Quali’s for the Comi’s – Track

* Post British Track Champs update coming in early October.

Commonwealth Games Qualification for the Scottish Cycling team, that subject littered with controversy, accusations, and now more relevant as it’s going to be in Glasgow, the home territory will surely create one hell of a fight. It’s quite early, but the coming season is very important, most of the qualification will be done in 2013, so it’s important that we know how riders qualify.

In this blog post, I’ll just limit it to the track squad, as I assume the road & mtb teams will be more difficult to predict, also it’s likely to be based on some extrapolation of UCI points for determining how many riders we actually get, so that’s for another day & further research.

Ok, first up, what are the Commonwealth Games track events we’re talking about…

Women:

  • Sprint
  • Para-Sport Sprint B Tandem
  • 500m Time Trial
  • Para-Sport 1000m Time Trial B Tandem
  • 3000m Individual Pursuit
  • 25km Points Race
  • 10km Scratch Race

Men:

  • Sprint
  • Para-Sport Sprint B Tandem
  • Team Sprint
  • 1000m Time Trial
  • Par-Sport 1000m Time Trial B Tandem
  • Keirin
  • 4000m Individual Pursuit
  • 4000m Team Pursuit
  • 40km Points Race
  • 20km Scratch Race

As you can see there’s some disparity in the events for each gender, very different to the Olympics these days, but possibly the reason is partly due to there being very few female track riders from outside the UK countries, Australia & Canada, but would be very nice to have more events, nothing we can do for 2014 but hopefully later Commonwealth Games will have a bit more equality.

What’s interesting here is that we have no omnium or madison, but the kilo, 500m TT, Scratch, Points & Pursuits are medal events in their own right, harking back to ‘the good old days’ of Olympic competition, which is rumoured to be returning.

So lets get down to the qualification process, Scottish Cycling have released a document detailing the requirements, you can download that from the link below.

Scottish Cycling Selection Policy

So the technicalities are that riders have to set the times on a UCI approved 250m velodrome, with a temperature correction set to 24 degrees (don’t ask me how you work that out, must be a BC thing). The timed events are based on the 2011 worlds podium averages, then a certain percentage is added on for each event, so we get the following qualification times required for each event.

Men (timed events):

  • Individual Pursuit: 4:30.396
  • Team Pursuit: 4:08.175
  • Sprint (200m): 10.394s
  • Kilo: 1:02.889
  • Team Sprint Man 1 (lap time): 17.901s
  • Team Sprint Man 2 (lap time): 13.529s
  • Team Sprint Man 3 (lap time): 13.95s

Men (Scratch & Points):

  • Flying Start 3000m: 3:28
  • Flying Start 500m: 30s

Women (timed events):

  • Individual Pursuit: 3:41.581
  • Sprint (200m): 11.465s
  • 500m TT: 35.127

Women (Scratch & Points):

  • Flying Start 2000m: 2:29
  • Flying Start 500m: 32.3s

The Para times are all to be confirmed, but we can be pretty sure who’s going to be riding those events already, for the woman we expect Aileen McGlynn piloted by Fiona Duncan, then the men with Neil Fachie piloted by Craig MacLean.

Who’s going to be within a shout for these places then, there’s a lot of emerging talent in sprinting with Callum Skinner & John Paul, these guys are very likely to appear as part of the team sprint squad, alongside Chris Hoy. It’s possible that Craig MacLean could line up for a Commonwealth Games without affecting his appearance as a tandem pilot, but unlikely as there will be some timing issues for the events, so I’ll go with my initial 3 for the team sprint places. I’m also going to go for Sir Chris as the number 1 rider in the Keirin & not riding the Sprint (we may be allowed more than one on Commonwealth Games), then Skinner & Paul taking the other places in Keirin & Sprint. The kilo could be interesting, the only rider who been posting times close to the qualification, is Bruce Croall, but we don’t yet know what the other sprinters can do in an event that BC don’t encourage them to ride. Or will Sir Chris attempt to finish his career with a gold medal in the event that initially made him famous, could be an exciting finale to a glittering career?

In the endurance events, could we have a couple of domestic riders capable of getting close to that pursuit qualification time if they specifically trained for it, Silas Goldsworthy & Ben Peacock? Silas got a tremendous 4th place in his first attempt at the British Pursuit champs this year, here’s his write up on Veloveritas. If Peacock can transform his TT speed into the very different high rpm required for a pursuit, he could be getting close too.

Then previous bronze medallist in the Scratch race, with that Cav boy winning the gold, James McCallum is likely to be challenging for a place in the points & scratch. I’ve just noticed the Ross Edgar has signed for a road team in 2013, the story is here on Velo UK. I think this is a cunning plan to contest the bunch races at the Commonwealth Games, he knows he’s not quite quick enough anymore to make the Team Sprint squad, so this could be a very smart move on his part, I expect to see him there, he can race bunch events, he’s regularly ridden in track leagues in the past. With the new indoor track, we don’t really know who is going to emerge, the 2013 Scottish Track Champs are likely to be a goldmine of talent, should be very exciting ot see who emerges. Unfortunately I doubt we’ll have a team pursuit team representing Scotland, the resources needed for that are huge just in track booking terms to be able to compete with the Aussies, ,Kiwi’s, English (basically the GB squad) and a likely strong team from Wales. So that needs another 4 years to develop.

As for the ladies, we have sprinter Jenny Davis, but nobody else who’s close to posting the qualification times required. Then in the bunch races theres Charline Joiner, Eileen Roe & Kayleigh Brogan, all very talented endurance riders who will surely be getting places in the Games at Glasgow. I think there’s a good chance of getting a medal with this group of riders, perhaps more likely than in the men’s endurance events? Again, there’s scope for some more talent to appear over the coming year with the Chris Hoy velodrome, so another interesting year ahead on the boards.

p.s. I apologise if I’ve missed anybody obvious in this, let me know and I’ll post some updates as time gets closer to selection.

Sonic Youth

*Update01: Event Programme added.

The British Inter Regional Youth Track Championships are on THIS WEEKEND (24th to 26th Aug 2013) at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, more importantly they’re free to watch for spectators! Here we’ll see each British Cycling ‘Region’ selecting riders to race against the other regions & nationalities.

The events should be thrilling for cycling fans, not just for the sheer venom & crowd pleasing tactics that some of our youthful racers will be putting on display, but these are the stars of the future. You’ll be witnessing riders who WILL be in the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games & World Championships in the future. I’d go as far as saying that some of these riders could prove to be even more talented than our current crop of medal winners, the identification of talent at a young age & the sheer volume of riders wanting to have a go means the talent pool is much greater than in years past.

It’s also one of only a few opportunities these days for Scottish fans to cheer on riders racing in Scotland team kit, these kids need your support, they are the future of the sport & your support could provide them with that extra impetus to perform & impress the national selectors, it could kick-start a glorious career. Here’s your chance to say you were there.

Racing for Scotland are the following riders (names thanks to @LeighMarshall79 on twitter, who runs the Filles a Velo website)

  • Emma Borthwick :Edinburgh RC
  • Katie McLean : Johnstone Wheelers CC
  • Rhona Callander :Stirling Bike Club
  • Stuart Balfour :Ronde – Bicycle Outfitters
  • Rhys Donnelly : Glasgow Riderz
  • Ben Forsyth :Edinburgh RC
  • Jack Carlin : Team Thomsons Cycles

Events Programme:

Saturday (Session 1) : Starting @ 11am

  • Girls Sprint Qualifying
  • Boys Sprint Qualifying
  • Girls Scratch Race
  • Boys Scratch Race
  • Girls Sprint 1st Round
  • Boys Sprint 1st Round

Saturday (Session 2) : Starting @ 15:00

  • Girls Sprint Semi Final
  • Boys sprint Semi Final
  • Girls Points Race
  • Boys Points Race
  • Girls Sprint Final
  • Boys Sprint Final

Sunday (Session 3) : Starting @ 09:00

  • Girls Keirin 1st Round
  • Boys Keirin 1st Round
  • Girls Pursuit Qualifying
  • Boys Pursuit Qualifying
  • Girls Keirin Semi Final
  • Girls Pursuit Final
  • Boys Pursuit Final
  • Girls Keirin Final
  • Boys Keirin Final

Sunday (Session 4) : Starting @ 15:00

  • Girls 500m TT
  • Boys 500m TT
  • Girls Madison
  • Boys Madison

Monday (Session 5) : Starting @ 09:00

  • Girls Team Sprint Qualifying
  • Boys Team Sprint Qualifying
  • Girls Team Sprint Final
  • Boys Team Sprint Final

Monday (Session 6) : Starting @ 12:00

  • Girls Team Pursuit Qualifying
  • Boys Team Pursuit Qualifying
  • Girls Team Pursuit Final
  • Boys Team Pursuit Final
  • Victory Ceremony

A fantastic line-up of events for youth riders to take part in. More updates to follow…..

Information can be found on the Glasgow Life website HERE. Racing is on 9am to 5pm each day, parking is very limited, so you may not get parked in the velodrome car park. It looks like results will appear HERE on the Scottish Cycling website.

This is as much information as I could find, if anybody has any more info please pass it on, these events should have a lot more attention than they currently attract. Thanks to Martin Harris for the events.

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Off Piste on the Alpe

Many question how a track rider can become a good mountain climber & take Alpine stages or do well in general classification, but this isn’t just confined to British riders, there was one notable performance in this years Tour by an ex track rider, I bring you Christophe Riblon.

The ‘Other’ Chris

This years stage to the Alpe d’Huez was a new experiment for the Tour, they chose to climb the famous mountain twice, utilising the questionable surface of Col de Saronne descent on the way. An AG2R rider, Christophe Riblon won on the day, after a long breakaway

In the year prior to the 2008 Olympics, there was a World Cup track meeting on the same velodrome to be used in Beijing, this event was attended by two British Tour de France notables, Mark Cavendish & Bradley Wiggins. They had gone all the way to China to test the track & gain qualification points for the Olympics, there were 3 British teams racing as a national team & two UCI registered teams, they wanted to do well. The T-Mobile riders (Rob Hayles & Geraint Thomas were riding in the British skinsuits) did a great ride, finishing 2nd, on the same lap to French duo Jerome Neuville & our climber, Christophe Riblon. Further down the placings, you can see the quality of the field, not what you’d call a soft race with riders like Loan Llaneras, Iljo Keisse, Alex Rasmussen, Michael Morkov, Greg Henderson & Hayden Roulston.

Riblon wasn’t a newcomer to the track, he’s performed at national & world-class level going back as far as 2002, where he was a silver medallist in the European Team Pursuit championships, silver in the 2003 French Points Race, silver in the 2008 World Points Race, silver in Worlds Madison in 2010, lots of silvers, a quality track rider. Meanwhile he was also doing very well in the mountains, with 2nd in GC at the 2005 Tour de l’Avenir, 2nd place in the mountains classification at the 2007 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, a 6th place in the 2009 Tour stage to Andorra Arcalis, 13th in that same Tour’s stage to Mont Ventoux, just 3 places behind his old Madison rival Wiggins. He can also time trial, he took 8th place in a 2009 Vuelta a Espana time trial won by Cancellara, losing less than a minute over 30km.

Up to 2010 he was doing well, but we can probably say this was his breakthrough year, another year where he mixed track with road. His palmares show a huge amount of top ten places, culminating with a win on stage 14 of the Tour de France to Ax-les Thermes, beating Menchov, Sanchez & little Schlecker into the 2nd, 3rd & 4th placings. He also secured a top 10 placing overall in the Dauphine, which included a 7th place on the Alpe d’Huez stage, in fine company yet again. I have to admit, before compiling this blog, I had no idea of the quality of Riblon, he’s achieved steady improvement over a number of years & I expect to see him continue this over the next couple of years.

Track to Road

We often hear that nobody can quite understand how UK track riders are able to transfer their abilities to road racing, especially in grand tours. It seems that if you’re good at track, then you can’t be good at stage racing by the ‘experts’, but lets look at this example of Riblon. He has won a couple of World track silver medals, I’d suggest that if France had the same level of support, coaching & resources in their national track squad as the UK did, Riblon would have won a lot more medals, perhaps some gold ones. If you think that’s not the case, then there’s the strange ‘logic’ (among some) that a less talented track rider will be a more talented road racer, so if the Britis riders were finishing 4th or 5th in the Olympic track events, then they can climb better, I’d don’t understand that ‘logic’.

I’d also suggest that Riblon was just as talented a track rider as any endurance rider on the British squad, as far as I know Riblon has no questions asked about him. If we put across a scenario where Riblon was not French, but rode for Britain, would he have the same questions raised about his track abilities transferring to the road?

The Big Question

My real question is, have many nations missed spotting some road talents by chasing track medal success & not giving chances to their successful riders to transfer to road racing, is there a big international talent pool about to surface, particularly in France? Riblon could easily have been missed & stuck to track racing, his Madison partner Jerome Neuville also have been a great road rider on the largest stage, but he remained predominantly on the track. Maybe France needs to take a good look at their under 23 track riders, who knows what’s lurking in there ready to take on the Tour & revive French cycling.

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Scratch & Sniff

If you follow any posts on Braveheart, there’s currently one where Martin Harris (one of Scotland’s champions in promotion of cycle racing & facilities) has stated that he will be running the Scottish Scratch Championships at Caird Park track in Dundee. It’s provoked some comments & there have been some tweets recently on same subject, some suggesting that with a world-class facility available, holding a Scottish Track Championship outdoors is about as welcome as a UKIP leader in an Edinburgh pub. So its probably best to provide a balanced view on this and try to deduce the reasons, benefits & disadvantages of holding championship events outside of the new indoor velodrome.

What’s happening..

From the onlookers point of view, last years Scottish track championships were in a bit of chaos, it was unknown whether the velodrome would be fully operational by the end of the season to run any events. As it turned out, most of the track championships were rained off & Glasgow hosted a large number of championship events indoors towards the end of the year once the track was functioning, alongside a Braveheart funding event.

This year we expected better, but the dates for national championships only appear to be getting allocated now, which is a little confusing, especially in the year before a Commonwealth Games, which is where the disorganisation & communication issues most people associate with Scottish Cycling rear their head for yet another year. Surely it’s not too hard to let riders know at the beginning of the year when they need to peak for events, there’s a lot of young riders out there who are training properly, they need to know when these events are on the calendar. Maybe next year eh?

So this leads us to the Scratch race, for those who don’t know, it’s a bunch race on the track, 15km long and the first rider over the line from the group on the leading lap is the winner. It’s a simple as it gets for track events, don’t lose a lap & win the sprint or ride away solo. But the good old internal politics of cycle racing in Scotland stop this being quite as simple as it should be. Caird Park has hosted this event for the past few years, right back to the late 80’s (I think, open to being corrected). Caird Park has recently been upgraded, with Martin Harris & his team raising a huge £320,000 to revive the track to better than its former glory, even removing the hedge & replacing it with a barrier, which removes some historical hedge tactics, it’s a vast improvement overall. Caird Park deserves support.

What about the ‘other’ facilities?

This leads us to the current situation, with an indoor velodrome & two outdoor facilities, the revamped 400m Caird Park & the outdoor wooden 250m track at Meadowbank. Track cycling in Scotland could go one of two ways:

Scenario 1: The Chris Hoy Velodrome gets all the events, all the support & the outdoor tracks become redundant.

Scenario 2: The outdoor tracks become ‘feeder’ facilities, developing talent & skills, promoting events & then filtering that developed talent towards major events at the indoor facility.

The latter scenario is how things should be working, but it’s hard to see that the support exists outside some very hard-working groups & individuals at both the outdoor facilities. They’ve been fighting for years to keep their facilities & talent development alive, essentially taking Scottish track racing to its current level before the glitzy showcase stadium we’ve all been dreaming about arrived. These people’s work shouldn’t be forgotten, or their input overlooked, Scottish Cycling could learn a lot by taking these groups & individuals opinions seriously.

Multiple tracks?

More needs to be done to utilise the outdoor facilities, these facilities need to generate some income & get used by the public, if they don’t we’ll lose them. With the popularity of cycling in the UK at an all time high, with track cycling having provided so many medals over so many recent Olympic Games, now shouldn’t be a hard time to devote some resources to making sure we keep these facilities running, they can benefit the indoor facility massively by providing talented riders to race on a bigger stage. They can also provide a much cheaper alternative for clubs to run track days & beginner sessions, they both have very different benefits. With Caird Park’s shallow banking, it can provide an ideal environment for new track riders who are afraid of steep banking & very young riders who can’t ride quick enough to stay up on the 250m tracks. Meadowbank has virtually the same dimensions as Glasgow, so everything you learn there is relevant to Glasgow (apart from the back straight head wind obviously). Both are ideal places to learn important skills & racecraft, both need to remain in operation & importantly, they can both still support events.

Demand for time at Glasgow is also huge, so without other facilities available there is a big danger of under supplying the enormous demand for track time, the amount of riders accredited is getting very large now, people want track riding. There’s also a danger in relying & focussing one discipline at one facility in Scotland, what if it was unusable for a few months or weeks, we’d have no Scottish track cycling, not supporting existing facilities is suicide. Remember that Manchester was shut for some time after some guy rode a mountain bike over its roof, hence the barbed wire on the concrete structure leading up to the roof now.

Where should championships be held?

We live in Scotland, it rains quite a bit, so holding major or prestigious events outdoors is going to be problematic, you can’t ride these tracks in the wet. On the other hand, it’s hard to beat an outdoor track meeting on a sunny day, there’s something magical about those rare days. So how do we allocate the events fairly?

We have the facility, so the important events need to be indoors, purely for reliability. If we’re to progress more riders onto the Olympic Development Programme, then we need reliable events on the calendar, our reality is that the weather dictates things on outdoor tracks. A situation like last year where multiple outdoor Scottish championship meetings are cancelled will make our sport look like a farce at such a critical time. Imagine sports reporters who have an interest in following cycling seeing championships cancelled due to weather when we have an indoor facility, it makes it look like we don’t care, so why should they be bothered reporting on our sport. Elite championship events need to be held on indoor tracks, but there are other options for the outdoor tracks. We can start developing very young riders on Caird Park, riders of 6 years old are racing on outdoor 400m tracks down south, perhaps we need to encourage championships from a very young age, or at least recognition, we can use Caird Park for this. It’s very hard for young youth riders to perform at all on a 250m track, they spend most of their effort just staying up if they are Youth C category, so a shallower track will allow them to develop race skills before they move onto steeper tracks once they move into Youth A & B age categories.

Meadowbank is still capable of holding great events, the Edinburgh Meadowbank GP is a good example, it even seems to get decent weather most years & attracts plenty of riders from outside Scotland. It can’t really be considered a development event though, it’s a well established stand alone event, it has its own prestige & that’s why it works. It’s very different to a Scottish championship, which requires to be held on a specific date so that riders can time their peak correctly & everybody can plan their season. Last year we had championship events cancelled in the summer and then held indoors very late in the year, what kind of message does that send to aspiring riders & sponsors, if we want rider aspiration & sponsors in our sport we need to put across the message that we can manage championship events in a logical manner. That involves allowing press to turn up without getting disappointed & sponsors to visit events without sitting in their car hoping the rain will go off. The sport has gone mainstream & we as a sport, need to start thinking about it mainstream, we’re no longer a minority sport that nobody is watching, it’s the UK’s most successful Olympic sport, we have a Tour de France winner & we even have multiple BBC Sports Personality victors, it’s in the public eye big time.

Conclusion

There’s plenty of scope to develop the existing outdoor tracks with a bit of support from the governing body, it looks like everything is currently being focussed on Glasgow. This approach is understandable, it’s the flagship facility, something we never thought we’d get, but the outdoor tracks can compliment that facility, they can feed riders from different parts of Scotland into track racing. There’s already great coaching at both Caird Park & Meadowbank, so it’s really important that some resources are also routed to those venues, otherwise there’s a danger of serious lack of vision on track racing overall in Scotland being cultivated. Those with knowledge need to be listened to by those without. Sometimes volunteers know a lot more about some things than those in paid positions, a smart employee would listen to those who are involved in the sport because they love the sport.

So there’s probably nothing untoward going on, but there could be a bit of disorganisation & hesitation in allocating these events, so it smells a little bit, but no worse than expected. We don’t need to run championship events outdoors, but we can all see why the Scratch is important to Caird Park, its suffering from a lack of resources and a championship event gives it prestige, we just need to make sure it gets it’s prestige in other ways after this year, in ways of support, there’s still plenty of time to get that all put in place for 2014.

If you want to book Caird Park or Meadowbank, follow the links below:

Meadowbank Velodrome, follow the link on the right of link page for booking forms.

Discovery Junior Cycling Club, use the contact button to get in touch with Martin.

Fixing time trials

We’re in for a tumultuous few years in cycle racing in Scotland, misconceptions will be addressed, talents who may have previously slipped through will be recognised & more importantly, we’ll be getting our heads kicked in by first year juniors from now on. The balance of power is going to change, moving away from super strong veterans, it will take 4 to 5 years, buts it’s already happening, even in your local time trial.

Back when I were a lad…

I wrote a piece on an event called the Corrieri Classic (promoted by Stirling Bike Club), not because I’m particularly interested in imperial standard distance flat time trials, I wrote the piece because these types of events are about to become more important in the Scottish cycling scene. Much more important than the ’25’, which was perceived as the blue riband event in time trialling by the older generation & the myth perpetuated by 80’s & 90’s Cycling Weekly (The Comic).

It used to be, you joined a club & somebody asked you “what’s your time for a ten?”, if you looked at all ‘handy’. It was assumed you had ridden a 10 mile time trial, and that you’d have a time, from that they would size you up for a pasting on the road or avoid “putting a wheel on you” during a ride if you were too fast. All this based on a time, from unknown weather conditions on an unknown course, hardly a scientific appraisal of somebody’s ability. If you consider some former top Scottish road riders from the 90’s, such as the Johnstone Wheelers ex members Brian Smith & Drew Wilson, ask them what their time for a ten is, I doubt they would even have ridden one, it had by that point become irrelevant to the higher achievers’ in Scottish racing.

These days, time trials are very rarely visited by the majority of road & track riders, time trialing had traditionally been part of your arsenal for road racing in particular, anybody with any ambition on the road competed in time trials, they were directly relating to long solo breaks and also great training. But due to advances in aerodynamics and different bikes being used in time trials, largely from everybody realising the time gain of tri-bars from the 1989 Tour de France, where Greg LeMond used aero advances to overturn a  50 second deficit on Laurent Fignon in the final time trial, into an 8 second advantage on GC. Plus arguably even earlier from riders like Francesco Moser who took aerodynamics to an extreme, time trialling was steadily becoming a different sport. This is more evident in Scotland & the rest of the UK than anywhere else, since the early 90’s ‘The Comic’ was filled with pictures of riders racing on extreme positions, away from traditional drop bars and often riding small front wheels on the now banned ‘Lo-Pro’ bikes (now its current fashion is reporting on sportives), this reduced the crossover effect, it wasn’t a traditional road position and aero cost money. Time trialling lost its relevance to other forms of racing when the bikes changed in the early 90’s, this is going to change over time, especially for the shorter tests.

The road back

The Scottish track scene has been dominated for a number of years by some incredible sprint talents, developed almost solely through Meadowbank & ‘The City’ who have a special talent for identifying talented riders and giving them a pathway to greatness (The 2012 Scottish Keirin Championships looked like a club championship, all six riders in the final were City of Edinburgh!). There have been a few notable endurance talents developed along the way through the same route, along with some British medals, but generally, they’ve been creating top class sprinters for a very long time.

We now have a method of identifying promising endurance talents too, namely, the Glasgow Track League. As with most track leagues across the UK, it’s currently not particularly well promoted or advertised, but if you scour the results on the Scottish Cycling website, you’ll see some very interesting names pop up. I went to have a look one evening, aside from the eternal youth and competitiveness of veteran riders like Graham McGarrity who were getting stuck in, the most aggressive displays were from the younger riders, they were knocking lumps out of each other and nobody else was capable of testing themselves to these extents. They also have a very classy measurement system, if James McCallum & Evan Oliphant were to both turn up at track league, you can expect fireworks, the young guys are out to prove a point by the looks of it. So Gus Gillies, Mark Stewart, David Whitehall, Greg Brown, etc, etc, you guys are the catalyst to create something very special.

What’s the point?

So this gets me to the actual point, the crossover between disciplines and why it’s more important these days. Classy pursuiters & regular track riders like Silas Goldsworthy & Ben Peacock, are now exchanging punches at a ’10’, with another regular convert to track league & potential pursuiter Alan Thomson also in the mix. It turned out that Goldsworthy recorded a 21:06, with Peacock & Thomson tied in 2nd with 21:21. The local ’10’ can easily become a testing ground for better bike positions & used to help train muscle adaptation to a new, more-aero position. How does this work?

Let’s get on with the assumptions….

Well (sorry, going to get all technical now), consider power outputs. The riders are all different sizes & shapes, so we’ll take a simplistic viewpoint on this and ‘pretend’ that they all weigh about 75kg & that they are all similar body shapes.

Let’s assume it takes 340 watts of power to ride the course in 21:06 (45.5 kmh). If that same rider was to ride the same course, in the same conditions in 21:21 (45.0 kmh), then they would have to produce 328 watts of power. So for the 2nd placed riders to beat the first placed rider, we can deduce that they would either have to train to produce between 3% to 4% more power to get on terms or not require to produce that extra power through better aerodynamics. Now here’s the important bit, it’s probably much easier to reduce the aerodynamic drag requirement by 12 watts to also get on terms. So as you can see, the margins of difference are very small, with those slight changes actually making all the difference. It’s puts into perspective Team Sky’s much mocked ‘marginal gains’ philosophy, which accumulates very small percentage gains and changes them into race winning gains by acquiring hundreds of them. So we can also deduce that even in the reality of an early morning Sunday ’10’, these technicalities & attention to detail could make the difference between winning & losing, even in a club ’10’.

Take this into consideration. Would some work on some random details, like your tri-bar position, taping your number down, riding removable valves in your deep section rim & taping the holes, making sure your aero helmet fin is flat to your back, spending your money on the best front wheel you can afford rather than the disc rear wheel that looks better but turns in turbulent air, would this all add up to a 3% gain, that’s up to you to decide. There are also some truly shocking un-aero aero positions out there too, everybody should stick a mirror next to their turbo trainer just once and see what we all see in those ghastly photos, you’ll be shocked too, you don’t look like Tejay Van Garderen.

What does this mean?

A local ’10’ could become a less expensive testing ground for ambitious amateur pursuit riders looking to tweak their aero advantage against other riders in a similar position. We could see a big revival in the quality of fields in time trial events, with one of the effects of an indoor velodrome (as in other regions where one has been acquired), will be evident across other disciplines, with younger competitive riders also taking part. So consider £10 time trial entry versus several hundred £ to hire an indoor velodrome, you’ll see the smart £10 being spent on developing aero advances and riders getting to a level where they can compete without having to fork out cash on venue hire, while riding the same bike they pursuit on, with a front brake attached. Fixed gear is going to get more popular again in your local ’10’.