What to do after RAAM? … Track Racing.

Track MadisonAfter RAAM was completed and I had begun to re-integrate into society, I was looking for new ways to get a workout in and have some fun on the bike without spending 8 to 12 to 20+ hours in the saddle. One of my realizations following RAAM, is that I need to bump my average speed up. So speed work is in order. What better way to do that than do some racing that is all about speed.

I borrowed a track bike and headed out to the Ed Rudolph Northbrook Velodrome for the Monday Night Track Clinic. Chris Mailing from Turin runs the Monday night clinic and introduced me to the group with “What type of bicycle racing is as opposite from track racing as possible?”.

I was expecting the clinic to be a beginner oriented class, instead it is really run as a training session with brief timeouts to demonstrate particular skills(Madison exchanges, standing starts etc). While i had expected to go to a clinic than move on to racing, I instead ended up making it a weekly ritual of going to the clinics both on Monday and Tuesday nights.

Like many new riders, I had a bit of nervousness about riding in such close formation with other riders with no brakes and no coasting. While there is plenty of opportunity for collision on the track I was suprised to find I often felt safer in the group on the track than on many group rides on the roads. This may be because there is less of a possibility for dramatic speed changes on a fixed gear without brakes or perhaps less skittish riders gravitate toward the track.

As my comfort level grew I began to attempt races. The highlight was a couple of 3rd place finishes. Both coming in races that involved riding as a team. A race where a teammate and I set up a another for the win and the other in a Madison.

I’m looking forward to doing it some more next year.

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