• Ride the Track?

    by  • April 16, 2008 • norcal scene • 9 Comments

    HELLYER VELODROME … it rocks

    blurrd_sabine.jpgThe action at the Hellyer is heating up for this year. Though still early in the season, we’ve got a lot of people coming out and experimenting with the fun. Hellyer has a TON of events planned this year … and, if you are a roadie who wants to learn to be fast and able to make critical race decisions in a flash … the TRACK IS PERFECTO.

    Riding the Hellyer velodrome is … so civilized. The banks aren’t extreme, the surface is fine, and the folks out there are … just plain safe and good-natured. Now, don’t get me wrong ~ there is more than enough suffering at the table to satisfy any of the extra-strength pain junkies out there. But it’s not like road racing where the tarmac never ends and the demons call you down into the dark every pedalstroke.

    No, instead ~ it’s more of bite sized servings of hurt and glory … brief and fluttering and gone in moments as you glide down to the apron and cruise around without effort on the infield circle, chatting and spinning tales with friends and conspirators.

    and … there are no hills. 😉

    If you’re interested in trying out the track ~ there are a number of resources you can read-up to prep you on the rules and etiquette of the velodrome.

    percival_n_matthias.jpgATRA Intro to Track Racing

    ATRA Rules

    At the heart of solid, safe and fun track riding is being relaxed and aware. Track racing develops a rider’s vision on the bike, handling skills, pedaling technique, and explosive power. And it’s so damn fun.

    – – –

    How to get involved ~

    1. Hellyer does require new riders to get the basic tutorial on track etiquette and safety. However, if you’re an experienced road rider, you’ll adapt very quickly and be comfortable in no time. The key is to open yourself up to learn a few new things and incorporate them into your riding.If you’re new to the bike, then you should DEFINITELY be at the track. The lessons learned at the track will make you a safer, stronger, and sexier bike rider. Trust me. And we don’t care what you wear.Hellyer offers introductory classes every Saturday morning. I’m going to try and open up Monday evening Beginner Sessions, as well. Please stay tuned for more details on that ~ but it won’t happen for a few weeks, i reckon.

      Beginner sessions are a low-key workout for any roadies looking to get in a nice recovery spin after a weekend of training or racing.

    2. goodtimes.jpgTuesday and Wednesday Night Training Races ~ yup, these are the meat of our Hellyer racing calendar. Larry Nolan (Tuesdays) and Rick Adams (Wednesdays) are the BEST at putting on fun, relaxed evenings of pedaling in circles.I especially recommend Tuesday Nights to newer track riders as they are standard Scratch or Points races (crits, basically) with a lot of riders doing them purely for training and enjoyment. That, and Nolan is so damn cute.The Wednesday Night events are a tad more advanced in that Rick tosses in different types of racing and these nights are often used by more experienced racers as tune-ups for the big events we have planned throughout the year (American Velodrome Challenge, Master’s Nationals, Elite/Masters Districts, Natz Qualifiers, etc).
    3. Friday Night Racing ~ well, these are just parties!fridaylovins.jpgIf you’re really interested in seeing what full-flight track racing is all about … come check out the Friday Night Series at Hellyer. I’ll be doing the announcing for these events and tossing all kinds of pictures and words up on this site as well as submitting them to VeloNews, CyclingNews, and a few other bike-trafficked sites on the interwebs.

      So, if you want your name hollered and echoing around south San Jose … come on down and try the Friday Night’s. We might make you famous … and will definitely make you laugh.

    – – –

    Is it Kid Friendly?

    track_is_goodforbones.jpgYes, very. We’ve got yards and yards of fresh new grass for people to roll around on. Personally, I’m one for opening up the infield to all visitors, participants, and families. It’s a great place to hang out and watch the racing. I mean, i love the better views of the track you can get up in the bleachers … but, sometimes it’s nice to plop down on some fresh grass and goof off with bikes spinning around.

    There is an etiquette to entering and exiting the velodrome, though. The rules of cool center around making sure you don’t walk in front of a bike rider on the track. Pretty simple and straightforward … just entails folks keeping their wits about them and not thinking all tunnel-vision solo-like.

    – – –

    Is it Spectator Friendly?

    tracklovelies.jpgAbsolutely … and we’re getting better all the time. Race announcing, music to boogie to, and food/beverages at the Friday Nights are calling for you to come and have a good time.

    The velodrome has bathroom access, good parking (must pay the daily County Park fee of $6, or buy a year-pass … good cause, yo!), bleachers, and that lovely new grass infield and patio to play around on. Good times.

    – – –

    Can Anyone Race the Track?

    Yes. You. Need more information? Check the website ridethetrack.com. Or, if you have specific questions or want some recommendations, feel free to email me at pedalhome (at the) hotmail.com.





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    9 Responses to Ride the Track?

    1. chatterbox
      April 16, 2008 at

      I’ll 2nd Hernando’s plug for the track. I’ve been partaking in the Tuesday night sessions. While they are somewhat painful for me as a bike racing newbie, they are super-fun and a good workout. And, it’s a great chance to practice tactics and risk-taking when it doesn’t really matter. Also, Nolan is a great mentor with lots of experience.

      I can’t wait for the Friday Ladies Night. Should be fun times!

    2. Niki
      April 16, 2008 at

      Ditto! I am addicted…. i am going to be trackula for halloween!

    3. L.V.
      April 16, 2008 at

      coolio. i am wayyyy out of cardio shape right now, should i build up cardio before track or track will build my cardio for road? i’m clueless.

    4. Michael Hernandez
      April 16, 2008 at

      noooo worries about being out of shape for track. the efforts are all short (even if a bit intense), so there’s tons of time to recover as you wait between events (racing) or instruction (training/beginner sessions).

      but make no bones about it – you can get a killer workout in at the track if you want. but, you can also sit and spin and not tax yourself too much.

      but during races … i usually trash myself pretty good.

      i’d say with track riding you’ll definitely get back into cardio shape, but it won’t be the same as going out and doing some long rides.

      either way, come out and play with us.

    5. Anonymous
      April 16, 2008 at

      Wednesday and Friday night racing is like doing the last lap of a criterium four different times in about 2 hours. If you screw it up, 20 minutes later you’ll get another chance to get it right. And racing under the lights at night…? It’s a whole new kind of fun!

    6. Anonymous
      April 17, 2008 at

      Dog friendly? 🙂

    7. Michael Hernandez
      April 17, 2008 at

      hmmm … that’s per County Park rules. let’s see what the website says … ah, here it is:

      “Hellyer County Park

      The Hellyer off-leash facility is located off of Hwy. 101 at the Hellyer Avenue exit on the north side of Hellyer County Park. The facility is one large area where small and large dogs share roaming space. Call (408) 225-0225 for more information.

      Use of any of our off-leash facilities is free; however, a vehicle entrance fee is collected upon entrance to the parks. In addition, the facilities are closed one day a week for routine turf and grounds maintenance. Call the park office for current facility maintenance schedules.”

    8. kwc
      April 17, 2008 at

      You can’t take your dog to the infield, but your dog can watch from the stands. (speaking from personal experience).

    9. Donna Woods
      May 19, 2008 at

      I’ve been racing track on and off since the mid 90s, and all I can say is, Michael,Sabine,Larry,Marc,Jen and their son Dash have pumped new life into Hellyer Park.Their passion and motivation to help everyone of all levels and ages has created an environment of great juju.I thank you with all my heart….and lungs and quads and hammies.

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