The Argyll Velodrome “ten miler” has been a staple of the track training/racing schedule velodrome since its construction. From the scratch race which shares its name, the “gentlemans” ten miler has evolved… Here are ten things you should know; some of them specific to this event, some good track etiquette.

1. This is training and not a race.

While somebody does have to cross the finish line first in order to stop the clock the primary objective is to finish as a group and at a high pace. The goal in a race is to save yourself and tire your opponents, since this is training those objectives are reversed.

2. Smooth is fast.

Rapid accelerations (attacks) and decelerations (usually staying on the front too long) cause the group to ‘slinky’ (stretch and compress). If you are unsure of how to judge your pace, consider getting a (wireless) computer for your bike. They are cheap, easy to install and can be a handy feedback tool for training.

3. Protect your front wheel.

Your front wheel is the single most important element to keeping you upright. Don’t stick your front wheel where it doesn’t belong: This includes under riders in the sprint lane and overlapping another rider’s rear wheel.

4. Being at the front is hard.

When at the front it shouldn’t be pleasant or sustainable (See #1). If you are feeling strong you can slowly raise the speed and stay on the front a little longer. If not you can stay on for as little as 5 meters. It is better to have short pulls and stay in/keep the speed up; then a longer one and get blown off/slow down.

5. Until you are at the stayers’ line you are “on the front”.

The correct order of events: 0) maintain (or increase) speed; 1) Signal your intention to pull off (head nod or elbow wiggle); 2) quick shoulder check; 3) pull up track (sharp); 4) reduce effort on pedals; 5) dive down the track at the last rider and re-enter the line.

The most common mistake made by a rider at the front is inadvertently slowing down at the end of his/her pull by shoulder checking too soon, too often or too long. Most experienced riders can ride full gas while shoulder checking, but very few newer riders can maintain their line or their speed while shoulder checking. It is an important skill that must be learned.

6. Keep your head up.

Learn to gauge your position off the back of the person in front of you.... Remember your bike doesn't have brakes. Watch up the line at least 4 riders, this will help you see what is happening and stay smooth (see #2).  

7. It takes all kinds.

Pay attention to how the riders before you and after you are pulling, are they strong? Increasing/decreasing speed? Is the line stretching out/ stacking up (see #5)? This may change how you pull to make sure you keep it smooth (see #2).  

8. The track is self cleaning.

In the event that something goes wrong, almost all crashes head to the infield so you shouldn't go there. Heading up track will slow you down and give time to react.  

9. Start fast, finish faster.

Better to start a little slower and finish fast. This helps keep the group together and generally leads to a smoother event which is faster (see #2).  

10. Have fun!

If you have any questions feel free to ask around, most track folks are happy to help and share knowledge. :)  

- J.Bakal