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Newbie Track Report

AdamskiiAdamskii Posts: 267
edited May 2008 in Track
I completed my first hour’s taster session at the Manchester Velodrome, without falling off our upsetting too many people! Apart from a Scottish bloke for which I apologised.

Where do I start?

Firstly riding a fixed gear isn't as bad as I thought it might be. You just keep pedalling and there’s nothing more to it. More challenging is getting used to the lack of brakes. Slowing down can be done to some extent by reversing the pressure in the pedal stroke although this does put pressure on your hamstrings which I wasn't used to. Other than that it’s just a case of observation and avoidance.

Now comes to the bit of actually riding on the track. When you first see the banking at each end from the inside you wonder how it’s possible to ride on it. It takes a few laps on the light blue section before you build enough confidence to just ride on the black line (the lowest point on the track). As the coach assures you the angle of the track doesn't increase further up the banking so if you can ride at the bottom then you can ride at the top. But then the higher up you are the further it is to fall, not that anyone did fall. Riding at the top does take some nerve though.

There were a mixed bunch of ridings in my group, most of which (including myself) hadn't ridden on a track before. The coach was fairly relaxed which I’m not sure was a good thing. The only problem I found was that some riders choose to ride at the top of the track regardless of speed whether it’s right or wrong to do so, it made over taking difficult.

For example, I'm giving it some down the straight only to find a slower rider on the banking almost near the top of the track. At this point a more experienced rider would simply ride up to the barrier and round the slower rider but I just couldn't do it, I didn’t have the nerve to squeeze through the gap. So I either had to slow as much as possible and wait for the straight or go down onto the black line and undertake them which I understand isn't the best thing to do. Maybe the coach should have told us to stay low if you're going slow! Or maybe there just aren't any rules, who knows.

An enjoyable experience but an 'intermediate' session will hopefully help with confidence myself and others intentions on the track.
It's all good.

Posts

  • Johnny GJohnny G Posts: 348
    When did you go Adamskii? I was there for the last session on Saturday, 9-10. The folks before us had a monster picnic going in the centre which looked delicious!

    I thought the experience was superb and would recommend a session to anybody. That banking is steep!
  • AdamskiiAdamskii Posts: 267
    I was on the track from 6-7pm, they were setting up a tasty looking selection if food for the following group as I was leaving. I'm going to try and persuade my club to run some track sessions - with food :)
    It's all good.
  • Ste_SSte_S Posts: 1,173
    Adamskii wrote:
    I completed my first hour’s taster session at the Manchester Velodrome, without falling off our upsetting too many people! Apart from a Scottish bloke for which I apologised.

    Where do I start?

    Firstly riding a fixed gear isn't as bad as I thought it might be. You just keep pedalling and there’s nothing more to it. More challenging is getting used to the lack of brakes. Slowing down can be done to some extent by reversing the pressure in the pedal stroke although this does put pressure on your hamstrings which I wasn't used to. Other than that it’s just a case of observation and avoidance.

    Now comes to the bit of actually riding on the track. When you first see the banking at each end from the inside you wonder how it’s possible to ride on it. It takes a few laps on the light blue section before you build enough confidence to just ride on the black line (the lowest point on the track). As the coach assures you the angle of the track doesn't increase further up the banking so if you can ride at the bottom then you can ride at the top. But then the higher up you are the further it is to fall, not that anyone did fall. Riding at the top does take some nerve though.

    There were a mixed bunch of ridings in my group, most of which (including myself) hadn't ridden on a track before. The coach was fairly relaxed which I’m not sure was a good thing. The only problem I found was that some riders choose to ride at the top of the track regardless of speed whether it’s right or wrong to do so, it made over taking difficult.

    For example, I'm giving it some down the straight only to find a slower rider on the banking almost near the top of the track. At this point a more experienced rider would simply ride up to the barrier and round the slower rider but I just couldn't do it, I didn’t have the nerve to squeeze through the gap. So I either had to slow as much as possible and wait for the straight or go down onto the black line and undertake them which I understand isn't the best thing to do. Maybe the coach should have told us to stay low if you're going slow! Or maybe there just aren't any rules, who knows.

    An enjoyable experience but an 'intermediate' session will hopefully help with confidence myself and others intentions on the track.

    Undertaking is fine, as long as you don't move off the track to do so. Always look before you move though.

    Normally riders who are just pootling around will be above the blue stayer's line, faster riders will be under the blue line
  • Eddy SEddy S Posts: 1,013
    Ste_S wrote:
    Undertaking is fine, as long as you don't move off the track to do so. Always look before you move though.

    Normally riders who are just pootling around will be above the blue stayer's line, faster riders will be under the blue line
    Ste_S, I’m not disagreeing with what you’ve said and hopefully this adds to it:

    If everybody is circulating on the blue and you happen to be pootling faster, the common protocol and the safest place to pass is on the outside.

    Dropping down to the black should mainly be reserved for fast/hard efforts and that’s what you have to be wary of if planning to over take on the inside – there may be someone coming up behind you at speed hence the need to shoulder-check.

    If there are riders high on the track going slowly then it’s obviously not always feasible to pass on the outside.
    I’m a sprinter – I warmed up yesterday.
  • Ste_SSte_S Posts: 1,173
    Agreed Eddy.
  • I went on sunday evening for the first time and i have to agree that the banks are STEEP!!
    wasn't expecting them to be so steep. A little unnerving at first, but you soon realise that the faster you go the safer you feel (upto a certain speed). One lad who was a first timer took a bad tumble after he tried to stop peddling going into a bank. He went over his handlebars. All in we had a great time and are planning our next trip, and at only about £10 for the session great value for money to ride on the Manchester track which is the best in the world supposedly.

    Does anyone know what the skill sessions are like and how many taster sessions would you recommend before moving to the next stage.
  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    I think I was reading that they expect you to do 3 taster sessions before moving on. They also do skills sessions and an induction. They may carry out some sort of assessment to see if you should progress.

    http://www.manchestervelodrome.com/static_info/trackhire_p6.htm
  • suzesuze Posts: 302
    The coaches have a series of pink...green slips that you have to gain before you can finally gain accreditation.....

    They expect that you've ridden the track a few times, before moving on to "taster improver" sessions. It's in these sessions that you'll learn to control your bike properly, ride in a line safely, (at say 1/2 a bike length from the bike in front), and general track ettiquette. You'll also learn several of the skills that you will have to do on the Skills/induction test.

    I'd recomend doing a few of these sessions as you really get the techniques solid, for example looking before you move off line has to become second nature.

    After all when there's 40 riders on an SQT, you have to have some idea of what you're supposed to be doing. There's some big guys who ride track and they don't take prisoners if you move off your line when they're catching you at 35 mph plus.

    It's great fun though, I feel safer riding track than out on the road these days.
    �3 grand bike...30 Bob legs....Slowing with style
  • AdamskiiAdamskii Posts: 267
    Excellent, a few more taster sessions then before I move up to the next level. I'm also trying to get my mates into giving it a go.

    I felt fairly confident on the track handling the bike but I was more cautious of other riders intentions. I seemed to be riding quicker than others and overtaking hoping the weren't going to suddenly move of line into me. I guess the more advanced you go the less likely that is to happen.
    It's all good.
  • suzesuze Posts: 302
    Yeah taster sessions can be a bit fraught with indecisive riders swerving about, especially at weekends. I used to ride Wednesday lunch times and a line of three or four used to form and we'd stay on for the whole hour and do about 20 miles.

    Try to get used to riding on wheels about 1/2 a bike length, without kicking back on the pedals if you feel that you're catching the wheel in front. If you are, then check over your right shoulder for faster riders catching you, and just move ever so slightly higher than the wheel in front, it will go away from you again.

    Remember everyone in a line is on a similar size gear.

    You''ll soon begin to love rding track, it's so much better than the road and so differant to any other form of riding.
    �3 grand bike...30 Bob legs....Slowing with style
  • It also hurts like hell, be prepared to spend a lot of time in the dark world of the red zone! Remember though holding your line is one thing, but its fair game to squeeze your way through a gap, just dont swerve and its fine. And dont let anyone push you onto the grey or worse the concrete at 30 mph...its a bit scary when that happens.
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    hammerite wrote:
    I think I was reading that they expect you to do 3 taster sessions before moving on. They also do skills sessions and an induction. They may carry out some sort of assessment to see if you should progress.

    http://www.manchestervelodrome.com/static_info/trackhire_p6.htm

    I think it also depends on your "normal" cycling experience and whether you have raced.
    If you have raced you will probably be comfortable in a bunch environment.
    Ok theres no brakes so you get to learn to judge distances and when to ease off pedals a bit.
    I raced 23 years ago on old outside track so last year after returning back to cycling 3 months earlier I just turned up to newport velodrome for a training session and hired a bike and joined in :D

    I think confidence also has a lot to do with it and I was confident enough just to go and do it, some people lack confidence and that makes it a bit harder.
    I just looked at the others and thought "ok, they have two legs and a bike same as me" :D
    Once I learrnt the training routines it was ok, mostly through and off, lapping the field, half lap changes etc.
    I did my acreditation after about 4 goes so I could race.

    The training sessions are really good and fun, but the only thing I am finding now is I have loads of speed but lost strenght for climbing :( so need to get back on the road more often.
  • I've missed yet another accreditation day on Monday though bl00dy injury. There is now a timetable at Newport for accreditation days pinned on the notice board. I point this out because it never used to be. IIRC next one is May sometime.
  • suzesuze Posts: 302
    [quote= I am finding now is I have loads of speed but lost strenght for climbing :( so need to get back on the road more often.

    Yep got to agree with you....no strength for climbing hills.....
    �3 grand bike...30 Bob legs....Slowing with style
  • AdamskiiAdamskii Posts: 267
    I'm rubbish on the hills also. I seem to be able to maintain good speed on the flat but as soon as I hit a hill I slow dramatically. I must be built for sprinting which is why I gave the track ago. I've also got my first 10 mile TT next month which should give me a good indication of my 'speed'...!
    It's all good.
  • Mark AlexanderMark Alexander Posts: 2,277
    That could be fly in the ointment for my plans are a two sportifs the Dragon Ride in 17 days and La Marmotte in 37 days [not that I'm nervous] I doubt that on or two track sessions will make much of a difference now though.

    it's interesting that you mention going off-line slightly as a way of changing the distance between the bike in front. I hadn't thought of that. I assume that is what you meant Suze.

    Steve, Am I right in saying that the accreditation to move to the next stage is employed at Newport too?

    Good luck on your TT Adamskii
    http://twitter.com/mgalex
    www.ogmorevalleywheelers.co.uk

    10TT 24:36 25TT: 57:59 50TT: 2:08:11, 100TT: 4:30:05 12hr 204.... unfinished business
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    it's interesting that you mention going off-line slightly as a way of changing the distance between the bike in front. I hadn't thought of that. I assume that is what you meant Suze.

    Steve, Am I right in saying that the accreditation to move to the next stage is employed at Newport too?
    Yes - if you are catching the rider in front, just ride slightly higher up the banking (having checked there is nobody overtaking you first!) so that you are not in their slipstream and this will soon scrub off the excess speed - you are also travelling further being slightly up the banking of course.

    Think Newport do ask riders to get track acreditiation before attempting racing.
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