10 days on the track.

Truth be told that what happens at track camp should stay  at track camp.

I recently returned from a 10 day USA Cycling Women’s Team Pursuit Track Camp in Carson, California at the VELO Sports Center.  Yes, 10 days.  I hear that 10 days of repetitive riding on the track is illegal in most countries, however considering that the USA achieved a silver medal(s) in the 2012 Olympics in the women’s team pursuit, we are allowed to have a 10 day track camp.  That’s what makes you the best in the world, or at least pretty darn close.

It was an incredible honor to be able to learn the basics of the women’s team pursuit, and of course get humbled by the complex nuances that a wooden 250m track entails.  Lauren Tamayo, a teammate of mine, and one of the silver medalists, joined USA Cycling’s coaches, Ben Sharp and Neal Henderson, in our track endeavors.  It was 10 days full of hard work, left turns, and aero bars.

21 women participated in the camp from national developmental level to international elite status, and it only exemplified that women’s cycling is growing and thriving in the US.  One thing I love about the track is the true scientific nature of the event.  Everything can be broken down into speed, cadence, watts, and aerodynamics.  It is an equal playing surface and conditions.  If you like analysis, Dartfish, and spreadsheets, this is the event for you.

The women’s team pursuit will be in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.


4k long

4 riders

Finishing time will be taken from the 3rd rider.

We have 3.5 years to go, and USAC has a mission to bring home more medals from this event.

My Top 13 “Rules of the Track”

  1. Keep pedaling.  No really, keep pedaling.  Your bike will continue pedaling with or without you on board.
  2. Keep pedaling fast.  There is a speed minimum required on tracks of certain steepness, and in fear of slipping off the 45 degree embankments of the ADT Center, the solution is just to simply keep pedaling fast, and learning how to spin that gear.
  3. Don’t spit or blow snot on the track.  What are you supposed to do with it? Apparently that’s what sleeves are for? Who knows.
  4. Be predictable.  The beauty of the track is everyone is on a fixed gear, and no one has brakes.  Be predictable with your lines, and everything will run smoothly.
  5. Breathe.  That helps.
  6. Learn how to change chain rings, cogs, and such using wrenches, chain whips and other complicated looking tools.  Or buy the mechanic beer.
  7. Stick the black line.  The closer you are to the black line, the less distance you have to travel around the track.
  8. Turn left.  You only take left turns on the track.  Just saying.
  9. Pedal through the turns.  Enjoy the roller coaster as your speed increases through the corners, but pedal through them to keep the speed up, enjoy the ride, and keep your power more consistent.
  10. Cadence, cadence, cadence.  I don’t want to talk about it.
  11. Pounce. Be a cat. Pounce on your bike.
  12. Try to smile through the pain.  The track is painful, humbling, and hard.  But it is a new challenge I highly recommend!
  13. Don’t take track advice from me.  I take advice from other people!
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