The Madison

When I first became intersted in track racing, I always wanted to be a sprinter.  I was fat.  Sprinters were fat.  It seemed fitting.  No hills, go super fast, get it over with.  Girls love it, you can ride crazy and get away with it… yeah, sprinters are cool.  I don’t like sprinters much any more.  I mean, they are fine people and all but the impression of sprinter romanticism is all but gone.  I love watching sprinting at the world cup or even sometimes national level, but I’ve seen enough 12.8 sprinters give it a go for at least the rest of my life.  Some how, in all of that, I found a new love.  Points racing and more so – the Madison.  There is something incredibly tactical, something exciting about racing a points race or a madison on the velodrome.  The points aspect adds a certain “fourth dimension” to the equation.  You may be in the lead, but you are last… you may be last, but win the bike race… there is a lot more to it than all of that, but … it’s just fascinating to me.  To see a world cup or world championship madison is better than watching the super bowl.  It’s incredible!

Some of you may not know exactly what a madison is.  It’s a 2 person team race, in which on a regular basis, each person takes a “relief” lap.  While you are on relief, your partner is racing.  You use either a hand sling, a butt push or even a ‘love tap’ to get the other person into the race.  For the most part, it’s a hand sling.  Follow me on this…. I’m riding along on the track at 25+ mph.  My partner comes down the track to about where I am.  They put their hand on their hip.  As I go by, I grab their hand and we do a little diddy called a hand sling.  My arm goes back, his arm goes forward.  We get a bit extended and I do EVERYTHING in my power to launch my partner up to my speed or better.  Keep in mind, there are at least a few… up to 18 other teams out there going at it!  It’s chaos – but when you are in the thick of it – you can sort things out better than you can from the side.  While this video isn’t very good, it will give you the idea:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg-XgFlg78g

SO… why am I rambling on about all of this?  Well, last Wednesday night – I rode a madison.  It was the “Featured Event” at the velodrome that night.  That … and $2.07 will get you a large coffee at Starbucks … but anyway, I paired up with my friend Pete Antonvich.  Early in the race, one of the fastest teams had an issue and I killed myself to put a gap on them.  Pete handled the sprint and we got second place.  I exploded and took a while to recover – but got back in the game for the final sprint.  I poured my heart and soul into an attack with 3 to go.  Pete went in with 1 to go and won the final sprint giving me my first ever madison win.  It was truly and exciting moment in my life.  It’s not really that big of a deal, but I really tried hard… my form is coming on and that made me feel great!

Now – my database restore is done – and I must go ride my bike!

2 thoughts on “The Madison

  1. I’d love to. I’d also contend that our track adds certain challenges you don’t have … our turns are probably just as tight, less steep an certainly bumpier…

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