Saturday, July 11, 2009

Track racing with road bikes

You know how one of Bike Snob's central themes is how ridiculous it is to ride brakeless track bikes on the streets of NYC?

Well at the tail end of a ride with my brother yesterday, we tried to use our road bikes on a track.

If that isn't ironic enough for you, we didn't even use our road bikes on a true cycling track. No, we raced my $4,000 Seven and his $800 Trek around a high school track 'n field track for one mile.

Turn about is fair play after all.

Track riding on a road bike is a remarkably smooth if a bit odd experience. The track at this high school was somewhat spongey and coarse, which meant I had excellent grip as we hammered our bikes through the corners, though there was probably increased rolling resistance which slowed us down.

When I ride with my brother, we often do odd things like this. We'll go hammer out a good climb, some fast flat riding, and then cool down on the way back, but he'll often want to stop and eat, visit his work (he's a waiter) or talk to some friend and show off. Riding on the track was just the latest in these after-ride diversions.

The Soul Cyclist isn't above such trivialities. Afterall, he's caught in between the world of newbie/Fred cyclist and almost-there-but-not-quite club rider. I still wear SPD MTB shoes for road riding for the simple reason that I like to walk around a bit during breaks from riding.

My poor brother, however, still has to wear his Reeboks because we can't find any size 16 road or MTB shoes that don't cost 1/4th the price of his bike!

By the way, he beat me around the track. I may dominate him up the hills, but our brief sub-3 minute 1 mile sprint around the track revealed I can't sprint to save my life.

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