Track cycling is going back to about 1870. There was no indoor velodrome back then but the track was similar to what we have to today, The length of it was changing ending at 250 m for Olympic velodrome with the wood surface. You can still race concrete tracks all over the world at length up to 500 m.
Track cycling becomes Olympic discipline back in 1912.
Velodrome racing attracted a lot of people, especially in England and later in the USA where it becomes very popular sports in the 40s 50s 60s. The great thing about track cycling was that it very entertaining and people could watch the race from start to finish seating in one place.
2. Track Rules
What is beautiful about track bikes?
Simplicity, you take everything off it and just keep chain, no brakes no gears. Bikes are fixed gear so you have more control over your bike with your legs.
UCI made a rule about tubes you can use to build track bikes with, it is simply 3 to 1 ratio of length to width.
Different velodromes can have little different lines on it. But there are a few lines you will always see there.
The inner line which you can ride on, this is a peace zone where you go if you are out of the race.
Next 2 thin lines create sprint-line this is the shortest and the fastest way to go around the track.
In a middle way between sprint line and band, you can see paceline, you stay above it when you keep a more steady pace for example during madison events.
Remember that you pass others on the outside.
Never change your line before checking what is going on behind you. Someone can be sprinting at 40 miles per hour!
3. Track Racing
Those are a very short event for example 200 m, 500 m. You can do it solo, flying 200 and the best time win or you can compete in pairs, the first person on the line wins.
3.2 Team Sprint
Like individual sprints but with the team.
3.3 Time Trial
Standing start events, race-specific distance as fast as possible.
Racing behind motors!
2 cyclists start on the opposite parts of the track and fight with the time.
3.6 Team Pursuit
Same as individual events but with the team.
3.7 Scratch Race
It can be compared to criterium racing, the first person on the finish line wins the race. Events are 20 – 100 laps.
3.8 Point Race
Like scratch racing but you get points for every 5, 10 laps, a person with the highest number of points on the finish line wins the race.
You race in pairs! Extremely “explosive” race with effective and dangerous changes between team members.
3.10 Elimination Race
The last person on the finish line is out of the race every 1 or 2 laps. With 2 cyclists left it to switch to scratch race rules.
It’s an overall classification for a few races. Cyclists with the highest number of the points wins.
4. What are the Benefits of Velodrome Racing?
Did you ever race on track?
Track or velodrome racing can be very beneficial for other types of cycling like road cycling, cyclocross or mountain biking.
Beside Time Trials, cycling is never steady like long-distance running where you need to keep the same high pace for whole duration or race. In cycling, we can see constantly changing speed, smaller and bigger accelerations which many times knock you off the race.
Track cycling is mostly about extremely hard accelerations and being able to repeat them as many times as possible. We are talking about hitting your sub-maximal, maximal watts multiply times.
We always see track cyclists with big hips and looking more like bodybuilders then cyclists. And that is true that track cyclists spend more time at the gym then riding their bikes.
But it doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from track cycling! Actually, this explosive power can help you in many situations on-road or off-road.
Think when you are riding in the group and someone created gap in front of him, and now you need to close this gap, you can spend a few minutes to try to close it very steadily with group of riders on your wheel or you can accelerate for 6-8s lose the “tail” and catch up with the group in the front.
You need those accelerations in cyclocross when someone blocks you and you need to slow down, coming out of the slower turns or during longer straits where you can pass riders.
Take advantage of track cycling and if you have a chance and even put it into your weekly training plan, and remember one most important rule of track cycling “you go as hard as possible or as easy as possible”.
5. Track World Records
|Flying 200 m||9.100|
|Flying 500 m||24.758|
|1 km time trial||56.303|
|1 km team sprint||41.871|
|4000 m pursuit||4:02.647|
|4000 m team pursuit||3:48.012|
|hour record||55.089 km|
|Flying 200 m||10.145|
|Flying 500 m||28.970|
|1 km time trial||1:06.144|
|3000 m pursuit||3:20.060|
|3000 m team pursuit||3:14.051|
|hour record||48.007 km|