Upon returning from my experience on the track, I have been asked repeatedly, what was I doing there?
I even heard the rumor that I was possibly doing roller derby. Not really roller derby, but after watching the Madison I can see some similiarilites.
The track is usually 250m around, although sometimes it is 333m. The events are separated into two distinct categories. Sprint and Endurance.
A sprint event is usually 3-6 laps in duration and involves raw power and race tactics to win. I was very impressed with the sprinters that I saw. With their stocky frames and mustaches, they were a raucous group of men that seemed to be happy to be loitering at the track. As soon as I would get a little jealous of their rested demeanor, I would witness one of their brutal 500m effort. Le ouch.
An endurance event on the track is longer then the sprint events. Endurance events comprise of individual pursuit, team pursuit, scratch race, points race, Madison, and omnium. The IP is basically an individual time trial, and it has been removed from the Olympics for 2012, hence the focus on the teampursuit. The scratch race, points race, and Madison are all mass start events. For now, I think Iwill focus on the team pursuit.
The team pursuit for the women comprises of 3 women/team, and the distance is 3k. For the men, they start with 4 riders, one of the riders being expendable, and their distance is 4k. There are few things as beautiful as a flawless team pursuit in action. Although it may not resemble roller derby, it is pretty incredible to watch. The efficiency and tenacity of the team is incredible
Check out this video of the Great Britain women setting a world record against Germany in Manchester, England.
If you don’t want to watch all 10 minutes of the video, fast forward to about 3:30 in to watch the world record being set!
I have so much respect for our US women who can kill it out the track so gracefully and powerfully. What an awesome discipline of our sport.