First track race report
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  1. #1
    hrv
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    First track race report

    Did my first track race last Friday. Had 3 classes before that, with the last one a practise race, that was key, esp. riding in an un-organized group on the track.

    Consisted of 3 races, 1st one 15 lap scratch, only top 3 get counted; next one, 'win and out', 1st to cross line after 5 laps goes out, next lap 2nd to cross goes out, etc. until top 5 leave. That can take awhile! Last race: scratch race again, of unknown distance. They ring the bell signalling last lap.

    We start each race by holding on to the railing up track, then just ride neutral for the first lap, then it's on! Sort of pacelined for the first half of the first race, then it was a free-for-all. It was a pretty brisk pace, and I found it hard to pass people above them. This was my first race and I felt anxious about staying upright, so I didn't go nuts fighting for positions, etc. I probably got about 8/11. The top several guys were really fast, strong sprinters. I'm not. Oh, there were a couple of hot-spot sprints as well.

    The win-and-out was tough. Again, the neutral 1st lap. After that it was just about a sprint until lap 5, after that I lost count of where I was, ending up dying just to get that top 5. This stuff , although really short, is really,really hard! Sprint interval night is what it is.

    Third race, I'm worn out, so is everyone else. The neutral lap is slow, I get to the front and stay there for almost the whole race. I figure the races are short enough, wind not a factor, so pulling the field isn't nearly as draining as on a road race/crit. Plus having proven I don't do well passing from behind, the front is where I need to be. We're in a double line and when I sense the guys above me trying to pass I kick my speed up a bit. It stays like this until the bell lap, the fast guys go , I see it and go too, trying to grab a wheel, but at the first turn I lose it somehow, drift out of the sprinters lane , go up-track a little, allowing several racers to go below me. Damn centrifigal force! I sprint in for about 6th. Two guys crash out before the end. Also, this being a training race, I didn't get dq'ed for my 'drift', otherwise veering out of the sprinter's lane in the last 200m is automatic out.

    What a night! Some of the most adrenaline-rushing sensations I've had on 2 wheels. I've always wanted to do this and what a great feeling to have the first one over with! I plan to do many more, even though I know some of the guys I'm up against are 1/2 my age and damn fast. It's the experience, not the results that drives me in bike racing. I will say this: the chances of crashing in this type of event, esp. at my level, are exponential compared to road racing. Must be, every training session they have us doing body contact drills, wheel touching drills, etc. My new 'full contact' sport!

  2. #2

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    cool

    Sounds like fun. Wish they had a drome around here (Fresno). Closest one is 150 miles away in San Jose. I used to run the 400 in high school and college, so I suppose there might be some carry over. What's an equivalent track distance (for time, 45-50 seconds)?

    What's the longest race they have on a track?

    Doug

  3. #3
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    Track racing is awesome! You can't describe the rush (or the pain) until you do it! It's so fast! I'm at a similar stage to you - having done 6 classes and 2 races. It's nothing like any other kind of cycling! They're kind of like crits but shorter, faster, safer, and more fun!

    The 50-lap Madison is about the longest race. (although this excludes things like the world hour record, and stuff like that.) The San Diego track is 350m around, I think. A flying lap takes about (well me anyway) 23secs. Laps are more like 25secs each in a race on average.

    The most painful race has to be the 25/30 lap points race. Lot's of sprinting - especialy when there are prim laps. Most races are less than 10 laps though.

  4. #4
    hrv
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    The Kilo might have to be the most painful race, yes?

    Basically a 1000m sprint. Haven't done one yet, don't really look forward to doing my first one! Short but as intense an effort as anything you'll (I'll) ever do in cycling.

    hrv

  5. #5
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    which track?

    Quote Originally Posted by hrv
    Basically a 1000m sprint. Haven't done one yet, don't really look forward to doing my first one! Short but as intense an effort as anything you'll (I'll) ever do in cycling.

    hrv
    I plan to head down to Kenosha this summer to ride/race the track there.
    I also plan to visit the Alpenrose 'drome just to see it in person, won't have a bike with me though on this trip (bummer). Gotta get that bank angle photo.
    <<a sig line goes here>>

  6. #6
    hi, I'm Larry
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    Sounds like fun

    I'm doing track racing tonight. Same kind of racing but unfortunately we do ours on a half mile oval paved stock car track (not quite as steep of turns as a bike track, but still plenty of action and excitement).

    I always have fun at these races. With several races in the evening you stand a chance of getting one or two to go your way. At my last track race we did a last man out with a field of 12. I came in second! I gave up on the last lap and did not have the energy to even start the final sprint, just coasted across the line for second. I was never so exhausted in my life.

  7. #7
    hrv
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    Alpenrose

    If you go to Alpenrose during a Wed. night class, or Thurs, Friday race you can rent a bike for $5.00. Maybe you want to bring your pedals, etc. just in case?

    It's a short track, about 268 meters around, tight radius turns, hard (for me) to stay in the sprinters lane at speeds above 25, 26 mph. I'm working on it. When you see/ride the 43 deg. banking for the first time you are blown away. I'm very comfortable on it now after 3 classes and one race.

  8. #8
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    I'll have to do that

    Quote Originally Posted by hrv
    If you go to Alpenrose during a Wed. night class, or Thurs, Friday race you can rent a bike for $5.00. Maybe you want to bring your pedals, etc. just in case?

    It's a short track, about 268 meters around, tight radius turns, hard (for me) to stay in the sprinters lane at speeds above 25, 26 mph. I'm working on it. When you see/ride the 43 deg. banking for the first time you are blown away. I'm very comfortable on it now after 3 classes and one race.
    Not sure what day we'll be in Portland yet, sort of meandering a bit. If my wife asks why I'm bringing pedals and shoes I'll just smile.
    <<a sig line goes here>>

  9. #9
    Old, slow, and fat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich_Racer
    Track racing is awesome! You can't describe the rush (or the pain) until you do it! It's so fast! I'm at a similar stage to you - having done 6 classes and 2 races. It's nothing like any other kind of cycling! They're kind of like crits but shorter, faster, safer, and more fun!

    The 50-lap Madison is about the longest race. (although this excludes things like the world hour record, and stuff like that.) The San Diego track is 350m around, I think. A flying lap takes about (well me anyway) 23secs. Laps are more like 25secs each in a race on average.

    The most painful race has to be the 25/30 lap points race. Lot's of sprinting - especialy when there are prim laps. Most races are less than 10 laps though.
    Actually, San Diego's only 333m. Encino's 250m. The new track is also 250m.

    I haven't been down to the track this year: bad back = no training.

    The coolest thing about track racing is that you've got 3-5 races/evening to try different things. If you don't do well going over the top, stay at the front. If that don't work, try something else.

    Re: going over the top. It takes a lot more speed to go around someone on the blue line than it does the black line. If you can help it, don't come out of the sprinter's lane till the last min.

    I keep telling people that track racing's safer than crits, but until someone actually experiences it, they won't believe me. Since the track's banked, you don't really turn per-se, you just lean and keep going straight.

    Congrats! Now what you need is my Zipp 340 rear wheel...

    Mike
    I've moved back to NoVA. PLEASE change the weather!

  10. #10

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    I was there too

    hrv=Hood River Valley = Marty?

    I was in the same races, and yes it was very cool. Will I see you this week?

    H10
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    "The main thing is not to cut yourself and bleed to death in the tub." - Frankie Andreu

  11. #11
    hrv
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    Doug, is that you?

    Looks like you. No doubt you thought it was cool, you stomped us!

    Going to the class tonight, need to play around with different gears. Not sure about Friday, went to PIR last night, going to PDX 3 times per week for 2 weeks straight is getting to me and my wallet. Good luck if I don't see you.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MShaw
    Actually, San Diego's only 333m.
    Damn - that's why I keep getting beat in the sprints - I always think there's an extra 17 metres to go!



    Quote Originally Posted by MShaw
    The coolest thing about track racing is that you've got 3-5 races/evening to try different things.
    Totally. And the efforts are so short that you recover quickly.

    Quote Originally Posted by MShaw
    I keep telling people that track racing's safer than crits
    True - although there was a really nasty crash in the A's this week. Three people in hospital and the rest of the racing was cancelled. Not good.

    Quote Originally Posted by MShaw
    Now what you need is my Zipp 340 rear wheel...
    Feel free to lend it to me anytime! ;)

    Mike[/QUOTE]

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