Specific Suggestions for Track Cyclists.
Track racing requires a lot of different skills from very short high powered accelerations or sprints to sustained power for long periods in pursuit/time trials to long endurance in the Madison and six day races. Because track bikes are "fixed gear" bikes, track riders tend to ride at much higher cadences that road riders because of the need to balance both top speed and acceleration in one gear. PowerCranks can help the user develop all of these skills. Used by some of the best track cyclists in the world including Olympic medalists Miribella, Llaneras, and Roulston.
Here are some of the suggestions we offer to track racers to help them adapt "easily" and to achieve early success.
1. Ride in a more open position
Track riders assume some of the most aggressive, aerodynamic positions of all cyclists, but at first, most users will find it very difficult to consistently raise the legs over top dead center of the pedaling arc, especially while in the fully crouched position. If you are having trouble adapting you may benefit from opening the hip angle. The problem, at first, is most users will find it very difficult to consistently raise the legs over top dead center of the pedaling arc, especially while in an agressive position. This is made easier by opening the hip angle. While everyone is different, most will need to start out riding with a much more open hip angle (i.e., to be in an almost upright , "touring", position). Don't worry, after a few days you will be ready to try to assume a more aggressive, race oriented position, and after several weeks or months you should be able to return close to your present position, if you so choose. You may find it useful to raise your handlebars and slowly lower them as you adapt. An aggressive position will not increase your speed if it robs you of power you could be receiving from increased pedaling efficiency. Your best position will probably change as you develop your ability more fully.
2. Work on endurance first
Depending on the event track cycling involves much more acceleration and top speed than 2 - 4 hour endurance. However, we recommend that track cyclists must first work on the endurance before worrying about acceleration. Therefore, the more time you spend riding with your PowerCranks the faster you will improve. This means, to see maximum benefits, one should do all bicycle riding on PowerCranks until one has enough endurance to ride reasonable distances, pedaling constantly and not having to think about the pedaling motion.
3. Work on being able to pedal out of the saddle early.
Make sure you learn how to pedal out of the saddle. Since maximum sustained acceleration is a most important part of your sport one should learn this skill as soon as possible even though pedalling out of the saddle is only a small part of your competition. The dramatic engagement of new muscles out of the saddle (something Powercrank users report) can substantially improve those moments on the track where a rider needs to accelerate from a standstill to their top speed in a huge gear.
Most new users report the cranks no longer feel strange to them in about 2 to 3 weeks. However, do not expect any substantial overall power improvement for about 6 weeks. This has to do with the time it takes to see training effect in the new muscles you will be using. While some efficiency improvements will be seen at lower power outputs on short rides very early, the user must expect this process to take some time. Of course, improvement will continue to occur for many years. (How long have you been working on your quads?)
4. Work on Cadence next
Speed on the track requires riding at high cadences. Being able to ride at high cadence is not so much a "power thing" as it is a "coordination thing". PowerCranks will help you better develop this skill. One experienced track rider reported he was able to take his maximum RPM on the bike from 180 to 240 after 6 years training with PowerCranks. These improvements can take time but they will occur, but only if you keep working at it. So, once you have developed good endurance and good unconscious pedaling coordination, it is now time to work on increasing your top cadence and developing high cadence endurance. With time you will develop the ability to choose larger gears for races than you do now, with only a small affect on your ability to accelerate but greatly improving your top end speed. Some track riders have worked on cadence first with good success. This can be made a little easier, if one has the adjustable length cranks, starting with very short cranks and increasing the length as the abilities improve.