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I rode the velodrome today...

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I rode the velodrome today...

Old 02-20-21, 06:29 PM
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I rode the velodrome today...

I finally made the time to hit the Detroit Lexus Velodrome today for the beginner 101 and 201 classes, and I just gotta say, I used some muscle groups I donít usually use! It was very stressful for me, but ultimately an amazing experience because it was unlike any kind of riding Iíve ever done.

The Detroit boards are indoor, short at 166m, and steep, with the turns banked at 50ļ. It looks impossibly steep when youíre standing right at the foot of the banks, on the apron, but thankfully and wisely they sent us out to ride it first before we stood out there, because otherwise I think Iíd have been freaked out!

I got around pretty well and without crashing, but when we started the handling drills with the leaning the bike in thing, I think I over thought what had been a natural reaction up to that point, and started getting afraid I might actually slip down the bank, and that caused some awkward laps. I was able to shake it off and start employing the technique with some ease, but I donít know if it was that contorting to push the the bike down or the backpedaling pressure to slow, but my legs started getting jelly at the end, and being home Iíve got some unexpected soreness.

Anyway, it was a cool thing to do, and Iím certain Iíll go back to log some laps and develop some comfort. I donít know that Iíve got the moxie to take up racing at this point in my life, but I would like to see if I can master the basics and gain confidence out there. Iím fifty years old, and Iím so glad that Iíve finally tried this type of cycling, and I kind of wish it had been an option for me when I was younger, because it suits meó er, would have suited a younger me!ó in some ways.

The other great thing is that itís the perfect ďN+1Ē excuse!

https://lexusvelodrome.com


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Old 02-20-21, 06:50 PM
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interesting. is it bicycle specific?
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Old 02-20-21, 07:06 PM
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I did 101 and 201 and was hoping to build a once-a-week track workout into my winter training - but the pandemic got in the way. I got comfortable riding fairly quickly but it was all the other nuances of track etiquette and being safe with other riders that were a little disconcerting.

But man, when I figured out how to dive down the boards in a full sprint - so damn fun!
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Old 02-20-21, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
interesting. is it bicycle specific?
yeah, gotta use a track bike.
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Old 02-20-21, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by gravelschlub View Post
I did 101 and 201 and was hoping to build a once-a-week track workout into my winter training - but the pandemic got in the way. I got comfortable riding fairly quickly but it was all the other nuances of track etiquette and being safe with other riders that were a little disconcerting.

But man, when I figured out how to dive down the boards in a full sprint - so damn fun!
Yeah, I felt the flow a couple of times, where everything fit together perfectly, and it was so sweet! I never launched into an all-out sprint, but I can imagine that the rush is huge. The turns seemed to come up so fast, though, that it was kind of mentally taxing to have to be thinking every second about the setup. That and the etiquette anxiety was exhausting, but Iíll go back for open ride and just try to get used to it.
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Old 02-20-21, 11:06 PM
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I'm quite a bit older than you and would definitely try it if I ever have a chance!

Did they have loaner bikes there? Does anyone know if that is a thing at velodromes - for beginners?
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Old 02-20-21, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
I'm quite a bit older than you and would definitely try it if I ever have a chance!

Did they have loaner bikes there? Does anyone know if that is a thing at velodromes - for beginners?
Yup some of those Felt TK1's in the pic are loaner bikes for those that are taking beginner classes or renting out the track.
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Old 02-20-21, 11:18 PM
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I've done a couple of laps on the local Alpenrose track here in Portland on my road fix gear. Alone, no coaching. Scared the piss out of me and I won't try again. I was over 60 then. 48 degree concrete banking. I love watching the racing and even them training but I'll leave the riding to others. In my Seattle days I rode Marymoor a few times, both on my Mooney and a couple of laps on a 1920s tack bike. That was fun! But Marymoor is big, shallow and boring.
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Old 02-20-21, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
I'm quite a bit older than you and would definitely try it if I ever have a chance!

Did they have loaner bikes there? Does anyone know if that is a thing at velodromes - for beginners?
Alpenrose has loaners. Come Wednesday evenings, May to late summer for coaching.
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Old 02-20-21, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Alpenrose has loaners. Come Wednesday evenings, May to late summer for coaching.
I have people near Portland, maybe I'll just do that some time!
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Old 02-21-21, 01:39 AM
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Definitely would like to give this a try. I have never even seen a velodrome in person. Excellent way to be introduced.
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Old 02-21-21, 03:00 AM
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I don't know much about velodrome cycling other than the occasional keirin or team pursuit that I see on YouTube... but wow that angle looks scary steep compared to the usual higher up views I've seen. Would also love to give this a try some day.
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Old 02-21-21, 03:17 AM
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Hellyer park in San Jose is fun, concrete, easy banking, 400 meters, whoever leads in the last 200m loses,

track stands can burn muscle if you do it wrong,

the bike handling in the Madison race is something to behold,
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Old 02-21-21, 04:14 AM
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I regularly rode on the Trexlertown, Pennsylvania (now the Valley Preferred Cycling Center) when it was first built in the mid-1970s. Before it has the grandstands and other additions, you could ride on off hours on road bikes during the recreational riding hours. We used to ride on our normal road bikes and a friend had an entry-level Panasonic Track bike with a flip hub that has a single speed freewheel on one side and a fixed cog on the other. It was a real blast. It was a bit disconcerting at first, but once you did it, you really could have fun slingshoting on the banking. I learned two things: 1. tires wore quicker if you rode slow as one side of the tread would wear faster, and 2. MAKE SURE your tubulars were properly glued. I had one roll off on a quick sprint. Fortunately I was clipped in with cleats and straps and only got a rash on my calf. Lesson learned.

Later I signed up for an intro to track racing course. it was interesting. You really learned bike handling that transferred to road riding as you learned to read other riders. I really like the match sprints since I was larger and heavier and could really use the banking for bursts of acceleration, and learned to do a stand that was useful for traffic lights when I did bike commuting for a while a few years later. Lots of fun! I am not sure I could do it today.

We went to watch the races ever Friday night. One that was real interesting were the tandem sprints and madisons, and when they did motorpacing where the bicycles had reversed forks. Seeing a tandem track stand and slingshot was very exciting.
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Old 02-21-21, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Anyway, it was a cool thing to do, and Iím certain Iíll go back to log some laps and develop some comfort. I donít know that Iíve got the moxie to take up racing at this point in my life, but I would like to see if I can master the basics and gain confidence out there. Iím fifty years old, and Iím so glad that Iíve finally tried this type of cycling, and I kind of wish it had been an option for me when I was younger, because it suits meó er, would have suited a younger me!ó in some ways.
Track racing is so much fun, even at the masters level. And the track racing community is fantastic. Also, learning to move around on the track will give you exceptional pack handling skills - even if you've been riding and racing on the road for years.
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Old 02-21-21, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Track racing is so much fun, even at the masters level. And the track racing community is fantastic. Also, learning to move around on the track will give you exceptional pack handling skills - even if you've been riding and racing on the road for years.
Iím not saying I wonít, but I have to get my anxiety under control before I can really consider it. A lot of it comes from seeing how relaxed the vets look out there, while Iím nervous and working hard! Iím sure I need more fitness (both strength and weight loss), but I also need to get the Effort-to-Speed ratio figured out so I know where I can stay on the lines. I donít really get how being high up, at the blue Recovery line, is actually recovery since it seems like it takes more power to get up there!

I dunno...it was intense, crazy, scary, and fun in equal proportions, so lemme get out there again this week and see if I can turn down the crazy and scary levels!
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Old 02-21-21, 09:17 AM
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I haven't been up to Detroit yet, but should you get the chance (in better weather) head down to Indy. The City runs the old Major Taylor track as a City park. There is a BMX park, skate park and cross course there too.

Being a full size track and outside, it's a much easier experience and lower learning curve. Like I said, I haven't ridden it myself, 50degree bank in Detroit would not be my ideal learning location. Indy is only 28degree.
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Old 02-21-21, 09:41 AM
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Track racing is such a pure form of racing that it is my favorite form of racing. I have ridden outdoor tracks with low banking and it was not intimidating at all. It takes real nerve to ride up a 50 degree bank, track stand and then sprint without mishap. I also prefer the look of a traditional track bike as it is very elemental and pure. Yes, been a track fan for many, many years.
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Old 02-21-21, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by skenry View Post
I haven't been up to Detroit yet, but should you get the chance (in better weather) head down to Indy. The City runs the old Major Taylor track as a City park. There is a BMX park, skate park and cross course there too.

Being a full size track and outside, it's a much easier experience and lower learning curve. Like I said, I haven't ridden it myself, 50degree bank in Detroit would not be my ideal learning location. Indy is only 28degree.
You know, Iím actually planning to be down in Indy in the spring, so Iíll bring a bike or two with me and do that!
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Old 02-21-21, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Track racing is so much fun, even at the masters level. And the track racing community is fantastic. Also, learning to move around on the track will give you exceptional pack handling skills - even if you've been riding and racing on the road for years.
When I was doing the track thing, I found that smaller part of the larger bicycling community to the be very welcoming and always willing to mentor new and younger riders. That was and is a plus since building and running velodromes is not cheap and having riders riding and competing and not getting discouraged, all while attracting audiences is as much a goal as the actual racing. The audiences were a wide age range and fitness level also.

I never raced after the track bike classes thanks to a car crash with cracked ribs and a new job, but the 'read the pack' wisdom has been a real plus over many years, both in group rides and even now on the unpredictable MUPs.
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Old 02-21-21, 07:35 PM
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track bikers have more spare time as after about 10 all out sprints, you are ready for the burrito truck.

the 6 day races are disgusting, like a pack of mistreated greyhounds, doing speed and making 20 dollars a week,

don't do the motor pacing, look what happened to Merckx.
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Old 02-23-21, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
I finally made the time to hit the Detroit Lexus Velodrome today for the beginner 101 and 201 classes, and I just gotta say, I used some muscle groups I donít usually use! It was very stressful for me, but ultimately an amazing experience because it was unlike any kind of riding Iíve ever done.

The Detroit boards are indoor, short at 166m, and steep, with the turns banked at 50ļ. It looks impossibly steep when youíre standing right at the foot of the banks, on the apron, but thankfully and wisely they sent us out to ride it first before we stood out there, because otherwise I think Iíd have been freaked out!

I got around pretty well and without crashing, but when we started the handling drills with the leaning the bike in thing, I think I over thought what had been a natural reaction up to that point, and started getting afraid I might actually slip down the bank, and that caused some awkward laps. I was able to shake it off and start employing the technique with some ease, but I donít know if it was that contorting to push the the bike down or the backpedaling pressure to slow, but my legs started getting jelly at the end, and being home Iíve got some unexpected soreness.

Anyway, it was a cool thing to do, and Iím certain Iíll go back to log some laps and develop some comfort. I donít know that Iíve got the moxie to take up racing at this point in my life, but I would like to see if I can master the basics and gain confidence out there. Iím fifty years old, and Iím so glad that Iíve finally tried this type of cycling, and I kind of wish it had been an option for me when I was younger, because it suits meó er, would have suited a younger me!ó in some ways.

The other great thing is that itís the perfect ďN+1Ē excuse!

https://lexusvelodrome.com


i road on a vanderdrome once it was great took some bawls to spin around in a group..
somerville nj area. Tour of Somerville big time crit...somerset wheelman sponsored...20 plus yrs ago.
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Old 02-23-21, 11:31 PM
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Welcome to track riding / training. I started in 2008 and since then have raced at Hellyer, San Jose, CA, Carson, CA, Trexlertown, PA, Marymoore, Seattle WA, Superdrome, Frisco, TX, San Diego, CA, Anadia Portugal and Aguascalientes, Mexico. And I taught a beginners class at Hellyer.

Track riding, training and racing has a significant execution component due to the small area and high speeds. Hellyer is a 333 meter 23 degrees of banking and is a very easy track to learn and ride. Carson with its 45 degree banking, 250 meter length and Siberian pine surface is much harder to learn to ride and everything happens fast due to the banking and surface. All are doable

IMO, the way to approach track riding, training and racing is to do the beginner sessions and then migrate to structured sessions run by coaches. Once one is comfortable in a structured session going fast with a couple of other riders doing drills, then one is possible ready for a mass start race. One can always do a timed race such as pursuit or other timed race where there is at most one other person on the track on the opposite side. You race in the pole lane against the clock.
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Old 02-24-21, 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Welcome to track riding / training. I started in 2008 and since then have raced at Hellyer, San Jose, CA, Carson, CA, Trexlertown, PA, Marymoore, Seattle WA, Superdrome, Frisco, TX, San Diego, CA, Anadia Portugal and Aguascalientes, Mexico. And I taught a beginners class at Hellyer.

Track riding, training and racing has a significant execution component due to the small area and high speeds. Hellyer is a 333 meter 23 degrees of banking and is a very easy track to learn and ride. Carson with its 45 degree banking, 250 meter length and Siberian pine surface is much harder to learn to ride and everything happens fast due to the banking and surface. All are doable

IMO, the way to approach track riding, training and racing is to do the beginner sessions and then migrate to structured sessions run by coaches. Once one is comfortable in a structured session going fast with a couple of other riders doing drills, then one is possible ready for a mass start race. One can always do a timed race such as pursuit or other timed race where there is at most one other person on the track on the opposite side. You race in the pole lane against the clock.
Thanks!

Yeah, that ďexecution componentĒ was really a stress riser for me, but I suppose the upside might be that by learning on such a short and steep velodrome, the learning curve will also be short and steep!

At 166m and 50į banking, the Detroit track felt relentlessly demanding, and I was really surprised by that. Of course, not being able to coast took away some of the physical markers of relaxation, too, so I found it extremely intense, and can imagine that racing is off the charts in terms of intensity!

Iím going back down for instruction this Friday. Itíll be interesting to see if my comfort level goes up at all. I know a rotating paceline is on the agenda, which should be helpful to me in understanding the power and speed dimension.
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Old 02-24-21, 09:27 AM
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Yeah, track riding/racing can seem very challenging at first.

In my opinion, the shorter and steeper the track is, the bigger the learning curve. Riding the 333 at T-Town is quite different from the outdoor 250 in Rock Hill which is different from the indoor 250 in Carson, as Hermes said.

And getting used to riding fixed is not easy. As you mentioned, you work muscles you're not used to working, and there are those moments of panic when you're rolling up on the person in front of in a paceline and you are not sure you can slow you're pedaling enough to slow down.

But the more time you spend riding on the track, going through drills and practicing, the more comfortable it will be come. You will also learn how to use the banking to your advantage - in terms of adjusting speed. And after awhile, you won't even notice how steep or banked the track is.

One final note, it can be helpful to size up with your track bike. I think most people start with a track bike about the same size as their road bike. But given that on the track you are always in the drops and do not have brifters, it is often much more comfortable to have the bars a bit higher and farther out.
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