Larger Chain rings are harder to accelerate, especially from standing starts. You will not be able to accelerate as fast with a large chain ring as with a smaller.
Large chain ring = slower pick up while small chain ring = faster pick up.
Pursuiters and endurance riders tend to ride bigger gears / chain rings due to the fact that acceleration is not the key factor in their events, all they have to do is get on top of the gear and roll along. There was one master who rode the kilo this past weekend in a 56 x 15, he is a specialist pursuiter - I believe the 56 chain ring is a road chain ring – how much bigger can they get?
A 94” gear can be achieved in two combinations – (45x13 = 93.5”) or (49x14=94.5”). Obviously the 45 x 13 would be easier to accelerate as in a match sprint while the 49x14 would be harder to accelerate but easier to roll once it gets going as in a time trial. So that leaves the question – what is the right gear to use? It all depends on the time of year, weather conditions, level of fitness and your leg speed / optimal cadence range.
So once the gear selection is made, the next thing to focus on is your getaway speed. Standing start work is required and transitioning from standing to seated. This phase is highly unstable since you are moving at the fastest rate of speed for the Kilo event. Transitioning from standing to seated and then into the aero bars at over 30 mph takes practice; the bumpiness of the track doesn’t help. You also want to get on top of the gear and reach your maximum speed before you sit down.
Don’t worry too much about fading at the end, everyone fades after 700 to 750 meters in the kilo so it’s just about hanging on for the last 200 to 250meters and concentrating on technique during this phase which is known as the dead phase or stop the car and let me out phase. Endurance training will help with this. Also it is a good idea during the winter and during the season to do flying laps in the aero bars – build speed at the top of the track, accelerate down the bank and sit down on the start / finish line at 30 mph, maintain this speed for the lap, concentrating on sticking to the white line.
Of course sticking to the white line is easier said than done. In the banking you will tend to drift up track, you will want to control this drift to no more than halfway between the white and red line. The white line is the shortest path around the track, sponges are placed at the bottom of the track in the turns to prevent you from cheating, as in riding on the inside blue band. At Kissena it is hard to hold a tight line in aero bars because of the bumps, I end up riding closer to the red line to prevent going wide. I might even consider going back to regular track bars just to maintain control and to ride closer to the white line since that is the shortest path around the track. Even my flying 200 meter I ride the red line to carry speed and maintain control since the track is also very shallow - 19 degrees banking at the steepest part.
Warming up on the Turbo Trainer/Rollers is the norm for Track Cycling, however it is optimum you try and take the Road Bike to the event as well for warm-up/cool-down
One hour before first event – 20 laps or 30 minutes easy gear on road bike or 80-85 inch gear on track bike, end with 5 Second high cadence sprint. Take five minutes rest - drink fluids.
Track Effort – Flying 100 meter on track bike in same gear, if cannot get on track, do a 2 minutes on trainer/rollers then 10 second sprint interval, then 2 minutes easy on track bike in 80-85inch gear
Change gear to race gear and wheels, eat and drink something.
Track Effort – Rolling standing start from pursuit line to start line (first four pedal strokes), again if can’t get on track repeat the above 2 minutes, 10secs to get the lactic acid flowing, 2 minutes easy session in race gear / wheels on trainer / rollers.
Take 10 minutes rest, relax, and sit with feet up, headphones on, get in the zone.
10 mins very easy on trainer/rollers or road bike, remembering to drink, this should leave you with 5 minutes to go, all you need to do is put helmet on, waiting for officials to call you.
Waiting on deck can be stressful since you timed your warm up completion in time for your Kilo. Keep your fingers crossed that you don’t get sent to the back straight to start your Kilo. This entails hiking across the Kissena glades with bike, hopefully keeping your cleats from getting clogged with dirt, of course the hike causes your heart rate to rise and you haven’t even started your event. Try to relax and get your heart rate down while waiting for your start, if possible sit, usually some deep breathing exercises will help with this. All the while you are going through a mental checklist of things you need to do. I tend to get tunnel vision when it is my turn to start, so much so that I sometimes forget to start my Garmin before the effort. In any case instinct takes over from all the practice sessions.
Start - 200meter
On deck for the start - already I am having trouble clipping into my pedals and cinching the supplemental toe straps. Don’t want to snap out of my pedals, these are top of the line Shimano Dura Ace babies, unlike the cheap Nashbar LOOK compatible look a likes which caused me to lose a match sprint two years ago when my right foot came flying out – shudder - that could have ended bad. I always start with my left leg in the front, although my right leg is stronger. The reason for this - the force from the left leg causes the bike to drift in rather than outwards.
The official yells - Rider Ready – Flag Up – Gun Up – POW! (We definitely need to get a five second count down at Kissena, possibly an iPod hooked up to a loud speaker would do the trick) I’m off, head up staring straight ahead, making some combat breathing grunts and funny faces, elbows and arms straight as if doing a set of dead lifts as I apply downward force with one leg while pulling back and up with the other; the front wheel starts to wobble as the speed picks up. By turn two I am over 30 mph and I sit, although I could have stood a little longer to get on top of the gear. I gingerly get into the aero position as the first 200 meter segment approaches – count ONE! (Four segments to go)
200 - 400 meter
I am flying like a jet, the rear disk is singing as I navigate the turn on approach to the 400 meter marker. I flash by the 400 meter segment – someone yelled go Mike – count TWO! (Three segments to go)
400 - 600 meter
I am starting to slow as if told by air traffic control to slow for approach to landing. The 600 meter segment is approaching, but not as quickly as I would like. Who put lead in my rear wheel? – count THREE! (Two segments to go)
600 - 800 meter
I am finding it very difficult to ride a straight line. The front wheel has a mind of its own; the wind isn’t helping much in this department either. The 800 meter segment approaches as I start to see spots, trying to get oxygen into my body – count FOUR! (One segment to go)
800 - 1000 meter
By now it felt like I’ve touched down, and the drag chutes are deployed, where is that dam finish line? My legs feel like they are going around in slow motion – wait they are going around in slow motion as the 1000 meter red pursuit finish line approaches – count FIVE! (Its over) – oops I can’t forget to press the stop button on the Garmin- I hope I have some good data to analyze. As you noticed I mentally count the segments to give me an idea of when the torture will be over. Kissena is a 400 meter track, so if you start on one end you will end up finishing on the opposite end. I have seen a few people get confused and finished short of where they were supposed to finish – they did 2 laps instead of 2 ½ laps.
I ride around the track for a lap at the top of the bank to get systems back to normal levels, get off the track, place bike on trainer and spin easy to flush the legs, all the while pondering if I would be able to do the next omnium race or just call it a day -the Killermeter just killed my legs.