Monday, June 01, 2009

Racing - Back To The Future

I read about a track record falling recently and went to YouTube to see if I could find a clip of it. This then turned into finding match sprints, then team sprints (essentially a two man pursuit), then finally "real" team pursuits.

I found a real kicker - the 1996 Worlds, with the unstoppable Italians. They were on their uber-funny bikes, with small front wheels, some amoeba-like frame, and, the topper, these ginormous handlebar structures.

Holy handlebars!

What's 4x better than that? Four guys on bikes like that, in motion. Wow...

This was just before the UCI made that rule about everyone riding "regular" bikes - wheels the same size, aerobars limited to height and length, diamond frames, etc. Although it seems a bit overdone, you can just imagine how crazy some of the designs would be if they were unlimited in design requirements.

Although ultimately some interesting ideas could come out of it, what the UCI's rule does is allow designers to hone the current design of the bike.

But I don't feel like writing tonight. So, because it's just incredible, check out this save:

Okay, enough for today.


No One Line said...

Nice... I love that stuff! I really enjoy watching the fluid transitions during the team pursuit, seeing the lead rider peel off and fly up the banking and drop back down. I imagine that those looooong aerobars make it kind of tricky to control, and you can see a few moments where the rider falling back will not do it quite accurately.

I put aerobars on for the kilo at opening weekend at Kissena last month - with the bumps and the unfamiliarity, it felt like kind of a crapshoot. But it went okay.

Thanks for sharing that video!

Aki said...

I'm still in awe of those bars since they were legal for only a short period of time.

I don't mention the fact that this was at the height of the EPO days. It's a bit sad to see pictures of the extremely muscular and acne-pitted women in the same Worlds.

Re: swinging up and down, it's one of the things I'm trying to learn - a lot of mass start races end up a "team pursuit" of sorts as 3-4-5 guys try to stay away from the others, reducing the odds for the sprint/s. It's important to be able to pull off and get back on without having to ease, accelerate, or, worst of all, back-pressure a bit.

No One Line said...

Yeah, the aerodynamics from the whole period fascinate me. I love those helmets, too.

And Graeme Obree. You've heard of his comeback, right?

the swing - yeah. I've found that if I'm leading out when I don't want to be, and I go uptrack (a bit less assertively than swinging in team-pursuit style), people will follow me, but somebody will almost definitely attack from two or three wheels back, diving down the (shallow) banking and running up inside. Then the sprint starts in earnest.