Archive for the ‘Track’ Category

Presented by the indefatigable Hernando.

Oh Track hack, how I missed you…um sort of.

Track hack: [tr?k h?k] n. to cough harshly, usually in short and repeated spasms, after fiercely exercising on a paved, circular racing course. adj. indicating or characterized by elation you get from racing on the velodrome. Elation is usually accompanied by dry, hacking cough – the gift that keeps on giving.

It was a beautiful day to head to the track for the first race of the year. I LOVE Tuesday Night racing, though I don’t get to make my way down to San Ho during the week as much as I’d like to. My plan was my usual one, don’t get dropped, if things are going well, try for some points in the points races, if things are going really well, attack as much as possible, and if things are going impossibly well, get some omnium points.

I had plenty of time to warmup, for once, and things went fine, but I noticed that people were not holding their lines as well as they usually do. Everyone was a bit rusty which is to be expected in April on the Track. I did have one close call as the person who was leading the last lap of the warmup, not only sat up, but slowed precipitously once he crossed the start/finish, without bothering to move out of the pole lane. I was right on his wheel and didn’t anticipate he would slow that much and I had to cut across the apron to avoid any possibility of a collision. It is definitely bad form to crash in the warmup! Luckily I avoided that.

Race 1 –> 15 Lap Points Race

Sprints every 5 laps. Junior Dylan Drummond attacked from the gun and quickly gained 1/3 of a lap on the field. We organized quickly and chased him down in ~ 3 laps. Once the catch was made and the group bunched up, I moved to the outside, just in time to catch a wheel allowed me to roll to the front (4th wheel) on the bell lap. I outsprinted the 3rd place rider for 2 points, my first ever in a B-race.

After the sprint, I cycled back through the pack and that is where I first noticed how squirrely some riders in the pack were riding. Mostly it was minimally experienced cat 4s who were not up to holding their line while riding above lactate threshold this early in the season (if that doesn’t sound totally pompous, I don’t know what does). For the rest of the race, I tried to stay in the pole lane and move up, but that was not working and I had to take the wind to come over the top a couple of times to stay in contact. The last sprint I finished 6th and out of the money for the first race (Money being omnium points). (Avg. Speed: 27.4 mph)

After regaining control of my Track hack, funny how you can train for half a year, putting your body through all sorts of tortuous intervals, group rides/races and other obscene things, and one little 5k points race makes your body spasm like you were in some John Carpenter movie.

Race 2 –> 20 Lap Scratch Race

Again the Junior took off at the start, but we were ready and he didn’t get too much of a gap before we brought him back. We were bunched up for most of the early part of the race, then about half way through, I went out on the attack with another rider, hoping that a couple of others would bridge so we could have a decent break, but they all just chased and brought us back in after a few laps. I spent the rest of the race recovering on the pole lane. With about 2 to go, the pace picked up and I had a nice seat in the pole and we were moving up coming around the last turn when one of the sketchy guys started oscillating (there’s a geek physicist word for ya!) in the corner. This lead to some bumping and then he went down, right in front of me. Fortunately the oscillation distracted me just enough that a gap opened up in front of me, so I was able to avoid being collected in the carnage. (Avg. Speed 27.0 mph)

Race 3 –> 40 Lap Points Race

Sprints every 10 laps. This race was the best of the night, i.e. safest, as the sketch riders had either left or were fatigued, or figured out how to ride in a straight line. No attack from the Junior as we started the race at a pretty fast pace. Coming out of turn 4 to receive the bell for the last sprint, I was positioned perfectly, above the stayers line, ~mid pack, so I ramped it up to try and take a solo flyer for the points. I was caught just as we entered turn 3, but the bigger problem was we were approaching two slow riders. I assessed my situation. The pack was on my wheel and people were sprinting around me on the outside. As we were catching the slower riders, I started slowing and hooking my way out of the pole lane so I could come around the slow riders, and not kill anyone who was trying to come around me.  I made it through, but wasn’t too happy about it. That’s life in the first track race of the season! (Avg Speed 26.7 mph)

That’s it! I kept my skin, took some sprint points, got some attacks in, reconnected with a bunch of bike buddies, and hopefully got some speed in my legs. All in All a great night, just remember boys and girls, hold your line, don’t ride over your head, if you want to get fast, be like Stan and ride tempo on the front of the A group most of the night, and for god’s sake if you are off the pace on the last lap of a race, stop bullshitting with your teammate, take a peak over your shoulder, and if the pack is haulin’ ass after you, get the hell out of the way!

Hellyer Friday Night Lights 2010 #6?

Posted: September 21, 2010 in Track

I skedaddled out of work a bit early so I could pack my race bag, load up the car with the circus that is known as the Vidnovics and get down to Hellyer in plenty of time to warm up before the races started. We were only a few minutes behind my preferred schedule when we left the house, but what we didn’t expect was the hellacious traffic that we encountered just as soon as we saw the San Jose City Limit sign. If that wasn’t bad enough, Sierra had to make a potty run, the only problem was that we forgot her travel potty, wipes, and spare clothes. So we ducked off the freeway and found a Volero station. No TP in the BR so next stop was KFC. Whew she made it. Insane Traffic the rest of the way to Hellyer, the typically 45 min (1 hr in moderate traffic) drive to the Velodrome took a scant 1 hour 30 minutes. Who needs a stinking warm up anyway?

Since my last encounter with Friday Night Track Racing went so poorly, I was intent upon staying in the pack for all of the races. First up was the power mile. 5 laps, balls to the wall. Since I had no warm up, I figured that a one mile sprint would be just the ticket. I managed to stay in the pack, but the shadows on the track were playing hell with my spider sense. The second race was a 4k scratch race, not my preferred distance. 40k would have been better. The average speed was ~28 mph, I stayed in the pack, and the shadows were still bugging me. Maybe next year I won’t go 4 months between night races. Anyway, with 1 lap to go, my glasses fell off going into turn 1. I figured that they were toast and I made sure to drop the whole way down to the apron on the cool down lap so I would be sure to run them over. Merde! Fortunately, I only broke the lenses and I have a spare set. I didn’t contest the new race called the Hellyer crawl, but it is a keeper. Start from the rail between turn 4 and the start line, do not cross the start line for the first 2 minutes (can’t hold the rail, cant’ leave the track, can’t touch the ground, can’t touch anyone else) then once the 2 minutes is up, the first racer to do 1 lap wins the race. Increadibly entertaining. By the points race, the shadows were no longer bugging me and I felt completely comfortable for the first time of the night. Unfortunately, the race itself was more of the same, suck wheel and stay in the pack. With 3 to go, I got dropped when the field accelerated. Can’t really explain why, but the pack just accelerated and I couldn’t kick it over. My goal in the miss ‘n out was to find my spot ASAP, which I did, unfortunately I was repeatedly swarmed and the pace was a bit too high to fall out of the back and to try to come around. I was the 3rd rider pulled. All in all it wasn’t the best night for racing for me, but I was just so happy to be turning the pedals and more importantly going around in circles in anger. I felt like I got some of my mojo back. As far as evaluating the racing, I had a much better gear selected than the last time I raced on Friday Night, I stayed in the pack (mostly), and I wasn’t the first one eliminated in the miss ‘n out.

Lessons Learned: 1. Race more often at night, if you want to race at night. 2. I felt that if I got out of the saddle and sprinted then I would be shot straight out of the back of the pack, so I never sprinted. Need to work on fatigue resistance. 3. After looking at my data, my average cadence was in the 100-115 range for the most part. I think I may have benefited from a slightly smaller gear. That may have helped me handle the accelerations better and maybe got my lead ass out of the saddle on occasion. 4. Need to work on my track stand if I want to do the Crawl.

So last Sunday, I went down to Hellyer to lay down some TT times. I was looking forward to see how much my 200m time improved since March as well as seeing what my times were for the 500m, 1km, 2km, 3km, and 4km. The event was well run and offered TTs for both track and road bikes.

The 200m is a balls to the wall effort. You get ~2 laps to ramp up your speed for the balls to the wall 200m effort. I did the TT on the same gear I had used in March. When I jumped out of the saddle entering turn 1, I let out a little grunt, which is unusual and typically means that I have a full tank. I reached top speed just before the 200m line and held on for dear life. My line wasn’t the best I’ve had (dropped to the pole lane a bit early), but the effort felt good. I clocked 13.03s, which improved my best time by 6 tenths, what a good start to the day.

As I lined up for the 500m, I was thinking, be strong on the start and just gas it until my eyes bug out, then gas it some more. If you don’t feel as if you are about to fall over and die immediately after a 500, then you haven’t gone hard enough. When the whistle blew I started mashing the pedals, trying to concentrate on the upstroke. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much practice lately on my standing starts, so I was all over the track trying to control myself. I think I added at least a couple of seconds to my time with my crappy start and I clocked a 41.26.

Getting ready for the kilo, I wanted a bit more control on my start and decided to dial back the effort to gain that control. When the whistle blew, I was in much more control than the 500, but after ~10 pedal strokes, my left foot pulled out of the pedal. Since we were doing these TTs in a “pursuit” format, i.e. 2 riders on the track at a time, I didn’t want to ask for a restart, so I just fumbled around until I got my foot clipped back in, then I gassed it. I ended up with a 1:32 L.

The 2k went much smoother. My plan was to get a good start, get my heart rate up to threshold as fast as possible and just meter my effort until 1 lap to go then drill it. My time was 3:04, exactly twice my 1k. Clearly I lost a bunch of time in the kilo due to my mishap.

The 3k was pretty much a repeat of the 2k, but I was getting tired and it was getting late. I didn’t get my official time, but it was most likely in the 4:45 range, which is as expected with the 2k time I posted.

I had to scratch the 4k due to time constraints. I really wanted to do the 4k, but as tired as I was at that point, the time wouldn’t have been that meaningful. Overall, I was happy with my times and the experience. I learned a bunch about myself, and figured out a few things that I need to work on to improve. To quote the great Matt Martinez: “Holders, I need holders!” Next time, I think I’ll just do the 200m, 500m, and 1k and save the endurance lengths to training sessions, since I can basically time them easily myself. Oh yeah, and break the 13s barrier for the 200 and the 40s barrier for the 500.