Track racing; what is it and how to start

Track racing, also known as velodrome racing, is a form of bicycle racing that takes place on a banked oval track, known as a velodrome. The track consists of steeply banked turns, allowing cyclists to maintain high speeds while riding in a tight pack. Track racing is one of the oldest forms of competitive cycling, with races dating back to the late 1800s. It is a fast-paced and exciting sport that requires both speed and strategy, making it a favourite among cycling enthusiasts.

Getting started with track racing

To start racing on a velodrome, the first step is to find a local track. Many cities have velodromes that offer training sessions and beginner races. A list of the velodromes in the UK can be found here. It is important to have a basic understanding of track cycling and bike handling skills before attempting to race. Some velodromes require riders to attend a certification course to ensure that they are safe and competent on the track.

The next step is to get the right equipment. Track bikes are different from standard road bikes, as they have a fixed gear and no brakes. This means that the rider must pedal constantly and use their leg muscles to slow down and stop the bike. Track bikes are also designed for speed, with lightweight frames and aerodynamic features. It is recommended to start with a basic track bike and upgrade as you become more experienced.

Once you have the right equipment, it is important to practice and develop your skills. Track racing requires a high level of fitness, as well as excellent bike handling and tactical awareness. Many velodromes offer training sessions and coaching programs to help riders improve their skills and prepare for races.

What types of track races are there?

There are several types of track races, each with its own rules and strategies. The most common type of race is the mass start event, where riders start together and race for a set number of laps. These races can be either scratch races, where the first rider to cross the finish line wins, or points races, where riders earn points for intermediate sprints and the final finish.

Another type of race is the pursuit, where two riders start on opposite sides of the track and race against the clock. The goal is to catch the other rider before the finish line or to complete the set number of laps faster than the opponent.

Sprint races are also popular in track cycling, where two or more riders compete head-to-head in a series of short, explosive sprints. These races require a combination of speed, power, and tactical awareness.

Track racing is a highly competitive sport, with athletes from all over the world competing in international events such as the Olympics and World Championships. However, it is also a great way to stay fit and enjoy the thrill of cycling. With the right equipment, training, and dedication, anyone can start racing on a velodrome and experience the excitement of this fast-paced sport.

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