Tag Archives: skinsuit

Video of the Day: August 26, 2010

26 Aug

So we now present to you a new category for this blog: The Video of the Day. Much like Photo of the Day, we will showcase videos about track cycling, track cyclists and anything related to cycling. Videos, you see give us a better glimpse of the sport compared to photos. Not only that, you also get to see lycra clad athletes in motion, putting emphasis on the movement of the body and the muscles clearly evident because of the tight-fitting apparel.

This video is from way back in the 2000 Olympics where Jason Queally of Great Britain breaks a record in the 1km time trial. Take note of the amazing speed Queally achieves from start to finish.


Injuries in Cycling

26 Aug

Cycling is often considered a leisurely activity with minimal potential for severe or chronic injury. Acute head and spinal trauma can be devastating and can predominantly contribute to all-cause mortality in injuries attributed to cycling. Chronic overuse injuries primarily affecting the ulnar, median, and pudendal nerves are also a cause of significant morbidity for the cyclist.

Bicycling is one of the most popular means of transportation, recreation, fitness, and sport among millions of people of all ages. The bicycle has undergone extensive refinements since its initial beginnings as the velocipede in 1817 by Karl von Drais, remaining a readily available form of aerobic nonimpact exercise with established beneficial cardiovascular effects. Bicycling also continues to be a popular means of city transport, especially within Asian and European countries. Commercial interests, such as the postal service and law enforcement, continue to use cycling for transportation. Additionally, in the past, bicycles were an effective vehicle for mobilizing soldiers and supplies to combat zones during World Wars I and II.

Cycling was part of the inaugural first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Since this time, the International Olympic Committee has recognized the popularity of various forms of cycling and included mountain biking in the 1996 games in Atlanta with plans to incorporate bicycle motocross (BMX) in the Olympic Games. Bicycle sales have steadily increased in each decade, with mountain bikes currently accounting for 62% of new bicycle sales in the United States. The increasing attractiveness is not limited to the adult population, however. In 1994, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 73% of children aged 5 to 14 years ride bicycles.

Cycling is not generally considered a high-risk activity. Given the increased number of people riding bicycles and the development of “extreme forms” of the activity, such as mountain biking, however, there has been a continued increase in injury incidence. Generally, bike-related injuries can be classified into acute physical trauma or chronic overuse patterns. The annual incidence of bicycle deaths has been reported as 900, with 23,000 hospital admissions, 580,000 emergency department visits, and greater than 1.2 million physician consults per year.

Bicycle crashes rank second only to riding animals as a sports- or recreation-associated cause of serious injury. Although injuries to mountain bikers of all ages account for only 3.7% of bike injuries overall, up to 51% of recreational and 85% of competitive mountain bikers sustain injuries each year. The peak incidence of bike-related injuries and fatalities is within the group aged 9 to 15 years, whereas 20- to 39-year-old riders comprise the group incurring the most mountain bike injuries. Mortality and morbidity rates attributable to bicycle accidents remain highest in older individuals, male cyclists, and cyclists involved in collisions with motor vehicles.

Most bicycle-related injuries involve superficial trauma, such as abrasions, contusions, and lacerations. Significant trauma to the upper and lower extremities and to the head, face, abdomen, and thorax are also commonly seen. Neurologic involvement, unfortunately, may represent a large proportion of the more severe injury patterns. Head injuries, in particular, often involve collision with a motor vehicle and are responsible for more than 60% of all bicycle-related deaths and most long-term disabilities.

Standing Start

25 Aug

Now here’s a gift for all the fans of track cycling out there. Here’s a short about Craig Maclean and track cycling in a somewhat lyrical and poetic fashion. The short is entitled Standing Start and it’s brilliant. It also contains close-up views of Craig Maclean’s ‘Hulk-like’ body and there’s nice surprise near the end where Craig Maclean dons his skinsuit. (The video below may link to youtube since embedding is not allowed)

Photo of the Day: August 25, 2010

25 Aug

Time in the podium can be incredibly sweet for a track cyclist. Here, Australian track cyclist, Daniel Ellis savors that moment in the podium as the audience cheers for his victory.

Tales from Beyond the Track: Volume 7

25 Aug

In telecasts of track cycling events, one is showed the actual race, the post-race, and the podium. Right after we were introduced to the sport of track cycling, we wondered what happens pre-race? Thus our excitement during our very first encounter of track cycling in a competition setting. Suffice to say, a whole lot happens pre-race. The atmosphere can be unbearably intense, and there’s a great deal of anxiety just before the cyclists mount their bikes.

A lot of track cyclists talk with their fellow teammates to ease their tension. The iPod becomes an extremely useful gadget, and the time in the rollers is enough to allay the track cyclist’s fears and tension.  Warming up is already enough to prepare the track cyclist mentally.

A little pep talk with the coach is enough to provide motivation and inspiration. Even sharing simple words of good luck help ease the back breaking intensity of pre-race waiting.

Pre-race stretching and warm-up is a most not only for its physical benefits but also for its psychological and emotional benefits as it allows the track cyclist to prepare himself for the race both physically and mentally. A lot of other things happen pre-race, but we’ll return to that in another feature.

Track Endurance Events

25 Aug

Endurance events are not very long compared to road races, of course – but they deserve to be called “endurance” events in comparison to the sprint events, which generally last less than a minute. Endurance events range in distance from 3,000 meters (womens/juniors pursuit) to 40km (an unusually long, but not unheard-of, distance for a mass-start race). Most endurance races are between 5km and 20km, which would be 20 laps and 80 laps, respectively, on a 250-meter track.

Individual Pursuit—A pursuit pits two riders against one another in a time trial in which they start on opposite sides of the track. In some pursuit formats, the race ends when one rider catches the other, but in modern racing this is rare. More typically, both riders compete over a fixed distance, even if one rider is caught by the other, to record the fastest time. Typically, women and juniors will ride 3,000 meters and men will ride 4,000 meters.

Team Pursuit- Team pursuits are contested with teams of three or four riders per side, with riders working together to record the fastest time. Mens’ distance is generally 4,000 meters and women/juniors ride 3,000 meters. The time is usually recorded on the third rider to cross the line.

Scratch Race- The basic race format – a “scratch race” is simply won by crossing the line first. It has a separate name because so many other race formats on the track are calculated by points or other mechanisms. Scratch races can be any distance, but do tend to be shorter than points races.

Points Race—At many tracks, the points race is the heart of the racing schedule. Because of the focus on sprinting and lapping the field, points races capture several essential features of mass-start track racing. Riders score sprint points for periodic sprints during the race, and also score points for lapping the field. Because the result is calculated on points and not the final finish order, it is possible to win a race even if other riders are a lap ahead of you, and it is possible to win a race even if you score no points in the final sprint. Distances and formats vary, but a typical points race might be 60 laps, sprints every 10 laps, points awarded 5-3-2-1 to the top four riders on each sprint, and 20 points awarded for lapping the field. There may or may not be double points (10-6-4-2) awarded on the final sprint.

Tempo Race—A tempo race is a form of points race, but with points awarded either every lap or every other lap, usually to only the top one or two riders. It’s called a “tempo” race because, with points awarded so frequently, the riders can’t really sprint all-out for every points award; the race tends to be a fairly sustained effort with tactics determining who is at the front when points are available.

Snowball— Another form of points race in which increasing numbers of points are awarded as the race wears on. Formats vary, but a 10-lap snowball might award points on every second lap to the first rider only, with points available as follows: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10.

Miss-And-Out—The miss-and-out is distinctive to track racing, and at many tracks it is one of the cornerstones of the racing schedule. The miss and- out, as its name suggests, is a race at the rear of the field to avoid being the last rider across the line. The distance of the race is determined by how many riders there are, because only one rider is eliminated at a time, so the field needs to keep going until nearly all of the riders are eliminated. Formats vary, but a typical arrangement on a 250-meter track might be to eliminate the last rider to cross the line on every second lap until the field is reduced to three, and from that point to have either two or three laps remaining for the last remaining riders to sprint for the top three places.

The miss-and-out deserves a few extra words about tactics, since it is so different from other races. The natural dynamic of a miss-and-out is for the back of the field to accelerate into the front of the field on each elimination lap, compressing forward and up-track as they approach the line. Riders at the front have no incentive to accelerate as this compression takes place, since they are safe from elimination. In the early stages of a miss-and-out, eliminations are largely a tactical matter, and most riders are eliminated not because they lack the strength to move up, but because they were “boxed in” and couldn’t get forward from their current position. In most early eliminations, the elimination comes as a surprise to the rider, and he leaves the track without having expended much energy in the race – he just got stuck, usually low on the track near the back of the field, and was unable to get up-track and forward fast enough to avoid elimination.

There is much more that could be said about miss-and-out racing, but an early lesson for most riders starting out is that riding low on the track inside the field is a dangerous place to be, because the natural movement of the field on an elimination lap is to go up-track and forward. Riders feeling safely positioned in the sprinter’s lane in the middle of a field of 20 will very quickly find themselves boxed in low on the track with the entire field rushing past them to the right. These are the riders who get eliminated early. Put another way: stay up-track and keep your options open. The best place to ride in a miss-and-out is two or three riders back of the very front, but never on the inside of the riders in front of you. Keep your wheel placed up-track (meaning you only get a partial draft) and defend your position aggressively – don’t get boxed in. Once the field narrows down to five or six riders, eliminations will happen on strength rather than positioning.

Win-And-Out— The win-and-out is an unusual format, and there are many variations. The idea is to award the victory to a single rider on the basis of a sprint – and then that rider leaves the race. The rest of the riders – whether they were last in the sprint or got second place by half a tire – are left to duke it out for second place in the next sprint. Naturally, riders need to gauge which sprints to go for – when to expend their energy. There are variations on this format, including versions in which the lower places are awarded first – i.e., fifth place is awarded to the winner of the first sprint, then fourth, then third and so on. Obviously this introduces a very different set of tactics.

Madison—The Madison is a points race contested by two-rider teams, with only one rider competing at a time while the other rider – called the “relief rider” – circles the top of the track waiting to come into the race. The distinctive feature of Madison racing is the hand-sling; a relief rider enters the race by grabbing hands with his partner and being physically slung into the action. Because of this, and some of the complexities of how exchanges are to be conducted in a field of riders, a full discussion of the Madison would fill a small book. For riders who want to compete in the Madison, it is important to study and practice the event intensely before competing in it. But for now I will note that the essential rules are much like a points race. To get a feel for what a Madison looks like, it’s worth finding some Madison videos on the internet – Madison racing has a very different feel than any other type of race.

Photo of the Day: August 24, 2010

24 Aug

We’re picking this as our photo of the day with no other reason than this guy being CHRIS HOY, the multi-awarded British track cyclist who won Gold in 3 different track events in the last Beijing Olympics. (And due to his popularity, this guy is automatically forfeited from being featured in our Track Cyclist of the Day)