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Roadies on the Track from Jason Bryn

Monday, September 6, 2004

This journal entry is written by one of Matt and Eric's teammates, Jason Bryn. Jason and Glenn, Jason's tandem captain, are "roadies" and they give you a description of "roadies" verses "track riders/sprinters".  Eric and Matt are considered "sprinters" because they ride on the velodrome also called as the track.  

Glenn and I call ourselves "roadies" since we do most of our racing on the road.  Our specialties are the road events (road race and road time trial).  However, we will be doing the 4 km pursuit on the track on my new Co-Motion track bike.  We are excited to finally have a track bike that fits us!  Ya hoo!  For those non-cyclist readers, a track bike has no brakes and is a single speed bike as compared to a road bike with 18-20 gears!  You change gears depending on your training and race event. 

We are treating the 4 km purusit as a warm-up to the road events.  Opening Ceremonies is on Sept 17 and our 4 km time trial is on Sept 18.  Then we will not race again until Sept 25 (road race) and Sept 27 (time trial).  The favorites in the 4 km pursuit treat this event as their specialty.  Despite not having our track bike built and on it until yesterday...we believe a top 10 finish in the 4 km pursuit is realistic.  We'll see.  If so, that will be a nice accomplishment for us.  

Track riders are sprinters and not like us long distance/endurance racers.  They go fast, very fast for 30 seconds - 1 minute.  It's just like 100 meter sprinters in track compared to the long distance runners.  We are the long distance runners of cycling.  We go fast for hours and fly up hills, and leave sprinters far behind.  In the same way, we cannot stay with the sprinters for a couple laps around the track.  They spin at 160 RPM together on the tandem where we start to bounce at 128-132 RPM.  Big difference. 

Just like track and field, we are built like endurance athletes (leaner with more stamina), as compared to the more muscular and bulkier (comparatively speaking) sprinters who can just absolutely light it up for short distances.  The sprinter cyclists have thighs the size of my waist!  Built more like speed skaters and linebackers in football. 

So, there is often friendly rivarlries and fun loving jeering between sprinters and roadies on our team.  For example, Matt King (blind stoker) and Eric Degolier (sighted pilot) are track sprinters.  Check out their website at  They train on the track instead of the road.  They will be doing the 1 km sprint and match sprints (head to head with other spinters on the track - that is a blast to watch where tandems jockey for position on the track, box one another and then accelerate from 5 mph to 40 mph in a few seconds for a lap around the track.  Unbelievable!).  Matt was a former world record holder in the 1 km sprint.  This will be his third Paralympics!

Glenn and I will not be doing those events because we are not competitive against world class competition in those events as roadies.  And those races are such where they are individual events and not team events, so there is no opportunity where we can help Matt and Eric.  We will be doing the three other events (4 km track pursuit, road race, road time trial).  Matt and Eric have so graciously agreed to do the road race to help us (cover attacks, etc) since that is more of a team event where other strong teams have 2 and 3 tandems.  We welcome their support!  We will need it against what we are going up against.

Glenn loves to tease the sprinters on our team about sitting around at the track.  See, training on the track is different than on the road.  On the road for us "roadies" we do long miles for hours at a time with little or no rest.  On the track it is different...very different.  Sprinters warm up by doing 20 minutes, then 5 laps in a light gear (warm up gear).  Speed is increased during the warm up.  The last five laps go faster and faster with the last lap getting close to an all out sprint.  

Then the sprinters go into the infield pits, get off their bikes and change gears for the workout designed for that day.  They then wait for their teammates to do their effort while sitting in the infield.  So a track sprinter's life on the track is effort, sit, effort, sit for many hours. 

Glenn (true "roadie" - skill set and at heart) loves to say that the track sprinters just "sit around and talk about it".  It is hard for us to do we usually just ride around the track between efforts...trying to get and stay out of the way. 

But, Glenn is right...a big difference between the training life of a sprinter and roadie. 

That's it for to get law work done. 

- Jason


Team King
Telephone: 719.339.1557

updated 09/17/2004
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US Paralympics

US Paralympics