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Protips for a new track racer

Old 08-13-18, 07:39 AM
  #126  
tobukog
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It's so individual that you just have to try it. As posted by topflight pro, I usually prefer to stick to one cog in back and make all the changes up front. At the cat 3 level, the baseline should centered on the historically accepted 90", about a 50x15.

Points race 50x15
Scratch 51x15
Keirin 52x15
Elimination 49x15 (I don't know what Minnesota is thinking by going UP in gearing for an elimination)
Madison 50 or 49x15
Tempo 50x15 if ridden properly, 51x15 if ridden slowly.

Masters riders often feel more comfortable at lower rpm, so you might end up bigger, but I'd start with the above recommendations if I were you.
You can also figure out the 14t equivalents if you use a 14t. As you gain experience, you can then modify this a little depending on your strengths, the pattern of competition, and the speed of the track.

If you're doing multiple races in an evening, some riders end up gearing one tooth down for later races.
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Old 08-13-18, 01:52 PM
  #127  
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52x15 is really small for a keirin.

I'm pretty much on my 200m gear for a keirin.
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Old 08-13-18, 02:47 PM
  #128  
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Originally Posted by southernfox View Post
52x15 is really small for a keirin.

I'm pretty much on my 200m gear for a keirin.
It depends.

52x15 is a 93.6" gear. I've seen plenty of elites that ride the hell out of that gear as their race gear for the day.

Gearing is relative. There are so many factors.

- Track dimensions.
- Crank length.
- Rider ability (age, fitness, strength, muscle fiber type ratio, etc...).

Real talk: Anything 88" or higher is fair game in local and regional racing.

Marty Nothstein rode a 94" in the Olympics. I'm pretty sure no one here can beat Nothstein (or his times) when he was in Olympic form

Yes, if Nothstein were in his 20's now, he'd probably race larger gears. My point is that a human can use such gears to go really fast on the track.
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Old 08-13-18, 02:51 PM
  #129  
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Originally Posted by southernfox View Post
52x15 is really small for a keirin.

I'm pretty much on my 200m gear for a keirin.
It would probably be too small to win a top level Keirin. It's perfectly fine for a cat 3. I've seen endurance riders with leg speed, e.g, Holloway or McCook pull off good Keirin results in a "small" keirin gear -- and I've come around said riders in smaller gears.

Last edited by tobukog; 08-13-18 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 08-13-18, 03:55 PM
  #130  
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Sure, if you can spin like crazy, then definitely use the small gear. But if you can't, bigger gears are where it's at. We have me maxing out around 120rpm in the keirin and 200m (but I do all the other events on way smaller gears).
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Old 08-13-18, 05:16 PM
  #131  
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Originally Posted by southernfox View Post
Sure, if you can spin like crazy, then definitely use the small gear. But if you can't, bigger gears are where it's at. We have me maxing out around 120rpm in the keirin and 200m (but I do all the other events on way smaller gears).
Again, everything is relative.

Your comments about gearing (in other threads as well) are from your anecdotal POV and you seem to offer what works for you as what everyone else should do. e.g. "My flying 200M gear is x then I'll say that x is the best gear for the flying 200 to any rider who asks about gearing for the flying 200."

53x15 might be too low for you...but absolutely spot-on perfect for thousands of other racers...including OP.

Regarding spinning like crazy...there are many of great trackies that became great by spinning like crazy even in the modern era of big gears. David Epinoza is one of them as well as just about any elite/pro all-arounder (these guys can also beat up on most sprinters and simply choose not to).

The goal is to be able to spin like crazy. Seriously. The racer who can hold 150 or 160 RPM in a race would be a better racer than the one who can only hold 120 RPM.

Why? Being able to carry a higher RPM means that you can ride a lower gear. Lower gears? Whaaaaa? Isn't that bad? NOPE. It's wonderful. Lower gears allow for faster, harder jumps to gap off riders and is less taxing of the anaerobic systems than larger gears. One recovers better when sprinting or mass start racing on lower gears between races AND between sprints within a race. Basically, don't race a big gear when you don't have to because everything burns a match...even slowing down as pack speeds change.

Ever see a top junior hang with local elites in CAT1/2/A? Cuz low gear, carrying cadence, and youth.

As we age our ability to carry high cadences diminishes...and all we got left are big gears.

I'm not saying big gears are bad and small gears are great. I'm saying that both are options. Don't limit yourself to one tool when you have several in your toolbox.

BTW, if you knew what gears some Olympic-caliber Man1 TS riders are riding, you'd be surprised. It's in the 90s.
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Old 08-13-18, 07:37 PM
  #132  
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
Again, everything is relative.

Your comments about gearing (in other threads as well) are from your anecdotal POV and you seem to offer what works for you as what everyone else should do. e.g. "My flying 200M gear is x then I'll say that x is the best gear for the flying 200 to any rider who asks about gearing for the flying 200."

53x15 might be too low for you...but absolutely spot-on perfect for thousands of other racers...including OP.

Regarding spinning like crazy...there are many of great trackies that became great by spinning like crazy even in the modern era of big gears. David Epinoza is one of them as well as just about any elite/pro all-arounder (these guys can also beat up on most sprinters and simply choose not to).

The goal is to be able to spin like crazy. Seriously. The racer who can hold 150 or 160 RPM in a race would be a better racer than the one who can only hold 120 RPM.

Why? Being able to carry a higher RPM means that you can ride a lower gear. Lower gears? Whaaaaa? Isn't that bad? NOPE. It's wonderful. Lower gears allow for faster, harder jumps to gap off riders and is less taxing of the anaerobic systems than larger gears. One recovers better when sprinting or mass start racing on lower gears between races AND between sprints within a race. Basically, don't race a big gear when you don't have to because everything burns a match...even slowing down as pack speeds change.

Ever see a top junior hang with local elites in CAT1/2/A? Cuz low gear, carrying cadence, and youth.

As we age our ability to carry high cadences diminishes...and all we got left are big gears.

I'm not saying big gears are bad and small gears are great. I'm saying that both are options. Don't limit yourself to one tool when you have several in your toolbox.

BTW, if you knew what gears some Olympic-caliber Man1 TS riders are riding, you'd be surprised. It's in the 90s.
To add, in addition to strength work real Keirin pros do tons of overspeed work. Some ride behind a motorcycle attached by a bungee cord to force higher leg speed. Some use motorized rollers to do the same. If you're limited to 120rpm, which is on the low end, it limits your tactical options. As Carleton has suggested, you're much better off having a wider power band in which you can produce power in a greater cadence range.
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Old 08-13-18, 07:46 PM
  #133  
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Originally Posted by Godsight View Post
If you have access to previous races average speed with the same field of racers, you can use that as a guideline with taking in consideration your cadence sweet spot to calculate the gear ratio you want.

ie
Senior elite at Bromont is usually around 43-45kph average speed during mass start races
My cadence sweet spot is 95-105rpm
So i hover between 50/14 and 50/13
Well that was fun. Nothing like getting dragged around by 2-3 masters in my age group who were also racing in the Elite category the same night. Your calculations seem close. We were averaging about 43-45kph. My average cadence was 99 rpm (max 134 rpm), and I was using 48:14. It felt good, until they were overtaking me the last 10m! :-). What an amazing learning experience though. Can't wait to get out there again.

Last edited by krispenhartung; 08-13-18 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 08-14-18, 03:32 AM
  #134  
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Bit harsh on @southernfox! People would do far better to listen/read what she has to say. Spinning is the way of the past, and the open minded riders out there are waking up to the science and real world proof that bigger gears and slower RPMs are faster right across the sprinter and enduro spectrum.

The spinners are the genetic outliers of our sport rather than the norm. Juniors , who are generally where we get our elites have to spin as they are brought up on restricted gearing. So the elites will be good spinners by default and shouldn’t be compared to anyone but elites and juniors. Elites and masters are drinking the cool aid as you Americans put it and going up the gear inch chart, slowing their RPMs and getting faster at the same time. But don’t think that just because they ride a big gear that they can’t spin, it doesn’t actually work that way
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Old 08-14-18, 06:18 AM
  #135  
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Originally Posted by brawlo View Post
Bit harsh on @southernfox! People would do far better to listen/read what she has to say. Spinning is the way of the past, and the open minded riders out there are waking up to the science and real world proof that bigger gears and slower RPMs are faster right across the sprinter and enduro spectrum.

The spinners are the genetic outliers of our sport rather than the norm. Juniors , who are generally where we get our elites have to spin as they are brought up on restricted gearing. So the elites will be good spinners by default and shouldnít be compared to anyone but elites and juniors. Elites and masters are drinking the cool aid as you Americans put it and going up the gear inch chart, slowing their RPMs and getting faster at the same time. But donít think that just because they ride a big gear that they canít spin, it doesnít actually work that way
It's becoming a pattern with Carleton. I don't know what I did to make him so upset.
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Old 08-14-18, 06:20 AM
  #136  
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Originally Posted by carleton View Post
Again, everything is relative.

Your comments about gearing (in other threads as well) are from your anecdotal POV and you seem to offer what works for you as what everyone else should do. e.g. "My flying 200M gear is x then I'll say that x is the best gear for the flying 200 to any rider who asks about gearing for the flying 200."
No, it's based on a lot of the latest research into the relationship between power, cadence, and speed.

You're getting the order of causation backwards: I don't have the beliefs that I do based on how I ride, I ride the way I do based on all the latest research (and my coaching team).

ETA: Two other things: I never ever told someone to ride 118" just because I do. I ride really big gears for women (usually way bigger than my competitors in a given race). But that's because of my physiology, not because I think they should be on the same gears I am. I have NEVER said that, and that you suggest that I have is getting out of line.

Second, this is about a very specific event: the keirin. Top speed is everything. Having a huge snap isn't as big of an advantage in a keirin as it is in something like a match sprint. We're starting from such a high speed already that it changes things.

And we can all hold our top speed for 20", so speed endurance fatigue isn't as much of an issue unless one is trying to ride from the front like Hoy.

Last edited by southernfox; 08-14-18 at 06:24 AM.
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Old 08-14-18, 06:25 AM
  #137  
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Originally Posted by tobukog View Post
To add, in addition to strength work real Keirin pros do tons of overspeed work. Some ride behind a motorcycle attached by a bungee cord to force higher leg speed. Some use motorized rollers to do the same. If you're limited to 120rpm, which is on the low end, it limits your tactical options. As Carleton has suggested, you're much better off having a wider power band in which you can produce power in a greater cadence range.

The data suggests that this is wrong.

Here, y'all are welcome:


Look, I can hit 205rpm (and 190 no problem). It's not that I can't hit higher cadences: it's just not efficient in most sprint events. I do track efforts hitting 180rpm and holding it for whatever the interval is. But in terms of *RACING* the science of speed is pretty clear: max race cadences in an event like the KEIRIN are in the 125-130 range are where it's at. And that's because we're starting already at speed.
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Old 08-14-18, 08:15 AM
  #138  
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Originally Posted by southernfox View Post
It's becoming a pattern with Carleton. I don't know what I did to make him so upset.
lol "becoming a pattern"?

I state fairly clearly my objection to your sweeping statements.

1) You declare what works for you should work for everyone.
2) You write as though every athlete here is your height, weight, age, strength, and genetic profile.
3) "Small gears", "Big gears", "Spinning", "Grinding" are all relative terms. What works for a 22 year old may not work for a 62 year old.


Is that clear enough?

The result of writing that way is that new racers (who come here for info) may leave with the impression that they should be doing local F200s and Keirins on 110" gears and anything less than that is ludicrous.

A 22 year old, strong, fit male athlete riding a 110" gear on a 400M track is a much different experience than a 62 year old new racer, not strong, not fit, riding a 110" gear on a 200M track.

You should writing unfounded, detailed, absolute statements as though it's gospel. You've been doing that since you started racing and started on this forum (all about the same time). Is that harsh enough?

I'm a know it all...and I also know one when I see one.

Again: Big gears work. What is considered "big" is relative. Is there debate about those two statements in succession together?

Last edited by carleton; 08-14-18 at 08:25 AM. Reason: 62 not 52
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Old 08-14-18, 08:21 AM
  #139  
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Originally Posted by southernfox View Post
No, it's based on a lot of the latest research into the relationship between power, cadence, and speed.
Yes. I've read most, if not all of the studies. I have the PDFs on my hard drive and can quote them if you like.

Originally Posted by southernfox View Post
...I ride really big gears for women (usually way bigger than my competitors in a given race). But that's because of my physiology,...

Yes. This is true. Since you bring it up, do you wish to expound on this?

Originally Posted by southernfox View Post
ETA: Two other things: I never ever told someone to ride 118" just because I do. I ride really big gears for women (usually way bigger than my competitors in a given race). But that's because of my physiology, not because I think they should be on the same gears I am. I have NEVER said that, and that you suggest that I have is getting out of line.
"Out of line"?

Exactly what line did I cross?
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Old 08-14-18, 08:32 AM
  #140  
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Basically, @sothernfox, you don't like it when I (in particular) state my objection to something you write.

You write a lot and I have only objected to maybe 10% and I state why during the objection. Instead of refuting my claim, you simply change the subject to me being "upset" with you
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Old 08-14-18, 08:46 AM
  #141  
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Just let it go, man. Other people are pointing it out.
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Old 08-14-18, 09:03 AM
  #142  
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Carleton is right.

I'm trying to be kind here. You seem to be so insistent on explaining how you are correct on a discipline that you basically have NO experience in: the Keirin.

1) How many beginner/intermediate level Keirins have you seen or done in your ~1 year of experience? Trust me, a 52x15 is a fine starting point for a Cat 3. It's not "spinning like crazy"

2) No one is claiming that you should "spin" like crazy when sprinting. It's not like it's some state secret that the current crop of sprinters is using big gears and strength training to achieve some impressive times. But you can't just throw a 50 year old Masters rider on a big plate and expect them to go fast because "big gears are where it's at".

3) Maybe your "team" needs to do a little more studying if they really told you that the 125-130 rpm range is where it's at. It's a bell curve and it's a lot wider. And then when you start throwing in different crank lengths you can easily add or subtract 5rpm on the top and bottom due to pedal velocity correction. 125-130 might be right for you -- it'll show up in a power - pv curve analysis. But even that can vary according to track conditions.
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Old 08-14-18, 09:03 AM
  #143  
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Originally Posted by southernfox View Post
Just let it go, man. Other people are pointing it out.
"other people" is plural.

"another person" is more accurate.

Let's stay on topic. Do you have comments about what I've said or how I've said it? The former people want to hear. The latter, not so much.
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Old 08-14-18, 10:10 AM
  #144  
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it's just like slowtwitch home in this thread
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Old 08-14-18, 10:58 AM
  #145  
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Originally Posted by Morelock View Post
it's just like slowtwitch home in this thread
trolled by h2ofun...
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Old 08-14-18, 12:40 PM
  #146  
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Dude, this is NOT the thread for that. Someone should do some moderating.
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Old 08-14-18, 02:00 PM
  #147  
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Originally Posted by southernfox View Post
Dude, this is NOT the thread for that. Someone should do some moderating.
If you click the red circle under a post, this will compose a note to the site admins, if you feel like something is inappropriate in a thread. They will evaluate your request and possibly remove the post(s) and even possibly lock or remove the thread, as well as privately admonish the user(s) involved. BF has a points system (like a state driver's licenses). Each infraction is penalized by a certain amount of points. When the points hit a certain levels, the user is warned, temporarily banned (cool down), or permanently banned.
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Old 08-17-18, 06:14 PM
  #148  
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Cripes! This thread turned dark quick! This whole gear thing is almost like religious dogma for some track racers, leading to gnashing of teeth, ad hominems, etc. I am wondering if there any hard, scientific data to support any of the anecdotal claims and advise? Seems that in the absence of such hard data (if it doesn't exist), Carlton's general stance seems the most rational by default, namely, use what works for you. If one has enough ride data to show that when they use big gears they do better than with smaller gear (meaning, they win more races or place better, etc), then use it...and visa versa. But, as we all know in the world of data analytics, one instance of data does not imply a general claim. That I believe is referred to as an inductive fallacy or hasty generalization in the world of logic. :-)
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Old 08-17-18, 07:51 PM
  #149  
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Originally Posted by krispenhartung View Post
Cripes! This thread turned dark quick! This whole gear thing is almost like religious dogma for some track racers, leading to gnashing of teeth, ad hominems, etc. I am wondering if there any hard, scientific data to support any of the anecdotal claims and advise? Seems that in the absence of such hard data (if it doesn't exist), Carlton's general stance seems the most rational by default, namely, use what works for you. If one has enough ride data to show that when they use big gears they do better than with smaller gear (meaning, they win more races or place better, etc), then use it...and visa versa. But, as we all know in the world of data analytics, one instance of data does not imply a general claim. That I believe is referred to as an inductive fallacy or hasty generalization in the world of logic. :-)
Hence the reference to Slowtwitch and the infamous h20fun aka Dave Campbell

There's a range of gearing that works for each individual for any particular event, to be modified by the conditions and the strategy employed. Changing gears several times over the course of an evening is pretty common. Here's one bit of advice: make sure you have steel chainring bolts, and have some spares. Glue the female end into the crankset -- it'll save you time and also might keep you from losing your bolts. Having a 5mm T-allen wrench that you can get enough torque yet still spin is also nice to have.
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Old 08-18-18, 12:19 AM
  #150  
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Originally Posted by tobukog View Post
Hence the reference to Slowtwitch and the infamous h20fun aka Dave Campbell

There's a range of gearing that works for each individual for any particular event, to be modified by the conditions and the strategy employed. Changing gears several times over the course of an evening is pretty common. Here's one bit of advice: make sure you have steel chainring bolts, and have some spares. Glue the female end into the crankset -- it'll save you time and also might keep you from losing your bolts. Having a 5mm T-allen wrench that you can get enough torque yet still spin is also nice to have.
Knurled ones are even better.
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