Track cycling is for most a fast, exciting, intense and tactical sport. Others may liken it to hamsters on a wheel, going fast, nowhere.
Track cycling is a passion of mine and enables me to build my repertoire of skills as a complete cyclist. You're often racing in a tight bunch, or peloton and also have the opportunity to race at least three times at each track meeting. This affords you a number of opportunities to learn in terms of bunch positioning, sprinting or working out which break to go with. You will also work on your leg speed, develop the ability to think while racing at high intensity and improve your bike handling skills.
A challenge with track cycling is that you have to choose your gear before a race and once you’ve you’re your decision, you can’t change it. You are racing on a single speed fixed gear bike with no brakes!
If you choose a gear too small, and the speed of the race is too high, you will ‘spin out’ at a cadence of 130-150 rpm. The converse is that if you choose a too big of a gear, it can be difficult to turn and you won’t be able to accelerate as quickly as needed to follow the surges in speed during a race. When we talk about a gear, this refers to your chain ring and cog size, a typical combination will be anywhere from a 44 to 60 tooth chain ring with a cog range of between 12 and 16 teeth.
Another challenge I face as a track cyclist is chafing. You’re often racing multiple events at each meeting at high cadences and there is no opportunity to free wheel as you’re riding a fixed gear bike. In combination with sweating and getting on and off the bike in between events, this is an environment where chafing is likely to occur.
ASS MAGIC has been a great solution to this problem for me. The protective barrier that the cream forms means that I have no issues in-between competitions or training and now chafe or saddle sores don’t restrict my ability to train or race.
Image credits: Owen Lloyd & Chrispin Fourie