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  1. #26
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Other stuff to take to the track:

    - Camping Chair. Most tracks don't have infield seating.
    - Water or Sports drink. You don't need a $5 bicycle water bottle because it doesn't have to hang on your bike. Any non-glass container will do.
    - Picnic blanket. If you don't want a camping chair. These are easier to pack/carry than a camping chair.
    - Snacks. You don't need $2 Clif bars that are designed to be portable on long rides. Bananas, jar of peanut butter (plastic jar), etc... are fine.
    - Toilet Paper (maybe just leave this in the car just in case).

  2. #27
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Some type of shade - anything from a small canopy to a stupid-looking floppy hat - is really useful if you're racing during the day at an outdoor velodrome. Especially in midsummer heat.

    Some tracks don't allow large canopies - they obstruct the officials' view across the track.

    But really, some way to get out of the sun can make the difference between misery and a fun day at the track.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  3. #28
    Junior Member Cantrackie's Avatar
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    Aside from the standard equipment in your track gear bag, you should have a few spares,

    Spare chain or a few links, you never know when you're gonna bust one.
    Spare chain ring bolts,
    Spare wheel axle nuts, the washers on them will crack at the worst time.
    There area few other things you can probably use dependent on the equipment you have.

  4. #29
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    a couple of thoughts off the top after reading this. Hopefully I didn't repeat much.

    1) Find a group of people to train with, doesn't have to be your teammates, especially if you don't have track teammates. The best thing you can do is spend time at your local track and find some other people to ride with. Ask around at the next race or training session and don't be afraid to talk with a few different groups and get a feel for how open they are to having more people at their workout times. I learned far more from riding with friends casually my first few years than I ever could have learned while trying to follow wheels at 25 to 30 mph when I just wanted to stay up and finish. The racing is important, but you need someone to talk with about your mistakes after the race too.

    2) Gears ... always race smaller gears to start. Even if you feel more comfortable in a bigger gear, go down one in the front (49/15 to 48/15 for example). Racing a smaller gear earlier in the season is a great way to gain more control of your bike to speed up and slow down. For your first few races you really don't need the power gear to pull away and lap the field, you need the little gear to learn how to ride in the group. This is not to say you want to be at 120 RPM the entire time either, so ask around what gear you should use and if in doubt go smaller. Elites may not share their gearing with other elites, but they will help out a new person who is doing the novice race, just ask them or an official.

    3) relax shoulders and arms and hands and lightly hold the bars ... no death grip with locked elbows. Look 10 feet in front of you not at your front wheel and let the track guide you through the corners. Most tracks do a decent job of getting you around without the need to over steer, just let it happen.

    4) Stay/Stick/hold your line means that, please attempt to stay at whatever distance from what ever line your are near and just stay there. Someone might be coming under you or over you and you don't know. They might have lots of experience and be able to dodge you if you move, or they may have a mechanical issue and need to make a sudden move and you just need to hold your line.

    5) Know the track. Blue band ... don't ride here, or even near it. People going fast will clip their helmets on your shoulder if you are on the blue band when they come around at speed, ride well inside of this if you are off track and going slow. Next is the black line, don't ride here either until you are good enough. Ride a few inches or even a foot above it. The person who wins is not the one who spends all their energy fighting to stay on the black line around the corner. Next is the red line. I tell all my newbies to use this line during practice when alone to learn to hold their line. Start on this line and slowly learn to bring yourself lower. During races and large training groups this is the line you stay under to allow people to pass over you. In a race if you drop under the red during a sprint, you need to stay there. Many can't hold this line on our track, so be careful and practice. The next line on the track is the stayers line and it divides the track into those who go fast (below) and those who go slow (above) and those who are warming up on it. It is another good line to practice on when getting use to a track and will often have the pacelines before races to allow the speedsters to control the sprinters lane (between the black and red lines). Our track tends to have pacelines in the sprinters lane as well, but most tracks tend to leave that open for the sprinters.

    6) Know where everyone is on the track. Especially during training, when racing, always. You don't have brakes, and neither does anyone else, some are slow and low or high and fast and dodging around the rest. In training I am always looking around to get a feel for who is in a paceline and how high they come up track in the corners to exchange (they should stay below the stayers line, but not all do). Most tracks use the stayers line for the paceline and leave the bottom for sprinters/speed work and the top for getting up to speed. Be aware of who is doing their 200 meter work and who might have just finished and is coming off. If you have never done a pre-race warmup ... then get their early and just watch from your rollers the first time. There is a dynamic to it and you need to be very aware of what is going on.

    7) Use the bank, it is there for a reason. You go up track to slow down and down track to speed up ... for free! I rarely hit the breaks and often use the track to alter my speed, you can't always do this but by leaving yourself room on the track you can swing up and down to change speed. Of course you can't do this in the middle of the pack with riders around you, so buck up and scrub speed the hard way with your legs then, but if you are in a single paceline or match sprint, use the bank not your legs.

    8) Find out the track speed/pedal hitting speed/ slowest you can go at any new velodrome. Ours in 12mph at Alpenrose, Burnaby much higher others are different, some like marymoor you can basically track stand in the corners if you know what you are doing. But heed the advice of locals and don't go testing out their track just because you have a high bottom bracket or nice tires.

    9) If you are anal like me ... gear charts are great, but also know that certain tire sizes can alter your gear a full 2". If you are riding 19mm tires you are going to have a higher RPM than those riding 23mm on the same gear. This is not critical since most everyone is going to be fine with a standard gear when they start out, but as you gain experience you need to gear up for a 19 and gear down for a 23 if you want to really dial in your RPM. I made up a few different gear charts for different wheels and speeds and it was interesting to see the differences.

    10) check your bike! Pick up your handle bars and hit your front wheel ... you did tighten it correct. Handle bars not loose, tires are pumped up, crank bolts are not falling off (yes I have seen a crank come off a bike in a race more than once). Make sure you ride your bike around the apron (the flat part of the track inside the blackline) a few laps and nothing falls off before getting on the banks. Stomp hard at least once to ensure your rear cog is on tight. Then hit the breaks hard to ensure it doesn't spin off. I do this at least 2 or 3 times if I recently changed gears. And if you have stuff on your bike, take it off. No pumps, water bottles, fanny packs ... your junk is safe and you are at most 200 meters away from it at any point.

    I am sure there is more, but these are things I mention to new riders.
    Last edited by jmikami; 03-18-14 at 10:45 AM.

  5. #30
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmikami View Post
    ...
    4) Stay/Stick/hold your line means that, please attempt to stay at whatever distance from what ever line your are near and just stay there. Someone might be coming under you or over you and you don't know. They might have lots of experience and be able to dodge you if you move, or they may have a mechanical issue and need to make a sudden move and you just need to hold your line.
    ...
    This CANNOT be emphasised enough. Stay/Stick/Hold ALWAYS means you put your bike parallel to the lines on the track and hold your position. It does not mean, for instance, "look over your shoulder and try to get out of someone's way". Let the guy doing the passing figure out how to pass you. Your job is to become a perfectly stationary (laterally) obstacle.

    Story time: I was warming up and winding up for a sprint opener. I'm high on the track, clear myself low and make a shallow, accelerating dive to the sprinters lane. Noob chooses at this time to come onto the track from the apron right as I launch. Not great, but I can get around. I yell "STAY" and he hears. He looks back, sees me, then turns his bike perpendicular to the track to try to get to the rail in an effort to get out of my way. But I've chosen a path which takes me over the top of him and I'm already going 30mph. I T-bone him and end up pile-driving him into the ground. Not fun for either of us, but I got the better end of the interaction.

    Second story: my teammate and I are warming up. He's leading out a sprint opener. He clears himself, launches, and I'm on his wheel. I see a fairly experienced guy mess up and choose that moment to get onto the track right in front of my partner. I yell STAY and he IMMEDIATELY straightens his bike, jerking it straight, not even looking back. My partner clears him on the uptrack side by a handful of inches and everyone stays upright (I let off the gas as soon as I saw the impending crash develop). Talk to my partner later and he says he was bracing for impact before the guy straightened out.

    So two stories, one who didn't do the right thing and one who did. Both made the same mistake getting onto the track: not clearing themselves of faster riders coming from behind. One guy dealt with it properly; one guy did not.
    Last edited by Brian Ratliff; 03-18-14 at 12:35 PM.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
    "If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

  6. #31
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    When in doubt, HOLD YOUR LINE.

    I've seen so many beginners see a faster rider approaching and try to do the right thing by getting out of their way. That is the wrong thing to do. Just hold your line and the faster rider is already planning on how to overtake you. The worst thing you can do is change your path.

    Also, when you finish a race, HOLD YOUR LINE and your SPEED. Don't swerve up-track to scrub off speed. You must remember that there are riders barreling in behind you with a full head of steam. If you change your line or speed, they might run into you. Simply carry your speed around turns 1/2 and then look back when you exit 2 to see what's going on and if it's clear to decelerate.

  7. #32
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    It comes down to trust. The guy behind you can see whats going on, you can't, so trust them to move around you, don't try to anticipate it and get out of the 'fast guys' way. Let them control the situation.


    Ill echo the food comment, no need for cliff bars and small bottles. This is probably my favourite part about the velodrome, I've brought last night's dinner to eat in between session at long days at the track. Bring fruit instead of gels. Don't forget to drink water though, you don't have a bottle you can sip every 5mins on your cage, on a hot day make sure you are coming off and drinking, its easy to forget!

  8. #33
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Gloves:

    For sprinting, you don't need Keirin gloves, or "track sprinting" gloves, or even cycling gloves. Baseball Batting Gloves are cheap and easy to find and are made of good leather. Golf gloves are a step up, but they are difficult to find in matched pairs.

  9. #34
    Senior Member VanceMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Gloves:

    For sprinting, you don't need Keirin gloves, or "track sprinting" gloves, or even cycling gloves. Baseball Batting Gloves are cheap and easy to find and are made of good leather. Golf gloves are a step up, but they are difficult to find in matched pairs.
    Track has turned me into full-finger fan. I never ride road with fingerless anymore. And I do not like/need palm padding (which your alternative suggestions are good for). For racing, 5bling are a nice extravagance, but you sweat balls in those things for mass start lengths.

  10. #35
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Gloves:

    For sprinting, you don't need Keirin gloves, or "track sprinting" gloves, or even cycling gloves. Baseball Batting Gloves are cheap and easy to find and are made of good leather. Golf gloves are a step up, but they are difficult to find in matched pairs.
    1+

    I like Under Armour brand batting gloves. Full leather palm and there is relatively good protection on the back of the hand and fingers.
    Last edited by Brian Ratliff; 03-22-14 at 04:50 PM.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
    "If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

  11. #36
    Senior Member
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    I wear these on the track

    RS Full Glove | SUGOI Performance Apparel

    Very thin with tons of grip, I even wear them hiking/climbing sometimes. An indoor wood track its frowned upon/not allowed to spit or clear your nose on the track, so you need some fabric on the back of your hand if you dont want to come off to blow your nose constantly.

  12. #37
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    What's on the palm?
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
    "If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

  13. #38
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    Padding but not the normal amount you get on most gloves, which is why I can wear them climbing/scrambling. They are not as minimalist as say the 5bling or TT gloves, closer to mechanics gloves.

  14. #39
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    I do like the Specialized 74 glove, great leather (that means it's very durable, I eat other gloves for dinner) and there's some padding but it's minimal so it gives confidence on all occasions.


    full finger:



    short finger

  15. #40
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Gloves:

    For sprinting, you don't need Keirin gloves, or "track sprinting" gloves, or even cycling gloves. Baseball Batting Gloves are cheap and easy to find and are made of good leather. Golf gloves are a step up, but they are difficult to find in matched pairs.
    But but but... the 5-bling gloves come in obnoxious pink!
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  16. #41
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaytron View Post
    But but but... the 5-bling gloves come in obnoxious pink!
    Hahaha!

  17. #42
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    If these youngsters can do it, you can, too!


  18. #43
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    Some tips regarding match sprinting (not my own words):

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Povey
    Here are some pointers,
    1. Height on the track is not always an advantage, if you are leading the race out and want to keep that lead stay at the bottom of the track.
    2. You do not have to go flat out to win, especially important in early rounds to save energy for later, half to a wheel is enough of a winning gap. Most inexperienced sprinters just go all out the moment they decided to go fading before the finish line and interpret this as they don't have enough "speed endurance", pacing your effort is the way to win sprints. This is something that needs to be practiced in training.
    3. As Legro loves to say, what's most important in a sprint race is where you turn the gas on, meaning where you really start your effort. that might not be the same time as your opponent, eg when being patient and waiting to rush a gap.
    4. Jumping hard and trying to get a gap only works if the rider you are racing completely misses the move (which is why when leading out you stay at the bottom of the track), most of the time a rider jumps, opens the gap which the following rider rushes and passes them at the line as the initiating riders starts to die. When this happens it does not necessarily mean there is a problem with the length of your sprint, you just used your cookies up in the wrong part of the race.
    5. Patience is an often overlooked aspect of great sprinters, the latter you leave you passing attempt from the back the more successful it often is, the skill is knowing just how big a gap to leave and how late to leave the run into it. You want to be rushing their slipstream as they are slowing down from fatigue, often when riders get impatient they rush too soon and get hooked up on their opponents hip going into the bend making it much harder to pass. The faster you are going the bigger gap you will need to leave.
    6. Most inexperienced riders stay too close to each other right from the beginning of a race, a rule of thumb is 2-3 bike length gap if you are the same height on the track. Leave yourself room, this makes it harder for your opponent to pin you etc too.
    7. A rider who can lead a race out well is always going to be difficult to beat, especially on shorter tracks. This is the skill you should really be perfecting. If your opponent goes up track just speed up a little at the bottom DO NOT follow them up ( a great example of why you don't do this is Sir Chris Hoy v Theo Bos heat one 2008 world champs 1/4 finals). They will either come back down the track to catch you up or have to go much quicker than you to stay at the top of the track with no slipstream.
    8. The race is on as soon as the whistle is blown/starter has said start. From the moment the starter asks if you are ready until after you pass the finish you should always be aware of where your opponent is, what they are doing, what speed the race is at and how far you have to go. This takes practice, you should all be able to ride a lap of the track looking back at your opponent without having to look forward, should be an element of this in every training session you do, always fun to play with this is the warm down.
    9. As with training, just because someone faster than you or an elite you see on the TV does something and wins doesn't mean it was right for them or right for you. If someone is much faster they can get it all wrong and still win.
    10. Pinning your opponent to the fence/rail always seems to be a desired tactic yet more times than not it doesn't work. If the race is going slowly which is what often happens in this scenario especially on outdoor tracks if the pinned rider just stays relaxed and jumps hard coming out of a turn they will get to the front before the other rider can react. Pinning your opponent is a risky tactic that requires a lot more skill than most have. A properly executed razor from the bottom of the track is both easier to perfect and way more reliable (for a great example of this see Glatzner's rides at this years worlds).
    11. When leading out you only need to go as fast as your opponent, if you can get really good at observation and speed judgment and hold your opponent on your hip for the entire race you will be a very difficult rider to beat.
    12. When you see the elite riders going back up the track in the straight as they get the bell this isn't necessarily to get the advantage of height but more to close the gap up between them and their opponent who is waiting to rush them. It's a very difficult move to get right and even at elite level often goes wrong. For most of us you are better off staying down and making sure you have enough pace in the race coming into the bell lap.
    13. You can go quicker than you think at the start of the race without it being a problem. Most inexperienced riders are going too slow with 400-200m to go and then its he who jumps 1st wins.
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  19. #44
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    This is actually a great thread, thanks for posting/maintaining it!
    cat 1.

    blog

  20. #45
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    This is actually a great thread, thanks for posting/maintaining it!


    Glad you like it!
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  21. #46
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    A tip that I may not have mentioned:

    I run my pedals relatively tight. Obviously, "Tight vs Loose" tension is more relative to the riders strength. What is tight for a 140lb rider will be really loose for a 240lb rider. I once setup pedals for a smaller lady rider at the track. I set them on what I thought was a medium setting...she had to remove her feet from her shoes to get off of the bike, hahaha.

    Anyway...

    Sometimes, because the pedal is so tight, when I disengage the cleat will actually begin to move on the shoe, twisting a bit which messes up my foot's angle. I've found that if you use skateboard grip tape and adhere it to the bottom of your shoes first, this prevents this from happening. You can probably get scraps from a local skateboard shop for free or close to free.

    Some shoes (Like Sidi) come with a patch of 3M grip tape pre-cut in the box. That's where I got the idea.

  22. #47
    Newbie i_am_death's Avatar
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    long time lurker, first time poster....
    This is an awesome compilation of advise to get out and race! First season out on the track and it been amazing. Training hard all fall and winter for next season. Thank you guys for all the great tips!!!

  23. #48
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    A good PDF is linked here: Track Cycling- An Introduction

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