Biomechanics, physics and maths are all the numeric elements of track cycling suit my interests completely. Gears are fixed and wheels are the same diameter, give or take a few millimetres in tyre selection. Wind doesn’t come in to play inside our lovely Anna Meares Velodrome. It does at Herne Hill in London I know. Does the wind blow at your track?
I was riding with friends on our track recently. I was coaching the ability to spot an attack coming and what position a person can be on the track to have a run down the hill and gain some free speed. For predominantly road cyclists this is a time they naturally reach for the lever to click up through the gears. The acceleration isn’t felt as keenly as when the cadence picks up, especially playing on the track on smaller gears.
This was in a bunch racing situation as opposed to Match Sprinting but the principle of the hill remains. Our track is 250m. It is 7m wide. It is also quite a bowl of a track. The straights are 41m...
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Ali offers online nutrition consultations to Cycling athletes from around the globe! To find out more, visit:
Which is more important of these two attributes in a kilo or a 500m Time Trial? For those new to our sport these are individual timed events. They are great fun and don’t hurt at all. Actually that isn’t true. If you are good enough to go quickly they are utterly brutal.
Back to my question. Which is more important in a kilo or 500m out of maximal power or sustained power? Let’s use other terms. For maximal power we can say maximum wattage, and average that over 3 seconds for example. Instant measurements need laboratory standard machinery and would give somewhat unusable results, hence using an average of 3 seconds or so. We had a Piezoelectric footplate at my University which could assess force over tiny fractions of a second, and power (described in watts – named after James Watt) is a unit of work divided by time. So instant power is academically fascinating but not really something we can often apply to track cycling coaching. There are exceptions, as...
In the previous blog we covered off on the benefits of taking your road bike to the track on race day...
One of the benefits we highlighted was the recovery benefits that having your road bike can give you, for example:
When coming off the track after a race, your road bike is easily accessible and the gearing is usually lighter, allowing you to pedal at higher cadences - clearing lactate faster.
In this blog, we want to highlight what cadences should be achieved on recovery road rides, and why it’s so important to pedal at high cadences to achieve better recovery.
First, let’s talk about what recovery is, and for the sake of this blog, we’re talking about active recovery - that is, a session with low intensity and volume to allow your muscles to repair, getting blood moving and reducing residual fatigue within the muscles.
An example of a basic session that a cyclist would complete for an active recovery day is an hour (flat road) ride, or...
Most of us have a road bike in addition to our track bikes and will head out on the road for different types of training rides to assist with our track cycling development.
The road bike is also extremely handy when you’re incorporating a recovery ride into your training program. Road bikes allow us to pedal faster whilst travelling slower aiding in recovery by taking a heavy gearing load away from the legs.
They also allow us to complete a progressive warm up before lining up to race a track or road style event without needing to change gears on your track bike several times - saving valuable time on race day.
The benefits of having a road bike in addition to the track bike are aplenty, but what surprises us when we arrive to coach at a track event is the number of athletes who only bring their track bikes on race day. Sure, bringing your road bike may be a logistical nightmare, but if it’s possible - we’d highly recommend you travel with it on the way...
With the evolution of science and technology and as the ever-increasing number of training tools creep their way into our cycling training lives, many forget about some of the basics such as incorporating heart rate as a measure of fitness and fatigue.
In this blog, we want to offer a simple reminder about the importance and benefits in monitoring your heart rate throughout your training and competition phases.
Let’s start by talking about ‘Target Heart Rates’…
Your target heart rate is a range of numbers that reflect how fast your heart should be beating when you train. In cycling, we often segment heart rate levels into zones and focus on training within these zones to improve and monitor various areas of your physiology.
“A higher heart rate is a good thing that leads to greater fitness,” says Johns Hopkins cardiologist Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H.
Whilst training, you can wear a simple heart rate monitor to record and analyse...
Most of us get nervous, excited, sometimes anxious before racing, after all, you only want to do your very best, and aim to beat previous best results.
It goes without saying that preparation is key, and that preparation will comprise of a whole lot of training blocks which include technical and tactical refinement.
In this blog, we want to introduce one more ride into your training plan, and it happens within the tapering period, sometime during the week or two in the lead up to your main event.
We like to call this ride…
The clarity ride is essentially a relaxing, flat road, non-effort producing ride which usually will include a stop at the half way point, or somewhere near the end of the ride to have a drink (aka: coffee or tea).
The ride should be completed in small gears, with higher cadence (85-90rpm), and should be no longer than an hour in duration.
What is the point of the ride you ask?
If you’ve ever found yourself in a keirin, points race, scratch race, madison, elimination or any other bunch race event that involves more than 2 competitors, you may know what it feels like to be boxed in and unable to unleash your big final sprint that propels you to a top position.
Not sure what we’re talking about, have a look at the diagram below….
You will note in the diagram, the red bubble represents a rider that is 'boxed in'.
A boxed in rider usually will find two or more riders over his/her right shoulder are in close proximity, leaving no room to 'flow' forward when the bunch sprint kicks, or to make a move on his/her own. The only option if you find yourself in this position is to move to the back of the bunch. So essentially, the above diagram represents the place where you never want to find yourself, particularly at the pointy end of the race.
What you really need to achieve if you find yourself behind the lead rider (say in...
In last week's blog we were talking about sprinters needing to have a greater capacity than just raw power to be competitive in track sprinting. We know that a rider with a lot of raw power is always going to have an advantage in a sprint over one who does not, as simply they can make their bike reach a higher peak speed. But assuming two riders have the same power and same track craft then the difference may well be how they back-up their effort after the Flying 200m in to the rounds of Match Sprinting, or from one Match Sprint to the next.
The other factor is whether they want to have the capacity to ride from ‘the gun’ in a Match Sprint. There will always be the ‘long-sprinters’ and the ‘finishers’. On the road it is easy to see, in this era of lead-out trains, who the pro teams see as their long-sprinters as they will lead out the finisher. Not all sprinters will be genetically designed, physically trained or mentally happy to ride a 1km...
Article: Michael Jordan – Physiological Performance Analyst
When Emily and I were first talking about sprinting in track cycling and what makes a person a pure sprinter we almost ended up concluding that here was no such thing. Yup, really, we did. It would have been convenient for the conversation if Kerrie and Shane had walked in to the Anna Meares Velodrome at that moment to add an extra layer to the contrary thoughts we were having.
Think about boxing as a sport (which I can’t imagine I’ve referenced too often, especially as Emily describes a Keirin at times, more like chess than other activities). Rapid explosive power is necessary to succeed but boxers also need the endurance to last the rounds. Conversely, Usain Bolt starts from a stationary position and finished his event a few seconds later. Both types are power athletes, with each sport having massive anaerobic contributions, but wildly different in their distribution of energy over time. Which are track...