Before we begin anything else, let us first introduce you to the discipline of track cycling. Track cycling if you may have already stumbled upon this blog is quickly associated by a lot of bloggers with the most revealing of all cycling garments, the skinsuit as well as popularized in the media with the spectacular crashes resulting in ripped lycra and skin. It’s a dangerous sport and is very different from road cycling.
Track cycling is a cycling discipline where the cyclists use specialized lightweight bikes, the track bikes, and the different events are held on a specially made banked tracks or popularly known as velodromes. Track cycling events are a major sport in the Olympic games and is popular in Europe. Notably, the cyclists themselves have very different builds and biking techniques compared to road cyclists. The position and form when riding are markedly different at times, and the emphasis is on power and speed for track cyclists rather than for endurance in road cyclists, although there are endurance events in track cycling too. So chances are, successful track cyclists will rarely become exceptional road cyclists except for some cases of course (Mark Cavendish, Tyler Farrar, etc.)
And of course, another notable difference is the compulsory use of skinsuits. In road racing, skinsuits are used during time trials, criteriums, and rarely during long distance road racing. Whereas in track cycling, skinsuits are a must. Take note also of the helmets used, which is similar to the ones used during road time trials. Definitely then, the emphasis in track cycling is SPEED and looking good while being at it. Track cyclists tend to have a different muscle build compared to road cyclists. They are more muscular, and have bigger calves, and quads. Apparently, most of the track cyclists I’ve seen and had the pleasure to work with also happen to have a well developed trunk and upper extremity muscles. Most of them weigh more than 70kg. Height doesn’t necessarily give an advantage and a lot of cyclists are vertically challenged yet continue to garner gold medals.
Currently, track cycling teams are usually based on countries and competitions are in the international scale. Prominent countries in track cycling include, Great Britain (GB-UK), France, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, and Germany, among others.
Another discussion on track cycling will be posted later this week.