Find a Club

MCF member clubs welcome new members of all levels. Here are just a few.
Minnesota Cycling Team
Contact:  Kevin Lennon
Great Plains Cycling Club
Contact:  Jeremy Christianson
Website:  Great Plains Cycling Club
Speedfix Racing
Contact:  Andy Kruse

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Why Race On The Track?

Why Race On The Track?

If you like racing on the road, you’ll like racing on the track.  That’s the main thing.  But here are some other considerations, too:

  • No Equipment Needed:  Most tracks have loaner bikes, either on-site or with a local shop.  If you want to try out the track, you can use a loaner bike.  Sometimes it’s free, sometimes it’s $5 or so.  Show up with your pedals, shoes and clothes and you’re ready to ride.  
    • I’ll discuss this more below, but a simple steel track bike (which the loaners invariably are) is perfectly good for training and racing.  You don’t need to be riding $3,000 worth of carbon when riding on the track; an expensive bike just doesn’t make as much difference on the track as it does on the road.
    • As an aside, if you travel for business and want to get a training ride in, see if there’s a velodrome with loaner bikes in the area you’re traveling to.  Packing shoes and pedals is a whole lot easier than lugging your bike along.  I’ve done this all over the country.
  • Shorter Training Rides:  Training for track racing can be less time-consuming because the races are shorter.  Most races are 10km or less, and the longest races at your local velodrome are probably 25km.  If you never train for more than 60 or 90 minutes at a time, that’s OK as long as the training is intense.  So it can work well with a tight work schedule.
  • You Might Be Better At It:  If your body wasn’t designed to go fast uphill, well, I’ve got good news for you.  Velodrome designers have cleverly omitted hills altogether.  You might just be better at track racing.  (Though I’ll note that the opposite isn’t true – many good track racers are small, and great climbers.)  Similarly, if you don’t have great aerobic talent, it’s likely that you will do better on the track than on the road, particularly in the short events.
  • Location:  If there’s a velodrome in your area, you can do a whole lot of racing without ever having to drive to Muscatine or fly to Tulsa.  It’s all there in one place.
  • Timing:  Races tend to be on weeknights in the summer (at least in the USA), so if you have a family, track racing frankly fits in better because there’s little or no racing on weekends.  And if you race on the road on the weekends, you can do both.
  • Spectating: Your friends and family aren’t very likely to come see you race on the road, particularly if the race is in Muscatine or Tulsa.  But they can come out to the velodrome, nd even kids can appreciate what’s going on – because they can see all the racing, all the time.

 Read More:  But Isn't It Dangerous?

But Isn't It Dangerous?

Some roadies appear to think that track racing must be just like a criterium with no brakes.  That would be a crash-fest, but track racing is nothing like that.  

I think it’s fair to say that track racing is about as dangerous as road racing, minus the risk of hitting a lamp-post or a parked car.  (Velodrome designers have cleverly omitted those, too.)  In other words, crashes happen, perhaps more frequently than on the road, but some of the worst-case scenarios have been eliminated on the track.  You can’t go flying over a guardrail, and race organizers will never have to spend 30 minutes looking for you in a ravine.

By way of illustration, in the Beijing Olympics, by my count, there was one crash in all of the mass start track races combined.  About 1,000 laps of the track in total;  one crash.  

Another take: as a road racer I would expect to crash two or three times in a full season of 50 races or so.  On the track, I would expect about the same.

Read More:  If you only remember a few things...

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