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Enduro Training & Programming Resource

Old 01-16-17, 12:14 PM
  #1  
houleskis
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Enduro Training & Programming Resource

Gang,
I'm coming up the the end of my first track racing season. It's been lots of fun and I've made some OK progress. I feel that to keep progressing I'll have to do more than just focus on crits and flat road races in the summer and hope that with some programming tweaks in the fall (i.e. adding more intensity) I'm in good shape.

I've found surprisingly little resources on training and programming for enduro trackies (my focus); it's mostly all roadie based. The best is seems is to mirror criterium racing plans. Does anyone have any better resources to read up on?

Unfortunately, hiring a coach isn't quite possible at the moment due to costs (a lot of my disposable income is going to track racing and training sessions it seems!!).
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Old 01-16-17, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by houleskis View Post
I've found surprisingly little resources on training and programming for enduro trackies (my focus); it's mostly all roadie based. The best is seems is to mirror criterium racing plans. Does anyone have any better resources to read up on?
Yeah, there are 1,000x more books and articles on training for road cycling vs track cycling.

Think about it this way: The physical attributes and performance output characteristics of a road "sprinter" are very closely aligned with those of a track "enduro" (think Mark Cavendish).

So, with that in mind, maybe look for articles/books that have training routines that focus on road sprinting and short criteriums?

Last edited by carleton; 01-16-17 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 01-16-17, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
So, with that in mind, maybe look for articles/books that have training routines that focus on road sprinting and short criteriums?
My current default position should I not find anything better for next year is to try and follow Trainerroad's criterium program as a lead-in to my target races next year and see how it goes. It's a LOT of intensity and I've had some teammates follow it and say that it's rough. But I can use the late summer/early fall (a downtime here in racing) to prep for it.
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Old 01-16-17, 02:55 PM
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Probably a big basic for you but British Cycling have an 8 week programme

https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/kn...raining-Plan-0
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Old 01-16-17, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Poppit View Post
Probably a big basic for you but British Cycling have an 8 week programme

https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/kn...raining-Plan-0
Definitely seen that plan. It seems to be the only thing on the web!
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Old 01-16-17, 06:00 PM
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One small but significant thing (in my opinion) is to setup your road bike like your track bike. Meaning, same saddle position and same crank length. And when the season approaches, same bar drop.

So, if you have 165s on your track bike, put 165mm cranks on your road bike. You can even get them in SRAM Red in 165mm.

Do cadence work on your rides. Focus on carrying a higher-than-the-normal-roadie 80RPM cadence This will do wonders for your track game. You won't be able to climb mountains with short cranks. This is all assuming that your off-season road training is to focus on track.

I've done 1.5 hour road rides where I averaged over 110RPM (not counting 0s). The following track season was the first time I'd ever finished a points race on the lead lap (most of us fast-twitch guys use points races for interval training at best or to serve as lead-out men for the first couple of sprints at worst)

Keep your bar height at a comfortable level in the winter but it is very important to slowly lower it to match your track bike as you get closer to the start of the season. Your legs behave very differently as you get lower and lower. For a given cadence, your heart rate will rise the lower your back goes if the muscles are not accustomed to performing when stretched to that point. Because, when you lower your back, it stretches the glutes and hamstrings like when you touch your toes. When you touch your toes, your thighs are near your chest. When you are deep in the drops low, your thighs are near your chest. This is your race position.

This also means: Do your efforts in the drops on the road.

As you enter the season, your road bike should match the geometry of your track bike.

This might not work if you are trying to ride/race road competitively because the bike fitting can be slightly (but significantly) different. But, if your goal is to use road work to train for the track, then that's what I'd suggest.
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Old 01-16-17, 06:07 PM
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The downside of the approach listed above is that now your road bike is super uncomfortable for 4 hour rides and climbing hills suck with short cranks, so your rides are shorter than normal and have to be sorta flat.

This is all assuming that your road work is simply training for the track. If your road work is important for group rides and road/crit races, then you have to come up with a compromise, build 2 bikes, or simply focus on fitness gains and not so much neuromuscular gains.
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Old 01-17-17, 04:23 AM
  #8  
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This thing just popped up on Facebook, might be useful?

https://www.trackcyclingacademy.com/...to-ride-faster
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Old 01-17-17, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by houleskis View Post
Gang,
I'm coming up the the end of my first track racing season. It's been lots of fun and I've made some OK progress. I feel that to keep progressing I'll have to do more than just focus on crits and flat road races in the summer and hope that with some programming tweaks in the fall (i.e. adding more intensity) I'm in good shape.

I've found surprisingly little resources on training and programming for enduro trackies (my focus); it's mostly all roadie based. The best is seems is to mirror criterium racing plans. Does anyone have any better resources to read up on?

Unfortunately, hiring a coach isn't quite possible at the moment due to costs (a lot of my disposable income is going to track racing and training sessions it seems!!).
You're right that mirroring crit racing plans is a good way to go, and yeah - there aren't a whole lot of published sources for specifics on track cycling workout.

In general, I've found it helpful to work on short-term power output - a lot of stuff in the Vo2max range. In general, you don't need super high power values for any given duration. That's base work, sure, but as you get closer to the season, what's better is repeatability of hard efforts, and cadence optimization. A lot of LT over/unders. Sprints, from speed, with an effort in your legs (so like negative-split workouts).

If your threshold doesn't support either the amount or intensity of VO2max work needed to improve, then you might need to back up and work on your threshold, but quite frankly for the shortness and level of intensity of track races, you don't need a lot of "push" threshold work, or a bunch of tempo volume, or a lot of that roadie blather.

Sprint work is good (obviously), and here's where track work really comes into handy, and cadence optimization helps the most. You can do 3x3s and other VO2max work on a road bike just fine but to hone your enduro sprint you'll need to work at high RPMs and a single gear.

You can use crits to train, but it means you can't race them like crits. It means you have to race them stupid. Like a greyhound: every time a rabbit goes, go after it. You can pretend that one 60-min crit is two regulation (15km) scratch races - the first 20 minutes, go bonkers (try to make the break or break the field), then rest for 15-20 mins, and then do the same for the last 20 minutes.

Last edited by queerpunk; 01-17-17 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 01-17-17, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Baby Puke View Post
This thing just popped up on Facebook, might be useful?

https://www.trackcyclingacademy.com/...to-ride-faster
The video on pedaling says pretty much what Roger Young taught at the Carson Velodrome.

I asked if the video is available in NTSC format (for USA); If I get an answer I will post here.

Update1/18/17: The cycling academy informed me the video is streamed over the internet and not provided on a DVD.

Last edited by 700wheel; 01-18-17 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 01-17-17, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by houleskis View Post
.............................
Unfortunately, hiring a coach isn't quite possible at the moment due to costs ..............
Look for a club that participates in track racing - some include coaching for members.

Although outdated (and out of print) I still use Norman Sheil's "Grand Prix Training Manual II" published by Rodale Press.
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Old 01-17-17, 02:05 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
You're right that mirroring crit racing plans is a good way to go, and yeah - there aren't a whole lot of published sources for specifics on track cycling workout.

In general, I've found it helpful to work on short-term power output - a lot of stuff in the Vo2max range. In general, you don't need super high power values for any given duration. That's base work, sure, but as you get closer to the season, what's better is repeatability of hard efforts, and cadence optimization. A lot of LT over/unders. Sprints, from speed, with an effort in your legs (so like negative-split workouts).

If your threshold doesn't support either the amount or intensity of VO2max work needed to improve, then you might need to back up and work on your threshold, but quite frankly for the shortness and level of intensity of track races, you don't need a lot of "push" threshold work, or a bunch of tempo volume, or a lot of that roadie blather.

Sprint work is good (obviously), and here's where track work really comes into handy, and cadence optimization helps the most. You can do 3x3s and other VO2max work on a road bike just fine but to hone your enduro sprint you'll need to work at high RPMs and a single gear.

You can use crits to train, but it means you can't race them like crits. It means you have to race them stupid. Like a greyhound: every time a rabbit goes, go after it. You can pretend that one 60-min crit is two regulation (15km) scratch races - the first 20 minutes, go bonkers (try to make the break or break the field), then rest for 15-20 mins, and then do the same for the last 20 minutes.
+1


I'm a big fan of cadence training. I've counted the cadences of elite US racers at Carson and TTown and noted that they ride at 110-120RPM regularly in a points race, sprint at like 140RPM, and attempt to take laps at 130RPM...and you have to recover off of those and think (count the points of others) at the same time.

This is why I think that working on cadence with your road bike by having the same cranks and doing high cadence work is a key to perfecting off-season training.

Last edited by carleton; 01-17-17 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 01-17-17, 02:21 PM
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Whoops, I wrote "and a single speed" when I meant "...and a single gear." The most important thing is picking a gear that lets you top out at 130-140 rpm. I think it's entirely reasonable to do a lot of track training on road bike and that few modifications need to be made. I don't have my road bike set up like my track bike.

But, yes, one must use a cadence focus to track-optimize road training.

And yes, I definitely often average over 110 rpm in races. It's not quite ideal to be quite that high - the risk is being undergeared for the sprint. My best race saw me average quite a bit under 110 ... but I didn't have to sprint to win.
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Old 01-17-17, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
Whoops, I wrote "and a single speed" when I meant "...and a single gear." The most important thing is picking a gear that lets you top out at 130-140 rpm. I think it's entirely reasonable to do a lot of track training on road bike and that few modifications need to be made. I don't have my road bike set up like my track bike.

But, yes, one must use a cadence focus to track-optimize road training.

And yes, I definitely often average over 110 rpm in races. It's not quite ideal to be quite that high - the risk is being undergeared for the sprint. My best race saw me average quite a bit under 110 ... but I didn't have to sprint to win.
I think this is an overlooked part of enduro off-season training for most local/regional racers and it's such an important part of racing. Being able to comfortably roll at 110-120 rpm is a great tool, whether you need it or not.

...which brings up the next point: Making sure that your bike fit will allow you to do all of the above.
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Old 01-17-17, 02:54 PM
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Cranks come in 2.5mm increments for a reason.

A lot of road bikes come with 172 or 175mm cranks (for all adult sizes), which makes for easy climbing and grinding big gears and low RPMs, but it's hard for some to roll big cranks at high RPMs

There's a lot of nuance here that is difficult to articulate.

I think people who are racing track seriously (committing serious time, money, and effort) should seriously investigate and experiment with crank length. Therein may be the extra 1% or 10% that you need to take your track game to the next level.

One of the first things that people say when they ever get to do a group ride with an international road pro is, "Man...that guy carried a cadence much higher than the rest of us."...even when they were all going the same speeds in the pack.
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Old 01-17-17, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by houleskis View Post
My current default position should I not find anything better for next year is to try and follow Trainerroad's criterium program as a lead-in to my target races next year and see how it goes.
That's my plan. I'm doing sweet spot base 2 now, then short power build, then the crit speciality. Low volume for all, skipping the weekend workout if I'm racing, or just want to do a longer ride with friends, plus lifting Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
...but quite frankly for the shortness and level of intensity of track races, you don't need a lot of "push" threshold work, or a bunch of tempo volume, or a lot of that roadie blather.
Originally Posted by houleskis View Post
It's a LOT of intensity and I've had some teammates follow it and say that it's rough. But I can use the late summer/early fall (a downtime here in racing) to prep for it.
Be careful which volume you select. In general, the difference between low and mid volume is an additional Wednesday sub-threshold ride, and the difference between mid and high volume is an additional Friday sub-threshold ride. And as queerpunk notes, that may not be helpful for the track. And a full recovery day might be a lot better for you.
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Old 01-18-17, 05:04 PM
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+1 on running 165's on the road. It might change your pedaling style, though -- you might end up pushing a bigger gear with 165's with the better biomechanics. Going to shorter cranks have changed my style completely -- I've gone from being a medium to high cadence rider to a big gear masher.
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Old 01-24-17, 03:05 PM
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All, thanks for your thoughts! Lots of good info on here that might be good for the newbie thread!

On cranks & cadence: I only have a 5mm difference - 165 track vs 170 road - and I tend to ride relatively high RPMs on the road with rec/group rides in the 95-100 range on average, road races closer to 110 average. But definitely something to consider. My track races tend to not be too much higher than road races on average (sometimes actually lower!) and I'll hit mid-to-high 130s in a sprint. I've been working on just doing 20min 110-115RPM blocks on the rollers on some off days to get accustomed to spinning that fast/increase the neuromuscular facilitation. Cadence optimization: Good thing to think through and test in off-season.

On position: My seat position is as close as I can get it to the road with adjustments for crank length differences. Seat-to-bar drop is slightly more aggressive on the track but short arms means I still have relatively modest seat-to-bar drop. I had some back issues in the past leading to a relatively low drop but this is improving so I might be able to bring my road position down a little.

On Training Protocols: @queerpunk & @Hrothgar42 many good points. Thanks for the thoughts guys. It seems that the general approach is focus on your limiters and on high intensity work. If your FTP is too low to actively recover post sprints/hard effort that you get to the end of the race without anything left, focus on that. If you have a weak sprint, focus on that. But, make sure you get enough VO2 max and sprint work to get proficient at those intensities. Don't spend too much time on tempo or sweet spot rides. Don't neglect the gym.

Cheers everyone. Always good info here!!
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Old 01-24-17, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by houleskis View Post
All, thanks for your thoughts! Lots of good info on here that might be good for the newbie thread!

On cranks & cadence: I only have a 5mm difference - 165 track vs 170 road - and I tend to ride relatively high RPMs on the road with rec/group rides in the 95-100 range on average, road races closer to 110 average. But definitely something to consider. My track races tend to not be too much higher than road races on average (sometimes actually lower!) and I'll hit mid-to-high 130s in a sprint. I've been working on just doing 20min 110-115RPM blocks on the rollers on some off days to get accustomed to spinning that fast/increase the neuromuscular facilitation. Cadence optimization: Good thing to think through and test in off-season.

On position: My seat position is as close as I can get it to the road with adjustments for crank length differences. Seat-to-bar drop is slightly more aggressive on the track but short arms means I still have relatively modest seat-to-bar drop. I had some back issues in the past leading to a relatively low drop but this is improving so I might be able to bring my road position down a little.

On Training Protocols: @queerpunk & @Hrothgar42 many good points. Thanks for the thoughts guys. It seems that the general approach is focus on your limiters and on high intensity work. If your FTP is too low to actively recover post sprints/hard effort that you get to the end of the race without anything left, focus on that. If you have a weak sprint, focus on that. But, make sure you get enough VO2 max and sprint work to get proficient at those intensities. Don't spend too much time on tempo or sweet spot rides. Don't neglect the gym.

Cheers everyone. Always good info here!!
I would actually spend a decent amount of tempo or sweet spot rides if you want to become a good endurance racer, especially an event like the points race or elimination. You don't need a super high threshold, but there's a minimum bar that you have to cross to be in contention. In addition, it's not just about the top end: it's about being able to go in the red repeatedly. For a beginning racer, focus on that and the top end will follow.
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Old 01-24-17, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by houleskis View Post
On cranks & cadence: I only have a 5mm difference - 165 track vs 170 road
Only a 5mm difference?

Again:

Cranks come in 2.5mm increments for a reason.
The common Track and Road crank lengths are:

165.0mm
167.5mm
170.0mm
172.5mm
175.0mm

165mm and 170mm are 2 sizes apart. This is not insignificant. The footspeed (going in a circle) required to maintain the same cadence between the two is different.

I'm not going to offer advice on what you should do. I just want you to know that your crank lengths are very different. Like the difference between a small and medium sized shirt.
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Old 01-25-17, 06:56 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by houleskis View Post
My current default position should I not find anything better for next year is to try and follow Trainerroad's criterium program as a lead-in to my target races next year and see how it goes. It's a LOT of intensity and I've had some teammates follow it and say that it's rough. But I can use the late summer/early fall (a downtime here in racing) to prep for it.

I found that Tranerroad's Short Track Cross-Country specialty phase to have a lot of good workouts that would help a enduro, especially for kilo & pursuits types where an intense start is required.
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Old 01-25-17, 05:50 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
Only a 5mm difference?

Again:



The common Track and Road crank lengths are:

165.0mm
167.5mm
170.0mm
172.5mm
175.0mm

165mm and 170mm are 2 sizes apart. This is not insignificant. The footspeed (going in a circle) required to maintain the same cadence between the two is different.

I'm not going to offer advice on what you should do. I just want you to know that your crank lengths are very different. Like the difference between a small and medium sized shirt.
At 100 RPM footspeed =

165mm cranks = 1.727876 m/s

170mm cranks = 1.780236 m/s

175mm cranks = 1.832596 m/s

It's a 3% difference between the first two, and a 2.9% difference between the second two. Seems small, but if you thought about it in terms of gearing (to slow your foot back down), that's roughly a 2 tooth increase on the chainring if you're using 48-51 tooth rings.
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Old 01-25-17, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by taras0000 View Post
At 100 RPM footspeed =

165mm cranks = 1.727876 m/s

170mm cranks = 1.780236 m/s

175mm cranks = 1.832596 m/s

It's a 3% difference between the first two, and a 2.9% difference between the second two. Seems small, but if you thought about it in terms of gearing (to slow your foot back down), that's roughly a 2 tooth increase on the chainring if you're using 48-51 tooth rings.
Thanks for illustrating that!

houleskis, I've raced a full season on 165, 167.5, 170, and 172.5mm cranks, and the differences are subtle but significant. It affects your riding style (spin vs mash), fit (shorter cranks allow you to lean over more), and most important (as taras mentions) your gearing. As the cranks get longer, you gain more leverage against the chainring/cog/wheel system. And as they get shorter, you lose leverage.

Some aren't sensitive to crank length, meaning that they can't feel the difference. But, the differences a real and measurable.
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Old 01-25-17, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
Thanks for illustrating that!

houleskis, I've raced a full season on 165, 167.5, 170, and 172.5mm cranks, and the differences are subtle but significant. It affects your riding style (spin vs mash), fit (shorter cranks allow you to lean over more), and most important (as taras mentions) your gearing. As the cranks get longer, you gain more leverage against the chainring/cog/wheel system. And as they get shorter, you lose leverage.

Some aren't sensitive to crank length, meaning that they can't feel the difference. But, the differences a real and measurable.
The leverage issue may be a moot one. What you gain in crank leverage, you may lose in biomechanical leverage. On longer cranks, the hip angle is more closed; shorter ones, it is more open. You can exert more force in a partial squat than you can deep in the hole. I believe that longer cranks are only more advantageous when you can open your hip angle, as in climbing on the bar tops. Riding in the drops, the mechanical leverage gained from better hip angles beats longer cranks. Basically, it's a 10mm difference for every 5mm difference in crank length. With longer cranks, the lay down of power happens later in the pedal stroke, so the neural sequences change as well too.

My own personal experience with setting up my road bike like my track bike bore this out for me. Raced on short cranks ever since, because, well, I suck at going up hills!

Last edited by taras0000; 01-25-17 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 01-26-17, 09:10 PM
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rustymongrel
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I've used 170, 172.5, 175 and 177.5 on the road. Settled on 175 a while back but if I lived somewhere with more hills I would seriously consider 177.5.

When I started at the track I had 167.5 just because that's what my first bike came with and never liked them much, easier to spin but I felt I couldn't push bigger gears. Eventually I switched to 175mm cranks for the track and I've been much happier.
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