Track Cycling in the Western Cape have come a long way and has seen many riders going from strength to strength, competing at World Cups and World Championships over the years. From as young as 10 years old to older than 70 years, male and female, riders are competing in different competitions and events throughout the year.
In 2017 the South African National Track Championships was held at the Bellville Veledrome where riders from all over the country came to compete for the ultimate prize of becoming the National Champion in various events.
“Riding the Wall” as often referred to by track cyclists, is known for fast, action paced track racing. Track racing dates back to the end of the nineteenth century. The first World Championships were held in 1895. Track cyclists are powerful athletes, generally with far more muscle bulk than “road racers”. Velodromes can range from less than 200 metres (with very steep banking) to over 450 metres on outdoor, concrete tracks. However, Olympic standard velodromes need to be 250 metres in length, completely covered, and made of wood.
Why Race On The Track?
If you like racing on the road, you’ll like racing on the track. That’s probably the main reason to race on the track. But here are some other considerations as well:
Strength & Skill Development: Track racing is used by many elite road racers to develop top-end speed, smooth pedaling at high cadences, and better bike handling skills.
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. 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.
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.
Spectating: Your friends and family aren’t very likely to come see you race on the road. But they can come out to the velodrome, and even kids can appreciate what’s going on – because they can see all the racing, all the time.
You will get fitter and faster: Training on the track enables you to work on your top-end speed without having to keep stopping for junctions and traffic lights. Training full-on on the track definitely gives you that zip and speed and explosive power which you can use on the road. Being able to ride really hard on the flat for a couple of minutes comes in pretty handy in a race.
The following is a brief description of the races:
Individual Sprint (Men/Women) -Traditionally held over three laps, this event captures the essence of track cycling.
Kilometre Time Trial (Men) – Probably the most painful of track disciplines, the “kilo” is raced as a time trial over 1000 metres. 500m Time Trial (Women) – Held over half the distance of the men, the women’s 500m time trial requires explosiveness as well as good top speed.
Keirin (Men/Women) – The keirin is a motorpaced event with 6-8 riders at any one time. Individual Pursuit (Men/women) – Held over 4000m for elite men and 3000m for elite women, this is considered an “endurance” track event. Team Pursuit (Men/Women) – Both men’s and women’s teams fielding four-rider teams and competing over 4000 metres.
Points Race (Men/women) – A rider scores points in intermediate bonus sprints every 10th lap (5, 3, 2, 1) with double points usually awarded on the last lap. Scratch Race (Men/Women) – Probably the closest the track has to a road race, with riders competing to be the first across the line. The men’s competition takes place over 15km, while the women’s is 10km.
For more information visit www.wpcycling.com