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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Midyear Review of 2011 Goals

Wow, it's been a long time since my last post. I figure it might be a good time to review the 2011 goals since it is almost the end of June. Let's see... not so good.
  • Join RUSA - didn't happen.
  • Get a route registered with RUSA - didn't happen.
  • Ride Yellow - didn't make it. My son felt sick so we didn't go. I wish I had gone because other people I know who did ride had a great ride.
  • Pensacola Classic - still a possibility if they put the race on.
  • Racing license - I did get a racing license but I've only ridden 3 events. I had other events on the calender but due to finances and work I have only made 3 events this year. The only other event I might be able to do is Pensacola Classic.
  • 5k miles - doesn't look to likely at this point. I currently have 1,699. At this time last year I had 1,507. I guess I could say I'm doing better but I need to be at 2,500 if I were to make the 5,000 for the year.

So what's been going on, why am I so behind?
  1. I've been out of town a lot and haven't been able to ride.
  2. A change in interest. I was very interested in RUSA; in fact, I still am. But now I'm also interested in the track. My son and I have been going to the Dick Lane Velodrome (DLV) in Atlanta. More on this later in the post.

Yes, you will find me riding the group rides on Wednesdays and Saturdays when I can. Other days I'm pretty much doing my own thing. To be honest, I'm just not putting in the miles I thought I would.

Now for the track. It all started when we got a good deal on a Dean track frame. My son really wanted it, so we bought it. It didn't get very much use there for a while. This is a true track bike and isn't been to be riden around town as a fixie. Later my son bought a set of track tubulars from a friend.

Fast forward about a year. Turns out that Lees McRae College (LMC) in Banner Elk, NC wants my son to be a part of their cycling team. LMC has a great cycling team with many national titles in several disciplines. One of the disciplines LMC pursues is the track and the coach is an experienced track rider. So, we have been encouraged to ride on the track at DLV. The team makes a couple of trips a year to DLV for training. BTW, my son is due to attend LMC in the fall. It is a small school in a small town; the cycling team currently has over 50 riders.

We have made several trips to DLV. We both participated in a weekend beginner's class which they offer on occasion. You have to take a class before you are allowed to ride on the track. After completing the class we both went up to Atlanta for the beginner's races which are held on Tuesday nights twice a month. It didn't take long and my son was invited to ride in the categorized races on Wednesday nights. My son also participated in the first of the Pro Race series which was in May; the next Pro Race will be in July and another in September.

Currently my son is a 'C' rider but hopes to move up to a 'B' by the end of the summer. It will take a lot of work. In an effort to reach that goal my son has a personalized training program which he has been following quite well. Part of this program is the Saturday group rides which are suppose to be 3 hours and then an easy 2 hours on Sundays.

A couple of his workouts each week are on the rollers all done in an easy gear. The workout consist of a warmup for about 5 minutes then spinning at 100 for 5 minutes, followed by a sprint. After the sprint he is to spin at 110 for 4 minutes, then 1 minute easy, then sprint again; it is a 5 minute cycle. After each sprint the cadence is suppose to go up another 5 or 10 rpm depending. The total workout is 35 minutes. The purpose is to develop the spin.

I also have been doing the rollers and spinning. It is really the first time I have ever ridden rollers for any length of time. After the first workout I felt fairly comfortable on the rollers. I'm actually enjoying the workout and I've made my workout to be 40 minutes instead of my son's 35. I like it whole lot more than riding the turbo trainer. Now you might notice on the group rides we are spinning quite fast. In fact, I rarely get out of the small chain ring anymore.

So, the track has been taking a lot of our time. DLV has an excellent program in my opinion with a lot of great riders that are also friendly. It is definitely a community that gets to know each other.

At first I was skeptical about the track. I had never ridden a fixed gear before. After my first day on the track I didn't like it. I went back for the 2nd day of the beginners class and we had races. I started to enjoy it then. I've heard some people say that track racing is little races. Yes, they are short, but they are very hard. It is amazing how much tactics come into play. There are several types of races and each type race has it's own set of tactics.

I can't say I'm very good at the track. I am still considered a beginner or a 'D' rider. I do not do very good with the short races, but I do better at the longer races. The race I've done best at is the unknown distance which is a race where the racers have no idea how many laps it is. I like this race because it starts off slower and builds up so by the time the bell rings I'm warmed up. BTW, my son hates the unknown distance.

One of the things about the track is it requires another bike. All of my track riding so far has been on 'school' bikes. DLV rents bikes for $5 per night/day if a rider doesn't have one. The problem is I have had a hard time getting fitted properly so I believe my performance suffered. Sounds like a good excuse to me. I just finished building up a track bike for myself so now I won't be able to use that excuse much longer. Here is a photo of my track bike; it is a Bianchi Super Pista.

Speaking of posting pictures I hope to post pictures of the velodrome soon with a little bit of information about the track.

Track riding is very different from road racing and, just like road racing, isn't for everyone. It's another discipline of cycling and I believe participating in track will make my son and I both better cyclist. It is a long haul to drive to Atlanta twice a month, but I really want to help my son reach his goals. After he goes away to school I can't say how often I will continue to go. I do enjoy it; I just wish it were closer. I know, instead of a ball park downtown let's build a velodrome instead.