock wheels are probably fine. Unless you want to 2 wheelsets, one with 25c street tires and one with nicer 23c race/training tires.

    Dime-a-dozen 32/32 Velocity Deep-V laced to Formula hubs are easy to find and are around 200USD. But, that is probably similar what you have and is all you'll need for beginner racing.

    You will want quality tires though. I'm not sure how steep your track is, but you just want a fair amount of grip and strong sidewalls and tire bead.

    Do you have chainrings (48t, 49, 50t) and cogs (15t and 16t)?

    Most new racers have 1 gear ratio and it's so big that they tire themselves out during warmup, or it's so small that they get dropped in races. We warmup on small gears (48/16 for example) and race on bigger gears (49/15 or 50/15 and higher).

  12. #12
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    I think you are probably fine for now, and Carleton has a good list that he has been massaging for years.

    For me, the biggest equipment jump (other than proper gearing) was a stiff bike and light wheels (maybe stiff cranks). Once I had the speed/strength I wanted, I found my bike was holding me back on acceleration (actually sapping all of my energy). Stiff and Aero is important at the track.

    Here is my list
    - Proper bike fit
    - Proper gearing
    - Good tires
    - Stiff bike
    - Light/aero wheels
    - Stiff cranks.

    (oops, I never saw the road bike recommendation before – I’ve never had one of those, and it is at the top of the list!).

  13. #13
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    I have 53 and 48t chainrings and 15-16t fixed sprocket and a 17t freewheel for training with the roadies (still on track, they don't entirely trust all the youth with fixies and no brakes). I got the 53t so I had a chance of keeping up with the trackies on their road bikes. I can't ride large gears like yourself, they keep a restriction on the gear inches for British Cycling Youth Cat. A (mine, 14-16y/o) so I see myself having to get a few gear changes before race season starts.
    As for wheelsets, I've never seen Deep V's and can't find them on my preferred shopping websites (CRC and Evans). Would the Miche Pistard or Xpress clincher set be a good alternative? I prefer clinchers, purely because I don't have any exp with tubs, is something I may aswell get into the habit to now rather than later maybe?
    I'm fairly happy with my crankset, I couldn't tell you the name/manufacture (it's been scratched so much I can't recognise the logo) but they feel plenty stiff enough for me.
    Proper bike fit, I slot right inbetween the 52cm and 54cm frame sizes for my bike (Langster) and eventually brought a 54cm. When I received it, I went through everything and it feels like a good set-up (I'm not saying this *is* the correct set-up though). Thanks for the advice!

  14. #14
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Miche Pistard would be fine. This site has lots of options:
    http://www.velodromeshop.net/index.p...parent=13&pg=1

    Bummer, we have lots of youth riding around FG with no brakes. They are pretty impressive.

    US has gear restrictions for youth too
    17-18: Unrestricted
    15-16: (48x15)
    13-14: 6 (48x16)
    10-12: (48x17)

  15. #15
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    My gear restriction for being Youth A is 6.93 metres covered per one revolution of the cranks. I train on 53/16* which is 7.07m. I wish they would just give us an actual gear restriction than dist/crank revolution. Thanks for the link to Velodromeshop, I haven't seen there website yet. I will most likely be looking at the Miche wheelset and some sprockets after the new year then. I easily manage the 7.07m every Friday and Wednesday.
    The main reason I have to use SS/brakes is because it's for all youth and newbies, so it wouldn't be ideal to throw them all on FG's but it's in groups. Top group (mine) is for those who race track, they're bloody fast!
    Would you recommend using something right up next to the gear restriction for all events?
    *rather than the 53/17 I said previously.

  16. #16
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    Go for as close to the gear restriction as you can get. Just make sure you test your setup first before you race. Tyres can make a difference to the rollout, so if you run it close and change tyres, make sure you check again. That's also a reason for not restricting to certain gearing too. There's nothing worse than winning a race and then being disqualified afterwards for a wrong rollout. In our big events, top 3 are rolled out for every race.

  17. #17
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    In choosing your gear, you want to balance running out of oxygen vs running out of muscle. You can recover from depleting oxygen quicker than you can from depleting muscle. Unless you are running very short races (200m), you may not need the biggest gear you can get. Its a balance.

    Yes, technically US youth restrictions are based on rollout, not gear restrictions:
    Track
    17-18: Unrestricted
    15-16: 6.78 meters (22'3")(48x15)
    13-14: 6.36 meters (20'10.5")(48x16)
    10-12: 6.00 meters (19’8”)(48x17)

    Sometimes you can find some track odds and ends at this UK site:
    http://www.probikekit.com/uk/

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