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Friday, October 16, 2009

South African Track Cycing Training Tips

Track tip of week #1: Warm-up

Fit your bike with an easy gear ratio such as 47x16. My favourite is 47x15. This warm-up can take anything from 10-15 minutes depending on how you feel on the day. Take 15 minutes if it is very cold or if your body needs more time to warm-up.

A heart rate monitor will be handy if you are not used to the pace of this warm-up routine. The best way to do this warm-up is with a mate or a couple of mates. Start rolling slowly on the inside of the track for 1 lap. Give the lead over to the next rider after lap 1 or 250m. Now the pace goes up a little. This process repeats until the pace is fast enough (25k-30km/h) after about 3-4 laps (750m-1000m) to be able to ride on a 42-degree embankment without sliding off.

Continue alternating the lead and taking up the pace gradually every lap. The aim is to reach maximum heartrate close to the end of the workout. The last lap is with maximum effort.

Keep your legs warm with leg warmers or a tracksuit after the workout.

Now your legs will be warmed up for events to follow.



Track tip of the week #2: Warming-up for standing start training

2) Roll to the red pursuit line in the middle of the home straight and come to a virtual standstill on the line.

3) Push hard on the pedals and pull on the handle bars as you accelarate from a standing start.

4) Put in maximum effort until you reach the 60-meter mark.

5) Sit-up and let your heart rate drop before the next effort.

6) Repeat four times in this gear and then fit your gear ratio that you are going to use for training e.g. 50x15. Ride two 60-meter efforts in this gear.

7) You should now be ready to practice full standing starts efforts

More to follow soon on how to warm-up for sprint training.



Track tip of the week #3: Warm-up for sprint training

4. Circle around the track and make a rolling run as for a match sprint into the main straight. This means circling the track at least once and then heading to the top of the track in order to make a decent run into the main straight. The warm-up is not at race pace and you only need enough speed to build up momentum for the warm-up sprint.

5. For the purpose of the warm-up the sprint starts at the pursuit line in the main straight and ends 125m later at the pursuit line on the opposite side of a 250m track.

6. Allow your heart rate to drop back to resting between the warm-up sprints.

7. Keep your legs warm by slowly circling around the track whilst recovering. Wear legwarmers if it is cold.

8. Two - four repeats at 80% will put you in line to start your sprint set.



Track tip of the week #4: Prepare your bike for race day

I've seen how chains break and tubbies explode in national selection races and in other important rides. These incidents can be avoided by a little maintenance instead of throwing hours of training time away.

A few checks to do as the big race approaches:

Check tubulars or tyres for wear and tear

* Are there cuts or has the tread been worn out? The tyre/tubular needs replacement.
* Glue new tubbies in advance. Glueing a tubular the evening before a big race should be avoided.
* Check that your tubbies/tyres are fitted properly. I prefer having enough time to go on a couple of practice rides with a new tubby/tyre.

Wash whole bike

* Check frame, fork, seat post and handle bars. Notice cracks or signs of fatigue? Investigate further and replace if needed.
* Check wheels. Are they true? Is the spoke tension fine? Are the wheels rolling smoothly on the bearings.
* Check headset. Is the tension perfect - does it need adjustment?
* Check pedals. Are the tension correct in your clipless pedals? Do you ride with straps and do the straps need replacement?
* Clean & lubricate chain ring, sprockets and chain. Inspect for wear and tear. Replace where needed.
* Check all nuts and bolts. I've seen handle bars slip loose in the finals of a national championship. Do not over torque, but make sure they are tightened sufficiently.

Test ride bike

* Are there creaks and noises? Identify and have it fixed or take the bike for a pre-race service.
* Are planning on riding with a new set of wheels, seat, bars or other equipment? This needs to be tested in advance if you are planning on racing with it e.g a front disk wheel on an open air track in the wind can greatly affect handling and might cost you time if you are not used to riding it.

Check equipment

* Check shoes and cleats. Replace wornout cleats and tighten loose cleats.
* Check that you have clean cycling kit for race day.
* Check that your helmet fits perfectly. Your sprint/pursuit helmet should be tested and adjusted for fit in advance.
* Pack toolbox. Do you have all the tools that you need on the day? e.g. chain whip to remove sprockets, allen keys, lock nut tool, cleaning rags, hand cleaner, chain tool, 14/15 spanner, foot pump with pressure gage.


Track tip of the week #5: Improve your strength with cog sprints

Roll onto the track in the sprinters lane. Move up to the outside of the sprinters lane when coming out of the final bend. Keep rolling and increase the speed slighty while still in the saddle. Get out of the saddle and kick hard when approaching the pursuit line. Pedal hard and keep on going in a line that goes to the to the top of the embankment. One should reach the top of the embankment at the middle portion of the bend. Start coasting when at the top of the embankment and ride down and back into the sprinters lane. Keep rolling through the back straight and the next bend before preparing for the next sprint. Repeat 15 times.

An alternative and tougher workout is to repeat the cog sprint at both bends. Repeat 15 times.


Track tip of the week #6: Improve your speed and recovery

Warm-up: Ride for 15 minutes behind the scooter. Start at 30km/h and work your way up to 40km/h.

Workout ride: Fit a proper gear for the workout. Pace behind the scooter on the stayers line. Ride at 40km/h for 1km (4 laps on a 250m track) and then take the speed up to 60km/h for 1km. 10 repetitions completes the workout.

Cool down: Fit an easy gear and circle on the inside of the track for 10 minutes.


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