Junior Track Cycling Velodrome cycling for junior (18 and under) riders

January 25, 2005

Beginning Racing for Juniors

Filed under: Cycling,Uncategorized — Administrator @ 2:27 pm

All of you experienced racers can stop here. This is strictly for the beginners.

This is also an article which applies more to road racing than to track, but I find that many young track riders also want to race on the road. Some come to the track before they have ever done a road race, so they need a little help knowing how to get started.

First season racing? Here are some thoughts. If you have friends who race they can tell you much more. I’m just trying to cover some of the things a true beginner might need to find out. Of course nothing here replaces a careful reading of the rule book. There is also nothing here about tactics, training, or how to win. This is just the basics of participating in a race. I intended this to be a short list, but there really is quite a bit to know, so the article grew. Don’t be discouraged – most of this will quickly become automatic for you.

  • Choose your races. Read the race announcements to see what categories are offered. There are at least three things you may find.
    1. Junior Races matching your age group. If your age group (typically 10-12, 13-14, 15-16, or 17-18) has a separate race, that’s the best choice, especially for beginners in the younger groups. The race will be slower and the field is often smaller so you don’t have to deal with a big pack in your first race.
    2. Junior races combining all age groups (or a wide range). These races rarely have a well-defined pack. Smaller riders will quicky get lapped as the older riders blast around the course. This is okay if the field size isn’t too big, but if you are small and slow be ready to hold a steady line and pace when the big kids come around. Don’t dodge around to get our of their way. Just be smooth and predictable.
    3. Adult “elite” races. “Elite” is a term apparently chosen to demonstrate a lack of literacy at USA Cycling. Any adult who walks up with 10 dollars can be elite for a day. More to the point, these races are also open to juniors, and sometimes they are a good choice. I don’t normally recommend these races for brand new junior racers because of the large pack sizes. On the other hand, if you don’t have junior races in your area this may be your only choice. It’s also a good place to get extra racing experience if you have the energy to do both a junior race and an elite race in the same day. Are you ready? Find an adult racer (or better, a club full of them) who can ride with you on a non-racing day. They will be able to help you decide if you are ready for an adult pack. If you are a 15-16 or 17-18 racer, you may find that the Cat 4 and Cat 5 packs are actually slower than the juniors you would be racing against. In this case, it can actually be easier to “ride up” with the adults.
  • Get a License. If you will be racing more than three times this year, it’s cheaper to get an annual license. Otherwise, you can usually buy a one-day license when you register. It’s up to $10 this year, so there’s even more reason to get an annual license. An annual license also makes registration easier since you don’t have to fill out a new one-day form every time, and there are some other benefits.
  • Take a Parent. Local details may vary, but in general you will need to have a parent or guardian sign a release form for each race. If you are riding to the race with friends, get the release form signed in advance and take it with you.
  • Be early. A 9 AM race does not mean that you arrive at 8:50 and hang around until everyone feels like starting at 9:20. Most well-run races start promptly, unless there is a real problem. Arrive in time to register (do it in advance if you can – many races have online registration now). Even if you pre-register, you probably still need to pick up your race number and pin it on. At some venues it will take extra minutes to find registration, the start line, and the porta-potties (where there can be long lines). Finally, you need time to warm up and get back to the start line.
  • Be equipped. This doesn’t mean that you need expensive pro-quality gear. It does mean that everything should be adjusted and in good condition well before race day. Changes made the night before a race are a notorious source of problems. Don’t forget a pump and tire repair stuff, or spare wheels if there are some around your house. You don’t want to get there, register, and then miss your race due to a flat. For important races or those involving a lot of travelling, you should have more spare parts and tools. Ask a local racer or do some reading.
  • But not too equipped. You will be expected to remove your pump and tool bag for criteriums, but not for some road races where you might have to fix your own flat. No aero bars are allowed, except in time trials. Don’t buy (and especially don’t borrow) fancy equipment you can’t afford to damage. Crashes do happen.
  • Be ready for gear limits. Juniors are subject to gear limits. You cannot race with a gear higher than the rule allows. Note: the following examples are given for easy reference, but the actual rules are based on rolling distance per crank revolution, not on gear teeth. You should read the rule book and check the measurements yourself. With 700c wheels and typical tires, 52×14 will be okay for all junior road races. On the track, limits vary with age: 48×17 up to age 12, 48×16 for 13-14 , 48×15 for 15-16, and no limits for 17-18 juniors. Remember that tire size is a factor – check the actual rollout distance, especially if you have unusually large or small tires. If you are entering a road race and your highest gear is more than 52×14, you will have to “block out” some cogs in the back by adjusting your derailleur so that it won’t shift to any disallowed gears. Don’t leave this until just before the race – you will have other things to do. Be aware that most races will require juniors to attend “roll out” to check their gearing before each race, and often afterwards as well. Check when you register, and if you don’t hear an announcement when it’s time to roll out, ask.
  • Dress wisely. You should strive to be warm, but not hot. At spring races in most climates, you’ll probably want to have arm warmers and leg warmers or tights. Avoid sweats and loose jackets if you can – they catch a lot of air and slow you down – just use more layers of t-shirts or jerseys. One more thing – don’t wear the uniform of a team you don’t belong to. Leave that U.S. Postal jersey at home. Just wear a plain jersey or even a t-shirt unless you actually belong to a team.
  • Warm up.You may be shocked to see how hard riders warm up for races. Your body will work better if you allow for a gradual warmup of 30 to 60 minutes, with a few really hard efforts. A wind trainer or rollers work best, because many races don’t have safe warmup roads nearby. Even otherwise good roads may be closed to you due to traffic control or other race arrangements.
  • Know the rules.The USCF rules are referenced below. You also need to read the race announcement for any special conditions. For example, some races are on open roads where it is against the rules (and good sense) to swing out into the oncoming lane. Others are on closed roads where using all the lanes is expected.
  • Listen to the starter. Often the race officials will say things you need to know. Sometimes rules are modified or a special hazard is mentioned. Listen up and move away from anyone talking loudly enough to keep you from hearing.
  • Expect anything. Most club rides, even with racers, are much steadier than a race. Juniors especially tend to start races very fast, so don’t be shocked when they blast away from the start line. If you can stay with them for a couple of laps, you will find that the pace drops a bit. In all races there will be sudden surges of speed and sometimes sudden slowdowns. This is all part of the way riders try to tire each other out or escape from the pack. If there is a crash, don’t overreact. Brake if you need to, but don’t swerve to the side and cause another crash behind you. A crash does not usually cause a race to stop. Keep going unless it’s unsafe or the officials stop the race.
  • Know when to quit. Normally, it’s best to finish your races. Most coaches feel that it’s good physically and mentally to stick with it and finish, even if you are out of contention. In most races, you do NOT need to drop out if you get lapped, and you can even ride with the pack again (but read your rule book for things you can’t do once you are lapped). On the other hand, if you become really weak or an official tells you to stop, do so at the first safe opportunity. Don’t swerve to the side, because a rider may be passing, but get off the road when you can. Never ride a course backwards to get back to the start. Ride forwards or find a way to stay off the course.
  • Don’t run off. After any race it takes the officials a while to write down the finish order, and they may need to consult a video of the finish. Then placings are posted and there is a 15-minute period during which riders may protest the results. Even if you didn’t place highly, you should check the results in case there’s a big error or you have been omitted entirely (except in some races, which only list a limited number of top finishers). If your placing is wrong, politely make your protest. Mistakes are common with a few (often unpaid) officials trying to spot dozens of riders. It’s especially tough when there are multiple packs on the course at once, or when lapped riders are mixed in. Tell the official what you think is wrong, be available to help if they want to ask questions, and accept the result. Be patient – there is no time limit on how long they can take to answer the protests, and the judge or referee many be busy with other races. Don’t be too shocked if there are errors you can’t get corrected. There’s just not always enough time and information to straighten everything out, and you’ll probably get fair placings on average.
  • Cool down.You will be tired after a race, and maybe excited to talk about it with your friends. Instead of standing around or collapsing on the ground, take an easy ride or a spin on your trainer. Your legs will thank you tomorrow, and you can always invite your friends to cool down with you.
  • Join a Team! Enjoy racing? Wish you were better prepared? If you are on an active team you will learn a lot more than I can tell you here. Look around and ask questions. Some teams only want dedicated racers with proven results. Some teams are very casual. Some specialize in old, young, male, or female riders. Find a group you can enjoy and learn from.

Racing age: your age at the end of the current year. For example, if you are 11, but you turn 12 in November, your racing age is 12 all year.

Rulebooks: You should be familiar with the USA Cycling and USCF rulebooks for road and track racing. Those and the books for other areas of cycling are available from this USA Cycling page.

Further information:
For every item on the list, there is more to learn, and rules and conventions vary from one region to another. The information here should be enough to get you into your first race without too many surprises, but you will continue to learn. Watch other riders. Ask questions. Find a team and/or a coach. Read books. [Internet kids: there are still public libraries! They are generally free, and there is good stuff there. The card catalog (that’s how you look up books) may even be online.]

January 18, 2005

A Weekend in the Warmth

Filed under: Cycling,Uncategorized — Earl @ 7:17 pm

For two glorious days, January fifteenth and sixteenth, I attended the WCCC’s (Western Collegiate Cycling Conference) training camp in Buellton, California. At this point you may ask yourself, as did many of the students there, why is there a Junior in High School here? Well, pretty simply, I was invited. I race with Alden Tanaka, director of the WCCC, at Hellyer. We decided it would be fun and educational for me to attend, so I did. Friday the fourteenth my Mom, Daniel Holloway and I drove down to Buellton eagerly awaiting the beginning of the camp. The basic itinerary went like this: Ride Saturday morning, talk by Dede Barry, talk by Tom Danielson, sleep. Sunday morning talk by the UC Davis Aggie’s coach, ride, go home. Dede Barry, for those of you who don’t know, got silver in the women’s Olympic Time Trial. Tom Danielson is a young American professional on the Discovery team. The only reservations I had concerned the killer weight workout I had done Thursday and how much pain that would bring me.

Saturday comes about and we (Daniel and I) went down to the meeting. It turns out that there were probably about seventy people attending the camp! Everyone got ready for the ride of the day and met out back of the hotel. There were people from UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly SLO, CAL, the Claremont Colleges, Humboldt, and UC Santa Cruz, oh and some triathlon people on road bikes from a college in San Fransisco. I wasn’t really sure where we were going that day, but I knew it involved hills. Tired legs, seventy college students and a few guys from Webcore tend to combine badly. Oh ya, it was probably at least 70 degrees out! So, we roll out in two groups: girls and guys. Pretty soon after leaving town we get onto upward sloping roads, nothing much, just a little warm up for later. I was sitting at the back with Daniel and two of Alden’s friends for the first bit of the ride. Soon however, we got to a road I recognized, my Dad and I had ridden down it the previous year around Easter. Unfortunately the key phrase here is “rode down it”, meaning of course that we were going up it. The road gently slopes up and gets steeper every once in a while. For the last couple of kilometers the road was fairly inclined but nothing too bad. People were getting dropped and I was getting hot, I had on long sleeves, arm warmers, a jersey, bibs and leg warmers. This clothing really didn’t bother me until the last 500 meters of the climb, then I got really hot. Fortunately at the top everyone stopped to regroup and I was able to remove my arm warmers. As people said they were ready to start down Daniel shot away from the group. Dario from Webcore tore away after him and then the rest of us started down. Right before the first turn a guy passed me. The roads around Solvang are not the best paved in the world; as we went through the turn his water bottle rattled out and slid into the side of my wheel. The rest of the pack managed to dodge the bottle and I made it through the turn. A couple more people passed me on the way down because I was being cautious, no need to crash in training. In one of the last turns a few of us barely made it. I was on the very edge between pavement and dirt and the guy behind me went into the dirt for a second. The ride continued and we crossed Highway 101. I knew what was ahead of us, four more climbs, all in the last hour-hour and a half of the ride. The first one was pretty easy, only a few people got dropped. Then we turned onto roads I recognized again and headed up a hill (most of these hills are only around or less than a kilometer or so) but I wasn’t ready to push myself too hard with another hour of riding ahead of me. At the top Bernard (from Webcore) caught me, he had had a flat, and the small group behind me followed him for the next bit. Coming up was a turn I remembered but apparently the pack didn’t. Already ahead of us they shot right by the turn. We got a good rest as it took the pack about 10 minutes to realize they were going the wrong way. From this point on in the ride I rode towards the front, the upcoming hills were ones you wanted to set the pace on. The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. All in all the ride was great, a little painful for my torn up muscles but still fun. That afternoon Dede talked about her preparations for the Olympics, her experience and a general overview of her fifteen year long career. She even broke out her medal for us which was pretty awesome! Later that night Tom Danielson came, after his six hour ride he had needed a massage; I wish I had a personal massage person. Anyway, he talked about how much he loved the Collegiate cycling program and ways the various clubs could get more money. Then of course he talked about living in Italy and having to deal with a team full of people who didn’t speak English. Then it was basically time to sleep for us.

Sunday the weather was even nicer, almost 77 degrees by the end of the ride! Judd from Davis gave us an informative talk about training and the basics of healthy riding. Then it was off to our ride. Again we were riding on roads I recognized. The course was a simple loop with few real hills. The rolling terrain was fun to ride over and perfect for talking to the various collegiates there. I rode in the front half of the seventy people the entire ride, even venturing to the front for a few kilometers! Surprisingly the only crash of the weekend came on a flat, straight road, albeit with a rock in the middle of it. As we returned to town I remembered a town line sign, those of you who ride grouped rides know what that means! Fortunately for me I knew it was coming, when Alden accelerated off the front of the group I assumed he was going for it. Apparently he just wanted a picture, but he and I sprinted anyways, I didn’t actually expect him to sprint so he got me by about a wheel. We were however far off the front of the Holloway led group.

As the weekend wrapped up I felt like it was a highly worthwhile experience. I have also decided that I’m going to Cal Poly SLO for college. Thanks for reading, ride hard, and turn left! (I had many cat-calls over the weekend of “What are ya doin on a hill Trackie!”)

January 12, 2005

Thanks to Fred Rodriguez

Filed under: Cycling,Hellyer,Junior 10-14 Sessions — Administrator @ 6:51 am

Just a little thanks to Fast Freddie Rodriguez (trivia question: who is Fast Freddy with a “y”?).

We met him at a Specialized get-together and when my wife described the junior program at the track he happily signed a bunch of water bottles (donated by Specialized) and posters for our kids.

 Holiday bottle by Specialized, signature by Fred Rodriguez
Holiday bottle by Specialized, signature by Fred Rodriguez

January 10, 2005

ADT Weekend Report

Filed under: ADT Event Center,Cycling,Uncategorized — Steven Woo @ 1:21 pm

This article was contributed by Steven Woo.

I wanted to share this so that people with a similar background to mine ( I have only ridden at Hellyer like most of the juniors in the 10-14 program ) can read what it’s like to ride at the ADT event center velodrome in Los Angeles. They didn’t mention any age restrictions but I think the faster and bigger kids in our group would easily fit in there. If you have any doubt you should contact Roger Young and ask him yourself – they do have junior only sessions. Bigger because all the juniors I saw there rode 700c wheel bikes with adults. The faster is explained below. Also IIRC, juniors have to pay at ADT, unlike Hellyer.

Anyone with previous track experience and their own equipment is welcome to take the advanced training
session in lieu of the six week beginner session which is impractical for us Bay Area folks. Unless you are a cat 1 or cat 2 rider it’s necessary to get certified to ride on the track. It’s such a long trip though that potential riders should keep that sliding and you’re out rule mentioned later in mind at all times while on the track.

Short version : lot of fun, legs sore after just the warmup. For someone who has only ridden at Hellyer, it was well worth the trip to ride there for two days.

Long director’s cut (rated G) version follows. There was simultaneous beginner session and advanced session starting promptly at 3pm. Roger Young taught both sessions. He spoke to the beginners first and told the folks in the advanced class to come back after he had talked to the beginners. He wore a wireless mike which was audible anywhere in the velodrome which comes up later in this. I paid attention to the beginner session to see if I could learn anything to use at Hellyer. This must have been their first class. Most of the beginners had rentals which were brand new Felts! Roger and one assistant evaluated everyone’s position on the bike. Then he began talking about the velodrome terminology. Everyone who signs the release form becomes a member of the ADT club and every ride there is a club ride.

The infield was the concrete area inside the track. Anyone could ride there just to stay loose and I noticed they do not enforce the helmet rule here.

The safety rail was the name for the fencing between the lower infield and the start of the wooden track. Sometimes racers start from here, and there are receptacles for water bottles here on the infield side of the net.

The apron is the part of the track between the blue band and the safety railing. One should only ride here for recovery and building up speed to get onto the track.

The blue band is the wide blue band at the bottom of the track. One should only ride here when getting off and on the track.

The measurement line or pole as Roger preferred was the black line at the bottom of the track. One should ride there when riding hard efforts.

The relief line, or stayers line or madison line was where one should ride for light temp, resting.

The last area he mentioned was the ballustrade. This is what we call the railing here since we only have one railing. He said sometimes people use this for hard tempo, and we started some mass start races from here.

Another key difference from Hellyer riding is that he really wanted riders to ride on the black line, and not use the sprinters lane and ride on the relief line and not just above it and close to it. Riders were verbally corrected if they drifted. The only reason to ride elsewhere in most training situations at ADT is if one is passing someone.

Then he said if you go too slow, you can slide down the banking. If you slide down the banking, your day at the track is over.

I think I thought a little too much about this because it took me a long time to feel comfortable doing exchanges during a paceline, but better safe than sorry.

He recited the same speech to the advanced class about fifteen minutes later, seems like it would have saved him some time to do both groups at once, but we seemed to have more questions. (After writing this I did some research and found out the beginner session had started an hour earlier so I missed quite a bit.)

Then he talked to the beginners about their first exercise. They would ride 5 laps easy on the apron, then 5 laps on the measurement line, then 5 laps on the relief line in groups of 10. There were about 30 in the beginners class. There were some juniors but they all had full size bikes. Then Roger handed off the beginners to an assistant and spoke to the advanced class.

The very first thing he spoke to us about was tires. He wrote down four things on the whiteboard.

  • Black – softer, better than colored compounds on wooden surface
  • Tread – better to have tread on wooden surface
  • 23 or wider – better to have on steeply banked surface
  • High profile better on steeply banked surface, with low profile if you lean over too much you end up riding on the sidewalls.

Now he said you could choose something which is less than optimum, but that we had to adjust our riding style so that our equipment would permit us to stay upright – if we chose less than optimum equipment, we would have to

  1. go faster to avoid sliding in the banking
  2. not lean the bike over as much as we were used to when doing out of saddle efforts

Then he repeated the terminology speech he gave to the beginners.

Next he talked about riding etiquette. In short, slower riders have priority in that since slower riders have less maneuverability and cannot go up the banking far or they will fall down. But faster riders can issue orders like stay. Faster riders should not say pole or rail and expect slower riders to get out of the way. The cardinal rule was – if in doubt when being passed, ride in a straight line. Faster riders should always talk to riders being overpassed. When turning – use the smallest movement possible – do not swerve suddenly. Keeping in mind this rule and the fact that if one is going too slow, one would slip down the banking, he said one might take quarter to half a lap on the blue band. Do not use any hand signals to indicate turning. He said some riders move their arms so much while just riding it would not be clear at all times what they meant. Always look before turning. Thus, riders can tell if you are turning by observing the rider ahead of them turning their head. The last thing he said was always have a plan before you step onto the apron. Something like get on, go hard for 10 laps, light tempo for 5, repeat or something like that, whatever you want to get out of the day. Then there was a question and answer period and we *graduated* from the advanced class. Then immediately we started our first event, which caught me a little off guard.

This was a 100 lap warm up or 25K . He split us into C(field 25 including 3 USnational team members/Rahsaan Bahati/1 Australian National team member) )/B(field 25)/A(field15)/Jr(field 5)/Women(field 8, 1 US National Team,1 Swiss National Team). He confused me first by calling the Elite field the C’s, then he said, everyone who has not raced at ADT should be in the A’s. So I went with the A’s. The A’s/Jr’s/Women started at the ballustrade. This is the key reason only the faster juniors should consider going – you have to be able to keep up, dropped riders are told to get off the track for safety during the warmup and during large field races. Unlike Hellyer, one cannot just go slow at the relief line. The B’s and C’s started at the safety railing. Roger Young rode the motorpace electric bike and wore the wireless mike to instruct us. The C’s and B’s started riding first. The first thing I noticed was the loud resounding thump noise as riders rode over the planks. It’s like thump thump for each rider in certain areas. After they got up to speed at the relief line, he instructed us to follow him to the pole. I was near the end of the field so I got to ride with the C’s and B’s for a couple of laps until I could get down to the pole. He worked the speed up to 25 mph and told us to not worry about the number of riders and just look at the person in front of us, and when in the corners, to look 30 meters ahead of us. When riders were getting dropped from C/B field he told them they should consider riding down in category. At 30 laps to go the juniors go the OK to race and they sprinted with 25 laps to go. Then the women go the OK to race and they sprinted with 20 laps to go. Then we go the OK to race and sprinted with 15 laps to go. I thought I was feeling pretty good but got dropped pretty quickly when the riders in front of me got gapped. The first time I really went hard in the corners I almost felt sick. I could feel the unsupported weight of my torso beneath the rib cage being pressed downward by the momentum. This got less and less signficant as I spent more time on the track and I either adapted or got slower. One of the riders that got gapped was pretty sketchy in that he kept swerving up and down without looking so I decided to play it safe and stay clear of him. After exiting the track I spoke with one of the riders in my group and he said he got dropped pretty quickly too so he thought he was undergeared. I changed gears from 50×17 to 50×15. Later after speaking with him more it turns out he knew Mark Altimirano from our track from when Mark lived in New Mexico. His name was Jim Gelb and he still lives in New Mexico. Meanwhile, the B riders sprinted with 10 to go and the A riders sprinted at the end.

The next event was a 30 lap scratch race for each group. The juniors, women, and A groups got Roger to motorpace them. The juniors got I think 25 laps motorpaced and the women and A groups got 20 laps. The B and C groups got no motorpacing. Roger Young did all the motorpacing and commentary while on the motorpacing bike. With the larger gear I felt more comfortable with accelerations but the one guy who was sketchy in the warmup was sketchy in the race when we lapped him so I had to ride harder than I needed to go way over him. A couple of times, folks would slow down and go up track. This is the opposite of what Roger taught us – he said if you are going slow, just ride in a straight line, let the other riders pass you. The last time this happened was foolish because it happened on the last lap. This was foolish because there is almost no way anyone is coming back on the last lap of a scratch race after slowing down in the banking on turn 2. I was a little less aggressive than I should have been at this point – instead of just going up track and passing the slow folks I kept thinking about sliding down the track so I waited for an opening that was lower, so four riders got off the front. I came close to them at the end but it was too late.

Then they had a callup for volunteers for the pursuit. I think about six or seven folks did it and a couple only did that.

The next event was a 20 lap tempo for every group. One point a lap for whoever wins each lap. A couple of guys traded points the first four laps – the neutral start lap was a bit unfair since they had a head start on us, but whatever. After we caught them I countered and built a big lead. After about two laps!? I didn’t feel so hot but was so far ahead it took them two more laps to catch up so I had four points and the lead. Immediately two others countered. They took the rest of the points. After they took off and I couldn’t chase I figured I would settle for third. As long as I disrupted any chase, no one else could catch me since no one else would score more points.

The last event was a madison but I was so tired I did not stick around and watch. They said they ended up leaving at 9:30pm.

The next day was a *sprint* day. I learned from yesterday and showed up early so I could get my gear inside and ready without having to rush. There are two entrances for athletes, one that is a long walk from the parking lot unless you shuttle you car to the door and back to the lot, and one that is closer to the lot but up two flights of stairs. This session started at 9AM. This time we got to ride as soon as we signed up. It was pretty cool being the only rider on the velodrome for about fifteen minutes. The turnout was quite different from the previous day. Not sure why.

The first event was either the flying 200 or the kilo. I picked the kilo. I set a personal record by two seconds even though I felt like I died after two laps. Two other guys did the kilo, one beat me by five seconds and I beat the other guy by three seconds, but they were both on aerobars.

Each track is different for the 200 – the optimum line for each rider needs to be learned through practice and repetition so I figured I would just watch the others do the 200. Here the 200 Meter line is between turns 1 and turn 2 so one does not get the chance to use the banking in the same manner as one does at Hellyer. A couple of people dove late and sharp and ended up going through the blue band, compensating by going up track and correcting too far by going past the sprinter’s line and having to come back down. One of the US national team members did this. The fastest time was 11.4 . The other national team members came in with 12.2 and 11.7. The fastest women’s time was 13.5, by one of the national team women. I think times were slow because of the humidity, it was raining.

Next we had Keirin heats with Roger riding the motor. I got to do the keirin with the two other guys who did the kilo. I got on Roger’s wheel and stayed as close as I could. He said he was going to start at 25 and work his way up to 31 on the lap 6, which was when he pulls off. I went as hard as I could as soon as he pulled off. The guy who beat me in the kilo caught me on lap 8 and left me a few bike lengths behind at the end, and the other guy was way behind us.

Then we had two lap chariot races. This was with the same groups we had the keirins. This turned out exactly the same as the keirin with the gap being smaller at the end between me and the winner and bigger with the guy behind us.

Lastly we had match sprints. At this point my legs were pretty sore so I skipped it. There were a couple of accidents. The primary problem was riders not looking before turning. After the sprint some riders have a tendency of using the banking to slow down immediately without looking and this caused one accident. Nobody was hurt badly. During one of the women’s match sprints a junior girl slid and knocked Jennie Reed off the bike but they just restarted and did it again.

For those considering going down, I was really disappointed with the low local junior turnout they had but perhaps it’s because it’s the off season and faster riders were permitted to ride with adult groups. Roger was more than willing to accommodate kids who wanted to do non scheduled, different time trials during both sessions for the juniors, but then again, this may have been because there were so few. They also said they were doing these training races to gauge interest and determine what they would do in the future.

Then at 12:00 they started three hours of open training and there were eventually about 40 riders, mostly different from the morning sprint races, many of them I recognized from the previous nights *endurance* events. I stuck around for an hour of easy spinning and scouting vantage points from different seating sections for the world championships.

Last thoughts.

It seems like they need more people watching the race to give feedback to some of the newbies and people used to riding at shallow tracks. So just because someone from down there has graduated from the beginner class or advanced class doesn’t mean one can automatically trust them to ride safely, same as racing here.

Part of the reason my legs are so sore is I never really use my legs for braking that much at Hellyer but you pretty much have to in certain situations there because there are so many people on the track at some times and Roger starts the next event promptly after the last one has finished. After I finished and was already off the banking and on the apron, I wasn’t certain how fast I could take the corner on the apron so I took it very conservatively and slowed down a lot. I had to do this many times, but as I watched some riders would use the banking to slow down and then exit but they had the benefit of a somewhat empty track and were very careful to look behind them first, except for the ones causing the accidents.

The first time I looked down the banking from the stands, the steepness was pretty intimidating. It looks steeper from there than from the infield for some reason. Not sure if I would have believed how easy it was to ride if I had seen it from the stands first. Even when I was just on the infield I wasn’t sure I was going to ride very far up the banking because it was so steep compared to Hellyer, but I got over my initial trepidation.

January 6, 2005

New Track Bikes for Hellyer Juniors

Filed under: Cycling,Hellyer — Administrator @ 8:59 am

 Four New Bikes for the Juniors
Four New Bikes for the Juniors

These four new bikes will go into immediate use by juniors at Hellyer Velodrome. The yellow ones, sizes 40, 44, and 46 cm, will stay at the track and will be available free to juniors or to small adults for the usual rental fee. The red one (42 cm) will belong to the Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club, where it will be on loan to a junior member.

Come on out. If we keep these busy we can probably get more.

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