In the past weeks I’ve been working on track racing. I’d never done any of it before, but I decided to give it a go both because our team will be doing track events this year, and also because the cadence style is more like BMX, which I enjoy. For those not in the know, the difference between track riding and road riding is fairly substantial. The bikes are similar to road bikes in shape, with slightly different geometry and one, fixed gear ratio.
Our home track is Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis, as seen above. As a rule, beginning riders have to go through three hours of track training that the velodrome is offering as “Track 101” classes. I did the classes in two Thursday night sessions. The first was mostly terminology and technology, with a little riding to get used to the track and the bikes. The second was all riding, practicing pacelines and moving around on the track.
After my classes, I am now legal to ride some of the track events. I decided to do a time trial saturday, figuring it would be good for experience, and a good baseline for training. I went with Mendoza and rode a bike he loaned me. It’s a custom made Landshark. It’s not carbon, aluminum or anything fancy, but it’s super light and fits me well. It’s also got a pretty sweet paint job – red with green metallic scaled dragons. His coach and team were there so we hung out with them. I think the first real life lesson I learned about track racing is that there is no shade at the velodrome, although I didn’t realize it until later. The Pista Elite/Glacial Energy team had a pop-up tent, but it really wasn’t big enough. I am quite red today.
For races, I tried to select a variety, since I didn’t know what I would like or be competent at. I went with the 200m, 1k, and 3k. At the end we decided to try a team sprint. My times all sucked, which is to be expected since this was my first real track outing, however, I am feeling better about the shorter events. At the same time, I prefer the held start of the longer events.. Go figure. I think it’s all mental. I feel a lot stronger taking off from a stop than I do trying to gauge my speed in a flying start. Trying to find a consistent steady state is going to be vital. In the Kilo, I felt like I had a good start, and a good first lap but after the first lap, I was dead tired. I never really thought about how hard it is to push a big gear for any distance. The 3k was much the same, except I paced myself a little better, going easier on the start. I think I liked the team sprint the best of all. I started, so I just had to go one lap with a held start. I screwed up a little because I wasn’t sure what to expect, but overall, I think I did ok, and liked the length.
Here are some video examples of what a 200m and Kilo time trials look like. Probably incredibly boring looking to most.
I’ll probably be back at the track on the 28th for training night, which will be my first time racing against other people. Should be interesting. In the mean time, I suppose it makes sense to start building. I’d been putting it off to try and get a good base, but since I more or less have to start weight training to get my speed up for the track, I’m going to try and add in intervals and other higher intensity stuff to my other rides.. which also means I need to ditch the diet and start eating a little more.