My relatively late-in-life discovery of track cycling last year ignited a passion for lots of reasons: It’s fast, thrilling, dynamic, strategic, rain-free, and it has no hills.
Track racing and training also gave me an added benefit: It got me into much better shape overall than all my miles of “regular” riding had.
After a summer of track racing, I started getting PRs on road climbs — even though I’d barely gone near a hill for months.
I knew about the benefits of high-intensity interval training, and of course had done many an interval workout in my high school and college days on the running track. But until I discovered track cycling, I hadn’t bothered with those kinds of workouts on the bike. It seemed more fun simply to ride (and to work on hills).
Among came track: a magical sort of enforced high-intensity workout — you bust your guts, but you have a great time doing it and you make fabulous friends.
This New York Times story about a Canadian study describes how it’s possible to get a fantastic workout crammed into a relatively short period of time. That’s great for the time-starved among us, and I loved seeing some of the science.
Now: Go try some track! The Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome in Redmond has terrific adult track classes along with bikes you can use. That’s how I got my start last year. I started the class terrified by the no-brakes thing and the track banking (I was sure I’d slide down!) and a few fun hours later, I was hooked. I bought a track bike two days later (though if I’d wanted, I could have just kept using velodrome bikes).
(Photo Credit: Peter Mayer). (Whine: Why can’t I add a normal photo credit in WordPress.com?)