Monday, March 16, 2009

The Velodrome Track

The only time I have seen racing on the Velodrome is watching it on TV during the Olympics. A few days ago, I went to see a race in person at one of two (the other in Boulder) indoor Velodrome tracks in North America.

What a rush.

Seems easy enough...but the first time I watched a racer (more on her later) go around on the track for a time trial, my hands started to sweat. When I drove home, I found myself weaving and driving fast on the freeway.

I wanna play! However, the person in charge of the track (see the woman in the blue on the track?) doesn't think I can make the corners. Humph! I'll show you! (Shaking Fist) :)

In case you wanted to know more:
Velodrome racing has been called “NASCAR on Two Wheels”. Track bikes have one gear and no brakes – the epitome of simplicity – that combined with the blazing speed, gravity-defying turns and spectacular crashes makes Velodrome racing one of the most awe-inspiring spectator sports around.

Velodromes are steeply-banked oval cycling arenas. The prefix “velo” is short for the French word “velocipede”, the bicycle’s original name. The purpose of the track’s design is to provide racers a smooth predictable surface on which to maintain the highest speed possible.

All velodromes have lines painted on the track’s surface:
The “cote d’azur” or band of blue, marks the tracks inside boundary. Racers may not ride on or below this wide band, except for emergencies or during the slow tactical maneuvering during match sprint competition.
The black “measurement line”, as the name implies, is used to measure the distance around the track.
The thin red line around the track is the “sprinters line” and it defines the sprint lane between the red line and the blue band. A leading rider in this lane is said to “own the lane” and may only be passed by a rider going over on the right.
The uppermost thin blue line is the “stayer’s line” or relief line. It marks the boundary between faster and slower traffic, with the faster riders below the line while the slower “relief” riders are above this line during Madison races.

Got it? Easy enough, right? More to come...


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