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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 12-18-12, 11:57 AM   #1
Allegheny Jet 
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Buying time question

I’m new at track racing. We opened the 166 meter velodrome in Cleveland late last summer and had the first races mid-Sept. I raced the flying 200, 500 TT and Individual Pursuit. Prior to the races I rode the track often to get a feel of the facility and did a couple workouts on the track that were sprint specific. I have raced for the past 5 years doing crits, RR, cross and a few mtb races. I’m confident that Track is my specialty and intend to place a great deal of track focused training time this winter and at the track beginning spring that inlcuded modifications to my core/resistnce workouts. I’ll be 60 yrs for next season and hope to race at the Masters Nationals in the TT events and possibly form teams for the Pursuit and/or Team Sprint. I’m not planning to enter mass start track races next summer other than our local series as it develops.

My sports background is that I was a good decathlete back in my college days and a very good indoor 330 yd dash runner. I was not fast enough to be an elite sprinter and a little too big to be a good 400 runner. The 33 second indoor race was my domain and it separated me from those others. I believe my best track event will be the 500 TT. I have a 30” PP of 907 watts that I did this past summer, but only have a 5” PP of 1,378 watts. I’m 5’ 10 ” and 188 lbs. I’ve only done one race and with only a minimal understanding of how to prepare and to race it. I rode the race with sprint bars and stock wheels and got a time of 40.42. A few weeks later we had Tuesday TT’s at the track and I hit 40.08 and 40.28. I’m confident that with training to get stronger starts, longer sprint duration, experience, proper gearing and a good taper my time will drop significantly. (The same as it did back in my T & F days) If I can take 1.5 seconds off my time I possibly could podium at Nats, and dropping 2.25 might even win in the 60-64 division. The races this year are at Indy on a 330 meter track which might also be faster than our 50 degree 166 meter track.

My question to the great minds here at BF is about equipment. A fellow BF’er has advised me on aero bars and my Christmas gift is a Pro Missile Drop aero bar. (thank you Hermes for the reccomendation) I am wondering about upgrading the helmet, getting a rear disk and bladed front wheel, and what advantages the aero bar and wheels might bring. Not taking into account my fitness and preparation, I’m looking at how much time the equipment could buy me. Computing my average speed, while racing the 2K pursuit while in the drops, my speed would have been 2.1 mph faster in the aero position while averaging 400 watts. In theory that is 12" for the race or 76 watts less power needed to ride the same time. I know there are too many variables to assume the time grab the calculator suggest.

Any ideas on that kind of time I might be buying in a 500 TT? For me the investment would be worth it for a podium it the gain was more than minimal.
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Old 12-18-12, 03:04 PM   #2
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A few quick thoughts:

- A 40" 500M at age 60 is awesome!
- TTs on longer tracks will possibly be faster being that you don't have to fight tight corners so often during the event.
- Race wheels will help.
- You don't necessarily need aero bars for the 500M. The 500M is one event where it really depends on your riding style as to which bars are best. If you are really strong and are a beast of a rider, drop bars may be best. If you are a smooth and steady rider, aerobars may be best. You'll have to test it out. Any event longer than 500M should be done in aerobars. Any event shorter than 500M should be done in drops.
- Standing starts are easier in track drop bars. Standing starts are tougher in aero bars. If your speed comes from a killer start, keep the drop bars. If your speed comes from aerobic power and finishing strong, try aero bars.
- Aero helmets work. Don't spend a lot of money. You can get a good one for around $200 at full retail price.

An aside:
In the 2011 Track World Championship Women's 500M the French woman, Sandie Clair (petite) used aero bars to win Silver. The winner, Belarussian Olga Panarina (a more muscular rider), used drop bars. Clair lost by a mere 0.023" It was essentially a dead heat. I think that's less than the width of a tire.

Actual podium photo:




(not actual pics from the event, but used to show their handlebars)

Panarina:


Clair:




These are facts:
- You will be faster under the same conditions if you have an aero front wheel, aero helmet, rear disc, skinsuit, and latex booties.
- The wind is your biggest enemy. Something like 90% of your energy is used to fight wind.
- A good bike fit can't hurt. Try to get one from someone who knows about track racing. Track sprint events and TTs are not supposed to be comfortable. So, a roadie fit designed for people who ride 2-4 hours may not be appropriate.
- The key to a good 500M is nailing the standing start.

This is speculation:
- You could be 1-2 seconds faster...or more.



Also, try racing TTs at different tracks. Most tracks have active websites and/or contact info with the track director. Keep an eye out for TT events at tracks within reach. It will broaden your horizons and Nationals won't seem like such a big deal when you get there


Welcome to the sport!


Edit:

So much for quick thoughts! Can you tell that I like the 500M?
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Last edited by carleton; 12-18-12 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 12-18-12, 04:42 PM   #3
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While short tracks like yours and the one in Chicago are great for getting people into racing, they can also be harmful for people with national champion aspirations. Racing on that short track makes you ride a specific way, a lot of which will not translate when you get to the other tracks.

Lucky for you the Master Nationals are in Indy this year so you can feasibly get out there and spend a good amount of time fitting your bike with the track, and getting used to how their turns feel, etc.

Last edited by Kayce; 12-18-12 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 12-19-12, 08:58 AM   #4
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Thank you for the responses, your thoughts are along the lines of what I was thinking. I do intend to focus on improving my power for shorter durations and further developing a smooth pedal stroke. I attend an indoor cycling class where we bring our own bikes and trainers. The class is focused on improving pedaling technique. I also will be riding my fixie on almost all outdoor rides this winter and do a Sunday fixie group ride put on by my coach. This is my coach's site. http://www.4thehealthofit.net/ In the first video of the fixie ride I come around the camera around 20" on a downhill at HC. I topped 37.5 mph on the decent in my 70" gear and probably was around 175 rpm at that point.

I have also been riding my track bike on the rollers for skills where I do sets of isolated leg drills @ 50 rep/leg x 3 then to 300+ revolutions OTS x 3 sets. I am in the drop bars for all the OTS and 2/3 of the time during the ILD's. I can feel a huge difference in the push over the top while in the drops as compared to when my hands are on the bar top.

Carelton- The aero bars I am getting have drop handles that should allow for a low handhold when starting the 500. I hope to have a powerful start and transition to the aero position and drive it out much the same as running a 400 meter dash. To do that it takes focused training, in-race confidence and determination to work through pain. Even though it's been almost 40 years since my track and field days I can still visualize running the 110 hurdles or a 200 where every step has a purpose and loosing focus anytime will result is losing time.

I get why you love the 500.

Kayce- I have every intention to visit the velodrome at Indy more than once before Nationals. Not fighting 2.5 G’s in the turns will feel completely different while making speed. The pursuit and sprint team mates have also agreed to participate in races or riding there as well and to meet up at our velodrome on a regular basis to practice rotations and starts. My wife is from NE PA and I hope to turn the mother-in-law visits into side visits over to Trexlertown.

Thanks again for you insights. Please keep the thoughts coming.
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Old 12-19-12, 09:55 AM   #5
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I can't see any significant benefit from riding your track bike on the road aside from getting comfortable with the bike. Personally, I set up my road bike with a saddle set-back similar to my track bike, but with the bars raised about 2" higher for comfort. Remember, track bikes (especially for sprinters) only need to be comfortable for a few minutes at a time. Road bikes for 2 hours or more.

I've never had a coach assign any road work using a track bike. The only time I've seen it done is for standing start work during the season when the rider doesn't have access to a velodrome.

Man, trust me, there is a significant difference with the standing start using drop bars and TT bars. The mechanics are slightly different. Aero bars do not guarantee that you will be faster in the 500M. Theoretically, yes. Actually, no. Please see my example of the world-class ladies in my first post You simply have to test. The stopwatch will tell you which one is best, not your brain

For example. I had some nice, expensive, modern 3T Scatto handlebars in size 37cm. They are the latest-greatest sprint bars available. They are the best option, right? Before that I used Easton EC90 bars in size 38cm. My thing is standing starts. I'm pretty good at them. I use an SRM power meter. Every metric (power, torque, splits) showed that the "old" EC90 bars were better for me. Numbers don't lie. So I went with the EC90s.

On that note, are you using proper track sprint handlebars? They will help with standing starts, too.
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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; 12-19-12 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 12-19-12, 10:08 AM   #6
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I've never heard a sprinter say, "I like doing standing starts with aero bars."

It's a necessary evil for Kilo riders where aero bars are the norm.
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Old 12-19-12, 11:48 AM   #7
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That is a good think to keep in mind, andit is a LOT easier to go from 166 to at 333 than from a long track to a short one. That is a pretty big change though.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayce View Post
While short tracks like yours and the one in Chicago are great for getting people into racing, they can also be harmful for people with national champion aspirations. Racing on that short track makes you ride a specific way, a lot of which will not translate when you get to the other tracks.

Lucky for you the Master Nationals are in Indy this year so you can feasibly get out there and spend a good amount of time fitting your bike with the track, and getting used to how their turns feel, etc.
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Old 12-19-12, 01:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carleton View Post
I can't see any significant benefit from riding your track bike on the road aside from getting comfortable with the bike. Personally, I set up my road bike with a saddle set-back similar to my track bike, but with the bars raised about 2" higher for comfort. Remember, track bikes (especially for sprinters) only need to be comfortable for a few minutes at a time. Road bikes for 2 hours or more.

I've never had a coach assign any road work using a track bike. The only time I've seen it done is for standing start work during the season when the rider doesn't have access to a velodrome.

Man, trust me, there is a significant difference with the standing start using drop bars and TT bars. The mechanics are slightly different. Aero bars do not guarantee that you will be faster in the 500M. Theoretically, yes. Actually, no. Please see my example of the world-class ladies in my first post You simply have to test. The stopwatch will tell you which one is best, not your brain

For example. I had some nice, expensive, modern 3T Scatto handlebars in size 37cm. They are the latest-greatest sprint bars available. They are the best option, right? Before that I used Easton EC90 bars in size 38cm. My thing is standing starts. I'm pretty good at them. I use an SRM power meter. Every metric (power, torque, splits) showed that the "old" EC90 bars were better for me. Numbers don't lie. So I went with the EC90s.

On that note, are you using proper track sprint handlebars? They will help with standing starts, too.
Just to be clear. I don't ride my track bike on the road. I have a Raliegh Rush Hour fixie that I rode outside during the off season the past two years. I can ride that bike for hours, in fact last night I rode it 2.5 hrs with 2 hrs of it at Z3. The bike does have the sprint handlebars and on long solo rides I mix it up with drops, tops and IAB. I could pretty much do a standing start if I wanted at every intersection. I do understand about the track bike and comfort. After 45 minutes on my Fugi track bike I'm ready to part ways forever with the bike.

I intend compare the track bar to aero bars next spring for the 500 starts. Last year I was able to get from standing to 32 mph in 1 lap of the 166 meter track. Without a watt meter I'll have to develop a method to time the starts to compare them.
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Old 12-19-12, 03:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
Just to be clear. I don't ride my track bike on the road. I have a Raliegh Rush Hour fixie that I rode outside during the off season the past two years. I can ride that bike for hours, in fact last night I rode it 2.5 hrs with 2 hrs of it at Z3. The bike does have the sprint handlebars and on long solo rides I mix it up with drops, tops and IAB. I could pretty much do a standing start if I wanted at every intersection. I do understand about the track bike and comfort. After 45 minutes on my Fugi track bike I'm ready to part ways forever with the bike.

I intend compare the track bar to aero bars next spring for the 500 starts. Last year I was able to get from standing to 32 mph in 1 lap of the 166 meter track. Without a watt meter I'll have to develop a method to time the starts to compare them.
I also mean that your Rush Hour fixie probably isn't helping you very much on the road either.

Basically,
- Road work is road work
- Track work is track work
- Gym work is gym work

...it all comes together when you race.

I'd suggest using your road bike on the road.

Get someone to time you at 125M marks on the track. Or if it's easier, every 1/2 lap. Video is even better. That way you can get your splits later as well as watch your form. Every cell phone has a camera these days.

125M splits are a standard length which is useful for comparing yourself to others or to yourself if you get the same splits from other tracks.
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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; 12-19-12 at 03:38 PM.
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