Flying Lap

This is what was probably my favorite event of the evening.

A real simple format.  The two-person team is given three laps.  The first two laps are used to accelerate and the last lap is timed.  Fastest time wins.

Very simple.

Except in execution.

The lead rider functions the same as any leadout rider in a road race.  Accelerate as smoothly as possible, block the wind and get the sprinter to the start of the sprint as fresh as possible.  Then hope the sprinter gets to the line faster than anyone else.

Except with this format, sometime before or during the final lap, the lead guy is to also turn his upper body around, reach out, grab the sprinter’s arm, then slingshot him forward for more momentum.

When it works right, it’s an amazing sight to see.

When it doesn’t?  Not so good, but luckily no crashes.

Flying Lap

The velodrome was 333 meters (.20 miles) long.  The fastest times for the lap were just over 19 seconds.  That’s a 64kph (40 mph) average.

Although the fastest guys were accelerating all the way through the finish.

6 thoughts on “Flying Lap”

      1. Thank you Bill. I would have chosen a slower speed to get just the effect you did… but I guess I’m not used to cyclists going to fast. This is a classic effect.

      2. Shimon – I agree. When I’m photographic cyclists in a city center, I’ll typically go 1/20th. But these guys were so fast that they just ended up as blurs, since they had both forward momentum and a lot of upper body movement as they were really winding up the speed. So 1/60th was a good tradeoff in this case.

  1. You learn how to move with the cycle. I usually don’t use flash in those pics… except if there’s a real light problem… and then when you move with the cyclist, he comes out okay, and the background is really blurred.

    1. Shimon – Agreed. It’s one of my favorite subjects when we’re in city centers.

      In this case, there was a real light problem. It was 9pm, the sun was setting in the background (we were facing west), but the horizon as blocked by tall trees and the track was in shadow. The track lights had come on, but they were pretty dim at this point. So I would have ended up with a blurry blob in the center of the screen had I not used the flash to freeze some of the action.

      It was a fun problem to work out, especially with the speeds that they were achieving.

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