The moment I’ve been waiting for most of the week has come and gone. I got my chance to ride the black line on the track.
There was a turnout of about seven riders with one veterned rider alongside the coach this session. Some from the valley, some from Hollywood, a few kids came on higher end (in a retro, quill stem, Italian steel with matching Italian tubular wheels) bikes from San Gabriel. Our coach’s name was Henry (if I remember correctly) and he had the face of what most people unmistakably and unoriginally call, Mr. Miyagi.
The class consisted of learning the jargon when referring to parts of the track, safe track principles & etiquette, and a few race drills to finish things out.
There was a diverse group on tonight’s class. Some had commuting experience with a fixed gear, some had never ridden fixed gear bikes before. One girl wasn’t able to ride a bicycle three weeks ago (never learned how to stay upright.)
When it came time to run drills, we ended up doing the two most difficult race types for the slower muscle twitch fiber body type,
- The flying 200
- The standing-start kilo
Having ridden the track before, I know that you could do a flying 200 ten times and have each one be significantly different than the last. Knowing that in advance made swallowing my pride when I found out my time ended up being around 14.60.
With not much time in between, we proceeded to move to the standing start time trial. Since most riders were not too comfortable with performing a standing start (let alone drafting and absorbing the concept of riding in a velodrome on a track bike is a lot safer than riding on open roads,) I volunteered to start. From the gun getting up to speed felt fine. From then it was a matter of time (two and a half laps to be exact) before I blew up and did my best riding with burning legs and a stomach that was ready to vomit. I don’t remember my exact time when doing the kilo. I just knew I wanted to turn over and die when I was done and that said that I was doing things right.
Despite these commuter miles I’ve been putting in off the track, I need to work on the explosive power that is required from track riders. That being said, I shouldn’t expect to have achieved my best results possible from a beginners class. The short durations in between drills and pacelines along with the slower overall rolling pace made performing both a flying 200 and a kilo feel like my legs weren’t completely warmed up, or recovered.
There were a few interesting observation I couldn’t help but notice in between the dry lungs I had by the end of the night. Like a boyfriend coaching his girlfriend baseball dad style. I know some people respond well to that, I’m just not cut out to be the one to do it. People getting out of saddle multiple times during the kilo, kids bouncing up and down on their saddle because they hit terminal velocity and weren’t able to stay on the black line with the g-force added into the equation.
The rider just learning to ride a bicycle emigrated to the United States from Kuwait four years ago. She seemed excited when I told her I knew where Kuwait was on the top. I wish we would have talked more about her upbringing. Her body language and facial expressions showed that she had a lot to share.
The strange thing is I don’t know if I’ll ever see these people again. As strange as it may sound, I’m more likely to reacquaint with a rider on an open road on any day of the week than meeting someone at a specific location such as this on a particular night. Especially since there was a mixture of confidence levels on riding a track bike on the track.
That about does it for me. The night is over, my legs felt tired but not completely dead. Tomorrow is my race. I’m just as prepped as I can be for this thing. I haven’t had any nausea from riding in this dry heat, but just to be safe I threw in some chia seeds in my water bottles along with some electrolyte powder. The weather is going to play a big part in tomorrow’s race. If things go according to plan, I will have a mental advantage over most of the riders since I tend to prefer conditions on the warmer side. Until next time….