One of the most daunting tasks that every track rider will face when attempting slow riding in the banks is confidently staying upright around the banks.
Most riders will maintain a fairly high cadence and speed when they first get on the track to avoid ‘slipping’ whilst keeping their nerves in check!
Even though riding efficiently and moderately fast around the track all the time assists with nerves and confidence, it’s not always the best strategy.
If you ride fast around the track all the time, it will affect your ability to conserve your energy. You'll end up...
a) riding too fast and tiring
b) getting too tense
c) affecting your ability to execute planned tactics (i.e. in the sprint or in slower bunch races where you might want to avoid being on the front).
So we're going to share with now, how to confidently become the master of ‘slow riding’ around the banks and offer you a few tips in doing so!
As a first point...
When you ride at slower speeds, your centre of gravity will move away from the centre, and closer to the wooden side of the track (to your right).
As you build speed, your centre of gravity will move away from the centre, and toward the inside of the track (to your left).
It’s important to get comfortable with your centre of gravity - it will get easier as you practice different bike handling skills.
Here’s 3 tips that you can practice to enable your ‘slow-mo’ track riding abilities:
It’s important to relax when you’re riding, as being stiff will affect your centre of balance and you will lose the ability to accurately feel where your centre of gravity is.
When your tense, you may find that you lock up in the upper body, and this can affect your ability to handle your bike and enable it to ‘track’ steadily in a straight line.
Practice steady and deep breathing, and keeping your eyes looking straight ahead whilst you’re riding.
If you’re inefficient with your pedalling and are more heavily dominant on one side of your body, this can affect your ability to ride in a straight line fluently.
So, when you’re riding, focus on efficient even pedal strokes, and MAINTAIN LIGHT CONSISTENT PRESSURE on the pedals at all times.
(Unless of course you want to try a death defying track stand still in the centre of the bank like the top sprinters do…)
To enable fluency at slower speeds, we’d recommend you drop your gears down to smaller gears (i.e. 81 inch gearing (48 x 16) or thereabouts) before progressing onto bigger gears to practice your slow riding.
Dropping your gears will enable you to ride slower but with moderate cadences and allow you to attain slow speed confidence whilst maintaining efficiently.
As you get more confident on small gears, then you can practice progressing the gears up to match your race gears whilst maintaining the same slower speeds in which you started out practicing on.
Once you’ve mastered the art of slow riding, go out and make it functional!
There’s no point practicing unless you’re slow riding for a purpose!
To make it functional for sprint events, you may want to practice riding slow whilst looking over your shoulder at an opponent.
Or for bunch race events, you may practice with a bunch of friends or teammates whilst maintaining very close proximity to them in the banks.
If you enjoyed this blog or have a question, leave us a comment below, we'd love to hear from you :)