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  1. #1
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    When should I start?

    Hi folks!

    I just turned 53 and have been an avid cyclist all my life. I ride for transportation and fun mostly. I tried racing when I was about 22 and didn't like it. Not my style. But I've always been intrigued by track racing and think I should try it. I'm near Kissena. Trexlertown isn't too far, and I love seeing the races there.

    I'm moderately strong but not amazing. But who cares if I stand a chance at winning, right? As long as I'm learning and having fun, that's what matters.

    My friend who is a better cyclist than I am and who is my age says I could be a contender because of my age. That was a high compliment, coming from him. I wouldn't enter a road race for guys my age because those guys have been racing all their lives. I would get killed. But maybe not on the track! right?

    I've read the excellent sticky threads. Are you proud of me?!

    My question:

    Should I start now, getting an inexpensive bike and finding a coach? I imagine the answer is yes. I have no idea how to train in this weather, but maybe there's a way. My one rule is no indoor training. I just can't stand it. I'd rather freeze my toes off, and I would do it if it would help me.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  2. #2
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    What was it about road racing back in your 20s that you didn't like?

    Truthfully, with a non-competitive attitude and self-imposed restrictions on your training, I think you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. Bike racing, whether with old guys or young, on the road or on the track, is pretty competitive.

    Start with some time trials maybe? See how you do against the clock and get a feel for competition before you jump in with a coach.
    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

  3. #3
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    My question:

    Should I start now, getting an inexpensive bike and finding a coach? I imagine the answer is yes. I have no idea how to train in this weather, but maybe there's a way. My one rule is no indoor training. I just can't stand it. I'd rather freeze my toes off, and I would do it if it would help me.
    Hi, and welcome to the forum and the sport!

    There is something for nearly everyone in track racing:

    - Sprinting for the big guys
    - Long races for the skinny guys
    - Tactical races for the cunning guys
    - Time trials for those who like to fight themselves and the clock


    Regarding a coach:

    What are you looking for is good advice. Coaches really help when you are past the beginner and intermediate stuff and need some personalized, structured programming in order to get better training or better skills.

    Many tracks have beginner track skills clinics (not the track certification course) where new racers can essentially be trained by a "coach" in a group environment. For example, at DLV, every Monday night there is a program where a leader will take the entire group who shows up through the same drills, be they standing starts, flying efforts, intervals, long efforts, break-away paceline drills, etc. It would cost like $5/night. BEST INVESTMENT EVER. I've seen that LA has a similar program by Roger. See if you can find something like that. If not, maybe join a club that has a presence at the track and the experienced members will take you under their wing and give you the same tips. Some clubs will actually chip-in and hire a coach to train the club for a few sessions. This is great for both the club members and the coach.


    Regarding a bike:

    A good setup that you can "grow into" will be around $1,200-1,500 assuming that you don't have any gear now and you buy it all new. You can certainly buy new track bikes for less money, but you'll likely spend money down the road upgrading to higher quality parts. It's one of those, "Pay up front or pay along the way...either way, you're still gonna pay" things.

    There are lots of great bike shops in NYC that have proper track bikes in stock. I like R&A cycles. They are great people that have the most amazing selection of bikes I have ever seen. Go there and tell them that you are looking for an entry to mid-level bike to race (not a street fixie).

    And, of course, your best bet is to buy quality used gear at a significant discount. The key is having a good local market (and NYC is a great market for such) and knowing what to get.

    It also depends on your bike budget. To some, $1,200 is a big deal for a hobby. To others that's nothing.



    Regarding training:

    You can train 100% outdoor all you want The key is to setup a training program that gives you what you need for racing at the track. Strength, endurance, holding a wheel, and knowing how to recover while taking shelter in a pack are all skills you can work on during your road rides or group rides.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    One thing that is pretty often missed by a lot of the established people on this forum. Weekly league track racing where you may win only once or twice a year can be really fun. If you enjoy the people at Kissena, and like the competitive exercise. Or you like seeing your own personal gains, which may never get you to a podium, then a USAC license and entry fees will be well worth it. Very few people get to the national champ. level. But lots of us still love to track race.
    If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him

  5. #5
    Senior Member Velocirapture's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Should I start now, getting an inexpensive bike and finding a coach?
    YES!! Today is the first day of the rest of your life! Whats the point, if you dont grab it with both hands and just do what you want to do?

    One of my favourite quotes - "May you live all the days of your life." --Jonathan Swift.


  6. #6
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    I would definitely give it a shot. I would say you would fit right in with the masters scene at kissena. There's a broad range of ability and experience, with some guys fighting for every win and some guys just looking to have fun.

    I wouldn't spend the money on a coach if you think you'll be a more casual racer. I would do a few races and start to meet some of the guys. Everybody is very helpful there. One of the masters racers from kissena just put out a track training book, actually, which you can find on amazon. I haven't read it yet, but he's a pretty smart guy, so I'm guessing it should be a worthwhile read. http://www.amazon.com/Track-Cycling-...=track+cycling

    Hopefully Not The Slowest or ftwelder will chime in here about their experiences so far.

  7. #7
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Folks, this is all great. Thank you very much. Velocirapture, I figured someone would say that, but I appreciate it anyway. Thank you all for all this information and encouragement.

    Look around and see my posts I'm Classic & Vintage and Commuting and Mechanics. You'll see I know a lot about bikes and riding. I've taught street riding to children and adults. I've taught bike repair to kids and adults, too. I've been an advocate and a bike mechanic. I will probably build my track bike, unless he perfect one just comes along. I'm glad to know I don't have to spend much on the bike, Carleton.

    The tires are scary, though. Does anyone race on clinchers? They're probably too heavy, right? I remember how to sew and glue tubulars, but the expense of track tires is not something I relish.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  8. #8
    Senior Member ftwelder's Avatar
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    Hi tom! Welcome! When you take your first track lesson at Kessina, you can borrow a bike from their assortment and the gearing will be good enough for a start (call ahead to reserve your size). I am going to ride at several Kessina events this year so we will be riding together! Keep your eyes peeled for track cranks/gearing while looking for a bike. They are plentiful but costly compared to typical used bike parts.

    http://pinkrhinoracing.com/

    These folks have been super helpful to me and run the track lessons/events at Kessina. Any tires are fine at Kessina as the track not super steep and a little bumpy. People say fresh tires are a good idea at T-town, I wouldn't argue with that.

    While you really don't need a track frame, they are really quite magical feeling on the banked surface and feel like they are on rails, you can move about at any speed up or down the surface with confidence.
    Last edited by ftwelder; 01-26-14 at 07:22 AM.
    1886 Surrey machinists Invincible, 1900 Nashua, 1937 Raleigh Golden Arrow, 1938 Raleigh Silver Record, 1951 Armstrong tourmalet, 1970 Motobecane Grand Record, 1971 Raleigh Professional, 1971 Gitane TDF, 1972 Legnano Gran Primio, 1973, Peugeot PX-10, 1975 Roberts, 1984 Battaglin Giro, 1985 Grandis Speciale, 2012 FTW

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    The tires are scary, though. Does anyone race on clinchers? They're probably too heavy, right? I remember how to sew and glue tubulars, but the expense of track tires is not something I relish.
    Clinchers are fine for Kissena. The track is too rough for high pressures, so tubulars are less of a necessity. That said, a decent pair of tubulars will last at least a season there. I think I'm on my third season with my conti stehers. If you're worried about transporting tubulars to and from the track, you're welcome to leave a set of race wheels locked up in the shipping container in the parking lot. It's opened up every race night. Keep in mind it has been broken into and driven into before.

  10. #10
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Yeah I guess since I won't ride racing tires on the streets, I don't have to worry about ruining them. Thanks!

    Thank you for the tips and welcome, Frank.

    I'm all about the used bike, so I'll keep an eye open for a good bike or frame. My road size is 55 or 56cm. For the track, should I look for 53-54?
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  11. #11
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Other good news is that Kissena is a terrific race scene - well, it was when I raced there (07 through '10 more or less). Friendly and welcoming; people offer advice and pointers easily and happily. I always found it to be a great scene for beginners.

    Clinchers are no problem there. If you use tubulars, road tubulars rather than track tubulars are preferred - it's an imperfect surface and sometimes has some debris on it.

    Don't look for a track bike that's a size or two smaller than your road bike. That's heavily flawed advice. Maybe 1cm shorter in the top tube. I see a lot of people riding track bikes that are too small for them. It complicates their fit and form. Their arms go straight down into the drops, their elbows are practically locked, and it makes their weight distribution and bike handling all crappy.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  12. #12
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    noglider,

    Here is a great example of a bike that any new rider can "grow into": http://www.hoybikes.com/track/94-hoy...ola-track-bike

    Take not of the components and geometry.

    I'm not saying that you should get this bike. I know you know how to assemble your own. But, your final product will probably be very similar. Take note of the geometry, bar width, spoke count, cranks, chain, etc...

    There are only a few track cranks that I'd recommend for actual training/racing: Campy, Dura Ace (square taper or octalink), SRAM Omnium, SRM, and ROTOR.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    There are only a few track cranks that I'd recommend for actual training/racing: Campy, Dura Ace (square taper or octalink), SRAM Omnium, SRM, and ROTOR.
    For someone looking to build an entry bike, I wouldn't even bother mentioning SRM. I'd also steer away from a two-piece crank/spider design like rotor until I see more people riding it. It wouldn't surprise me if they developed play issues like the old FSA vigorellis. One crank I would whole-heartedly recommend is the sugino 75, though.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    noglider,
    There are only a few track cranks that I'd recommend for actual training/racing: Campy, Dura Ace (square taper or octalink), SRAM Omnium, SRM, and ROTOR.
    I don't see Suino 75 here, Carleton. You're slipping! Hold it together, man.

  15. #15
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baby Puke View Post
    I don't see Suino 75 here, Carleton. You're slipping! Hold it together, man.
    Gettin old

    Sugino 75s are awesome, too!

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