With the third session of certification came a huge wave of information. While the old adage "Ride Fast, Turn Left" still applies it wasn't until I had a few laps under my belt that I really realized how big and strategic the world of track cycling could really be. In this last session there happened to be only three riders(including myself) in the class which allowed for more specific instruction and what I gathered to be more advanced concepts.
After forty laps of a rotating paceline for warm-up we started to work on seated and standing jumps from the top railing which is called "the balustrade". Jumps on the velodrome are when the rider accelerates on the track using the slope of the banked turns and straights to gain maximum speed. It's a great skill to have because it can be modified for use in mass start events and is usually used to its full extent during the Flying 200m. Something that I had not realized is that when you drop down from the balustrade you should be using the whole track to your advantage. Instead of dropping to the bottom of the track as quickly as possible you should reach the bottom of the track at the last possible moment to maximize the effect of the "downhill" while gaining speed.
Another cool skill we worked on was a team pursuit start. While this start is usually done via a standing start in blocks we opted to creep up to the start line and start on a countdown. Performing this kind of start and then seeing it performed by professionals makes it all that much easier to appreciate how difficult it can be. A great example of how easy it can look is in the video of Team Great Britain Setting a New Team Pursuit Record. Like holy crap. It shows the Australian national team getting into perfect alignment before the top of the turn. Our goal was just to get lined up before the end of the turn which wasn't too much of a challenge but it didn't look half as fluid.
Lastly, we practiced standing starts. Pro tip for starts on the track: Start with the left leg in front because when you press down on the pedals the bike will naturally drive itself up the track to the right. If you start with the right foot forward the bike will want to move down the track and it is harder to control. It was fairly difficult for me to give a near all out effort due to a crash earlier in the week however I still feel like my form was good considering it was my first experience with this discipline. I definitely hope that there aren't too many people showing up this next saturday but I also hope that more people decide to show up for the certification class!