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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 12-16-12, 09:30 AM   #1
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First track session.

Hey everyone, I've been to this part of the forum before, but didn't seem to stay to long as I am a road cyclist. Anyway, this is my first post here. I did my first track session yesterday at the forest city velodrome in london for you that know it, I believe it is one of the shortest/steepest tracks? It was tons of fun flying around as fast as you can, and going around the corner at high speeds puts a wierd feeling in the stomach I also got to see Robert "Bobby" Lea there paying a visit. He raced at the 2012 london olympics for omnium for the USA. That was pretty cool. I will be getting to the track as much as I can in the next few months and the new year, I'm looking forward to more time on the track. Just thought I'd introduce myself, thanks.
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Old 12-16-12, 10:08 AM   #2
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Whereabouts is the velodrome? I've been to London a few times and haven't seen anything except the Olympic one. It won't be long until you're consumed by the track. Everybody I know from track lives and breathes it, I don't know many who don't! Good to see you had a fun first session, and good luck on future sessions
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Old 12-16-12, 10:19 AM   #3
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I thought this might happen, it's London, Ontario here in Canada And yes, ever since watching the olympics this year it's caught my eye and looks like a ton of fun, and it is. I can't wait to get on it more and hopefully start racing some day. I'm just worried about crashing, looking behind my shoulder at high speeds on a track with a bunch of people around me is quite intimidating.
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Old 12-16-12, 11:00 AM   #4
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Track racing is probably the safest form of bike racing. You're literally on a closed, and controlled course.
Ever watch crits/road races? Nearly all of the accidents occur because of some rapid course change, or brakes. Neither of which exist on the track.

Get crashing out of your head. It doesn't really happen.
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Old 12-16-12, 12:09 PM   #5
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Aside from match sprinting, you shouldn't be looking behind you. To the sides, yes. Behind you, no.

It is the responsibility of the rider that is approaching from behind to pass you safely.

The worst thing you can so is see a rider with a full head of steam coming up behind you and you "do him a favor" by getting out of the way. You will just get in his way as he is already planning to overtake you on the right. If you go right, you'll just get in the way.

Rule #1: When in doubt, hold your line.


Welcome to the sport! It's a LOT of fun. And MUCH cheaper than road training and racing.
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Old 12-16-12, 12:13 PM   #6
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Track racing is probably the safest form of bike racing. You're literally on a closed, and controlled course.
Ever watch crits/road races? Nearly all of the accidents occur because of some rapid course change, or brakes. Neither of which exist on the track.

Get crashing out of your head. It doesn't really happen.
+1

It's much safer than road racing or crits.

There is almost a guaranteed mishap or crash in almost every crit. It's news when there isn't. Someone always takes a corner too hot, brakes too hard, or chops a wheel.

Brakes and corners cause 90% of the drama in crits. There are no corners or brakes in track racing

There is an emphasis on safety at every velodrome I've visited. The sense of etiquette (which is rooted in safety) is very strong.
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Old 12-16-12, 02:50 PM   #7
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I recently started doing crits, and it surprised me the first event I did, there was no crash after everything people had said to me. Sure enough, there were three crashes on my second crit. I've only every come off on track once, thankfully not on my local tarmac track. And that was only caused by two people above me clipping wheels.
Ah, that's why, I've never been to Ontario.
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Old 12-16-12, 03:04 PM   #8
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I guess it is true about safety because it is always better to crash 10 feet away from everyone on a dry closed course with no cars than with it in the middle of nowhere 2 hrs from help.

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Aside from match sprinting, you shouldn't be looking behind you. To the sides, yes. Behind you, no.

It is the responsibility of the rider that is approaching from behind to pass you safely.

The worst thing you can so is see a rider with a full head of steam coming up behind you and you "do him a favor" by getting out of the way. You will just get in his way as he is already planning to overtake you on the right. If you go right, you'll just get in the way.

Rule #1: When in doubt, hold your line.


Welcome to the sport! It's a LOT of fun. And MUCH cheaper than road training and racing.
The guy told me that every time that I want to move on the track (up or down) I have to look over my shoulder, is he just telling me this for safety because I'm new or if I want to race sprints? I remember this from the omnium race just these past Olympics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy3a9ivesQ0 Watch at 10:25.

And in what ways is track cheaper than road? Just curious.

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Ah, that's why, I've never been to Ontario.
You should come, there's lots to do here!

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Old 12-16-12, 04:21 PM   #9
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The guy told me that every time that I want to move on the track (up or down) I have to look over my shoulder, is he just telling me this for safety because I'm new or if I want to race sprints? I remember this from the omnium race just these past Olympics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy3a9ivesQ0 Watch at 10:25.
This is the rare instance where two not-so-bad moves happen at the same time resulting in an almost bad situation.

Problem #1

The Italian diving underneath to attack. This is an advanced move with an obvious risk that is illustrated here. Shouting "Stick!" or "Stay!" when you see someone diving on top of you should work to freeze them for one second. It's not obvious if this happened here. But, the hand on the butt worked just as well.

Problem #2 (the bigger problem)



The Dane glanced to his left once...then started looking right for counter attacks (or help for the attack) from above him. He could have done a second look to the left. He would have easily seen that front wheel in the corner of his eye had he even been looking forward!

Neither one of them was blatantly wrong. This is one of those situations like when driving and someone jumps into your blind spot *right* after you checked it. It's rare and shouldn't be taken as an example of a normal occurrence. A simple toot of the horn will keep the person from passing under you as you change lanes

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And in what ways is track cheaper than road? Just curious.
When you price comparable gear, entry fees, and races/$, track is MUCH cheaper.

GEAR:
A fully-functional entry level track bike is around $900. How much does a 105 group cost? Mid to high-end bikes with race wheels, full gear bag, etc... around $2500-3000. That's a bike that you'll see at Masters or Elite Nationals. A comparable road bike will be maybe $3,500-4,500.

A training wheelset is $150-200 new. No need to buy or maintain groups, brakes, or shifters.

Fees:
Many P/1/2/3 road races are $50-75 each...for one race. A track "festival" (an all-day or 2-day event) are something like $40-60 for the entire event, every race (usually 4-6 races for the day or weekend).

Weekly Crits are like $20 for one race and $5 for additional races. Track racing is like $10-20 for 4-5 races for the whole day. My local track has a $300 One Pass that will buy me unlimited training and entry into ANY event (as a racer or spectator) for the entire year.
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Old 12-16-12, 04:43 PM   #10
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I wish my track had a race pass, thats sweet. Only training passes are offered, and races are generally 15-25 bucks.
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Old 12-16-12, 04:54 PM   #11
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I wish my track had a race pass, thats sweet. Only training passes are offered, and races are generally 15-25 bucks.
Yeah, it comes in handy. It's easier to plan for one big $300 expense than a bunch of weekly $5 training fees and $15 race fees and whatnot. I don't carry much cash and no checks, so when I was paying a-la-carte my first season, it was always a pain in the butt to stop by the ATM on the way to the track. It's tax-deductible, too.

Also, carbon is nice (frames, bars, cranks, seatposts, stems). But, they definitely aren't a "must have" on the track as it appears to be in road racing...even at the lower levels of road racing.

I would assume that it's primarily because track bikes don't have to try very hard to get close to 15lbs and there aren't any 2KM climbs on the velodrome
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Old 12-16-12, 05:00 PM   #12
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Neither one of them was blatantly wrong. This is one of those situations like when driving and someone jumps into your blind spot *right* after you checked it. It's rare and shouldn't be taken as an example of a normal occurrence. A simple toot of the horn will keep the person from passing under you as you change lanes
I guess you'll always have moments like this anywhere you go; track, road, or any cycling discipline.

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When you price comparable gear, entry fees, and races/$, track is MUCH cheaper.

GEAR:
A fully-functional entry level track bike is around $900. How much does a 105 group cost? Mid to high-end bikes with race wheels, full gear bag, etc... around $2500-3000. That's a bike that you'll see at Masters or Elite Nationals. A comparable road bike will be maybe $3,500-4,500.

A training wheelset is $150-200 new. No need to buy or maintain groups, brakes, or shifters.

Fees:
Many P/1/2/3 road races are $50-75 each...for one event. A track "festival" (an all-day or 2-day event) are something like $40-60 for the entire event, every race (usually 4-6 races for the day or weekend).

Weekly Crits are like $20 for one race and $5 for additional races. Track racing is like $10-20 for 4-5 races for the whole day. My local track has a $300 One Pass that will buy me unlimited training and entry into ANY event (as a racer or spectator) for the entire year.
That's pretty low for all of that gear! wow. Especially at elite/national level! I love those entry fees too At my track here, I just signed up for a 2 month deal that gives me access to a rental bike every time I go, the ability to go and ride as many times per week as I would like, and ride in any training/riding/skills program I want to do (I am limited to "Track 2" maximum level right now because I don't have the experience and skill yet to do more difficult rides, but I will soon), and this all costs $100. According to the coach there (SUPER nice guy), it's the best deal available in cycling, or something along those lines.. The only thing I don't like about this is that I live 2 hours away from the velodrome, and that means that I get home at 3:30 from school, and depending when my dad gets home, we have to leave almost right away without eating a normal supper, probably some days not being able to make it, this will happen about 3 times/week. But I say the heII with it, I would commute there 5 days/week, it's just so addicting and fun!

Also, this may seem like a dumb question, but I am just a curious guy and would like to know the chances. I know the olympics is hard and everything, and that seems almost out of the question, but how 'hard' is it to be able to race elite level, or even nationals? Just in the case that I race and realize that the track has been calling me the whole time. I guess it would be your own ability to be able to ride 50-60+ km/h around the track. Either that or if it's just easier, how does the racing work? Any similarities to road racing?

Ps. I can't wait for the 2015 pan am games. It's being held in Toronto, Ontario, and they're building a professional level velodrome in Milton for it which is a 30min drive from my house. There's nothing more to ask for for christmas
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Old 12-16-12, 05:23 PM   #13
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Also, this may seem like a dumb question, but I am just a curious guy and would like to know the chances. I know the olympics is hard and everything, and that seems almost out of the question, but how 'hard' is it to be able to race elite level, or even nationals? Just in the case that I race and realize that the track has been calling me the whole time. I guess it would be your own ability to be able to ride 50-60+ km/h around the track. Either that or if it's just easier, how does the racing work? Any similarities to road racing?
I've seen lightening strike faster in track cycling than any other sport. For example Joanna Rowsell:

http://www.joannarowsell.com/about/

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I started cycling in 2004, aged 15, having gained a place on British Cycling’s Talent Team programme. I was not a cyclist previously and when British Cycling’s talent scouts came to carry out testing on the school playing field I thought I may as well go and see what it was all about. As it turns out this decision changed my life completely! Tests were carried out on mountain bikes which they provided and involved a sprint and endurance test against the clock. I was surprised to hear my times were good enough to be invited back for further testing, this time a lot more scientific where our power outputs were measured on static bikes. It was in this test I really shone and was recognised as having potential! A 3rd stage of testing followed before I learned I had gained a place on the Talent Team, one of only 5 girls in the region. The Talent Team introduced me to all the different cycling disciplines and my first full racing season was in 2005 as a first year junior where I made my mark by winning the Junior Women′s National 2k Individual Pursuit title.
At age 18 or 19 she was a World Champion.

There are similar stories about British and Australian Men's Team Sprinters.

I coached (to use the term loosely) a girl who won DLV's rider of the year her first season ever racing any sort of bike. That year she also placed 8th at Collegiate Track Nationals (which is highly competitive). The following year she placed 3rd at Collegiate Track Nationals and 8th at Elite Track Nationals. The following year she was invited to train with the US National Team for one training camp where she did very well. Unfortunately she's stopped racing since.

My point is that it *could* happen.

Also, you don't have to live near a track to excel at track racing. Basically, do the fitness work on the road, trainer, and in the gym and do the skills work on the track whenever you can. Jimmy Watkins placed 6th at the Olympics in Match Sprinting. This guy is a full-time fire fighter, husband, and father of two (?) kids. I think he lives 4 hours from his "local" track. He made it work

in 2011 I lived in Virginia and my closest track was 3.5 hours away. I only got to go once or twice a month. That year I won my first medal at Masters Track Nationals.
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Old 12-16-12, 07:41 PM   #14
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I've seen lightening strike faster in track cycling than any other sport. For example Joanna Rowsell:

http://www.joannarowsell.com/about/



At age 18 or 19 she was a World Champion.

There are similar stories about British and Australian Men's Team Sprinters.

I coached (to use the term loosely) a girl who won DLV's rider of the year her first season ever racing any sort of bike. That year she also placed 8th at Collegiate Track Nationals (which is highly competitive). The following year she placed 3rd at Collegiate Track Nationals and 8th at Elite Track Nationals. The following year she was invited to train with the US National Team for one training camp where she did very well. Unfortunately she's stopped racing since.

My point is that it *could* happen.

Also, you don't have to live near a track to excel at track racing. Basically, do the fitness work on the road, trainer, and in the gym and do the skills work on the track whenever you can. Jimmy Watkins placed 6th at the Olympics in Match Sprinting. This guy is a full-time fire fighter, husband, and father of two (?) kids. I think he lives 4 hours from his "local" track. He made it work

in 2011 I lived in Virginia and my closest track was 3.5 hours away. I only got to go once or twice a month. That year I won my first medal at Masters Track Nationals.
This is exactly what I was looking for! This is very inspiring! I see joanna had a born talent, and I especially liked the Jimmy Watkins one, seeing how busy he had to have been and having to put in 8 hours just travelling to his track, and still being an Olympian. Even you living 3.5 hrs away, mine feels close now, and shows that it's still possible to get better even without riding too often.

Also, about the fitness work on a road bike/gym stuff, what would that really consist of? Like not a specific workout, but would it be like 1-2 hour endurance rides? Or 3-4? And I hear that lifting heavy weights to build lots of muscle/muscle mass is good, basically the opposite of road cycling where you want a low weight and high endurance level. For example:

2012 TdF winner:

You can see that a top class road cyclist has skinny arms, skinny legs and weighs 150lbs...

2012 Olympic German track team:

...but a top class track cyclist is just, well, you see..
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Old 12-16-12, 08:59 PM   #15
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Track racing is a lot like Track & Field. There are sprint events, middle-distance events, and long events, and LONGER events. Road cycling would be like long foot races or even marathons. That's why you see buff track sprinters and lean marathon runners and everything in-between.

Consider looking at the time of the velodrome and track and field events and compare them to see correlations. That's why guys who were sprinters in HS gravitate towards sprinting on the velodrome. Same for middle distance and long distance runners. There's something for every type.

The key is to find what events suit your body type and physiology. For ex track & field runners, the events that one was good at in high school sometimes gives a clue as to what the person might be good at on the velodrome.
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Old 12-16-12, 09:01 PM   #16
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This guy rides for 40 minutes at a time:


These guys ride for 40 seconds at a time:



See the difference?
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Old 12-16-12, 09:09 PM   #17
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That does make a lot of sense. I seem to be leaning towards the omnium/scratch races. I like how it consists of a "race inside of a race" when trying to lap the field, plus it's not so nerve racking and have to do with the split second reactions. It's more of a long, first person to cross the finish line wins, but you have to get points during the race, hence "race inside of a race", and it seems more relaxed, yet still a lot of exciting racing happening all around the track at all times. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I still have to learn the types and differences of all of the races in velodromes.
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Old 12-16-12, 09:19 PM   #18
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That does make a lot of sense. I seem to be leaning towards the omnium/scratch races. I like how it consists of a "race inside of a race" when trying to lap the field, plus it's not so nerve racking and have to do with the split second reactions. It's more of a long, first person to cross the finish line wins, but you have to get points during the race, hence "race inside of a race", and it seems more relaxed, yet still a lot of exciting racing happening all around the track at all times. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I still have to learn the types and differences of all of the races in velodromes.
Strategy is a very fun aspect of the racing. Every day a slower person beats a faster person using his tactics...in sprint and endurance events.

they key is to become a student of the sport. When you are at the velodrome, race as much as you can. When you aren't racing, watch those who are better than you. See how and when they move.

Coaching helps a lot, but can be expensive. Go to as many clinics as you can. Joining a club or team is an easy and inexpensive way to learn as the veteran members should take you under their wing and teach you.
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Old 12-16-12, 09:25 PM   #19
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Strategy is a very fun aspect of the racing. Every day a slower person beats a faster person using his tactics...in sprint and endurance events.

they key is to become a student of the sport. When you are at the velodrome, race as much as you can. When you aren't racing, watch those who are better than you. See how and when they move.

Coaching helps a lot, but can be expensive. Go to as many clinics as you can. Joining a club or team is an easy and inexpensive way to learn as the veteran members should take you under their wing and teach you.
Agreed, I love the strategy that is involved with it, it's not the guy with the biggest legs that'll take the race in one lap - don't get me wrong though, that is still awesome and fun to watch

I have spent the last couple of hours watching videos of races and I am reading through the introduction to track cycling sticky. I'm learning quite a bit.

Also, I am part of a road cycling team, who have introduced me to the track yesterday, I was unable to ride with any of them because I don't have the skill yet to, and they were all warming up for racing.
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Old 12-16-12, 10:03 PM   #20
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Regarding Sprint, All-Around, or Endurance event focus:

One night I was hanging out with a buddy of mine. We go to a bar. Not long after we get there I see him with a girl. They look like they've known each other for years. When it's time to go, he (with his arm around her) says, "I've got a ride home. I'll call you tomorrow." with a big grin on his face.

He calls me the next day and I say, "You must have run into an old friend." He's says, "Nope. I just met her last night." I was like, "How?" His response: "Recognize when you've been chosen. It's a lot easier that way."

The same goes for track racing (and sports in general, for that matter). It's a lot easier when you are somehow predisposed for a particular sport or events within a sport.

The best advice that I've been given is race everything that you can. You never know what you might be good at. Or in other words, you never know what events might choose you
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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 12-16-12, 10:26 PM   #21
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Regarding Sprint, All-Around, or Endurance event focus:

One night I was hanging out with a buddy of mine. We go to a bar. Not long after we get there I see him with a girl. They look like they've known each other for years. When it's time to go, he (with his arm around her) says, "I've got a ride home. I'll call you tomorrow." with a big grin on his face.

He calls me the next day and I say, "You must have run into an old friend." He's says, "Nope. I just met her last night." I was like, "How?" His response: "Recognize when you've been chosen. It's a lot easier that way."

The same goes for track racing (and sports in general, for that matter). It's a lot easier when you are somehow predisposed for a particular sport or events within a sport.

The best advice that I've been given is race everything that you can. You never know what you might be good at. Or in other words, you never know what events might choose you
That's a good way of looking at it, I will definitely try every race I can, I also see that you can race several races per day or even over a weekend or 6-days? That makes it easy to try everything at once and easily compare them, and also reminds me of hockey tournaments, many games in a few days, which is the best!
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Old 12-16-12, 10:46 PM   #22
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That's a good way of looking at it, I will definitely try every race I can, I also see that you can race several races per day or even over a weekend or 6-days? That makes it easy to try everything at once and easily compare them, and also reminds me of hockey tournaments, many games in a few days, which is the best!
TJ Mathieson was/is a Hockey player.

http://tjmathieson.com/beyond-cycling.html
http://www.usacycling.org/tj-mathieson.htm

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Mathieson began playing hockey at the age of seven. Naturally, Mathieson was selected as a local and regional all star and participated in the Washington Capitals' rookie camp in 2002. After graduating from Loyola Blakefield High School, Mathieson moved to Chicago to play for the Chicago Freeze of the North American Hockey League, a Junior-A level team before skating for University of Notre Dame. He was a three-time Knute Rockne Scholar Athlete selection and received an honorable mention for the 2004 Central Collegiate Hockey Association All-Academic team.
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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 12-17-12, 06:54 AM   #23
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Wow, very athletic and smart!
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Old 12-17-12, 02:48 PM   #24
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Aside from match sprinting, you shouldn't be looking behind you. To the sides, yes. Behind you, no.

It is the responsibility of the rider that is approaching from behind to pass you safely.

The worst thing you can so is see a rider with a full head of steam coming up behind you and you "do him a favor" by getting out of the way. You will just get in his way as he is already planning to overtake you on the right. If you go right, you'll just get in the way.

Rule #1: When in doubt, hold your line.
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Old 12-17-12, 02:57 PM   #25
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That does make a lot of sense. I seem to be leaning towards the omnium/scratch races. I like how it consists of a "race inside of a race" when trying to lap the field, plus it's not so nerve racking and have to do with the split second reactions. It's more of a long, first person to cross the finish line wins, but you have to get points during the race, hence "race inside of a race", and it seems more relaxed, yet still a lot of exciting racing happening all around the track at all times. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I still have to learn the types and differences of all of the races in velodromes.
Scratch races on the track aren't very relaxed once you get to a high level where everyone is fit. It's like a crit with all the boring parts removed-- the instant one attack starts to die out, the next one goes. Points races are races within the race, and lots of fun-- like a lot of little scratch races. When they get really fast it seems like they never stop ringing the bell. All mass start racing is full of split second decisions-- you're generally riding much closer together than on the road and there's a lot going on.

Seeing as you're in Canada, you probably also skate. That's about the best cross training there is for track racing.
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