26 November 2011

At the Kawasaki Keirin Track

With the brakes and bullhorns off, and 48x14 gearing,
my commuting fixie is a real track bike!
MOB did it at end of 2008, others have since, and now it was my turn to join Hiroshi and his Keihin Pista club for one of their sessions on the Kawasaki keirin track -- to ride the "bank".  Gunnar and Tim S. also joined for this event.  Tim mentioned that he lived in Portland at one point, and offered to provide info and intros to the cycling (and cycle racing) scene before my visit in February.

It was a great way to spend Saturday afternoon, and I look forward to another visit soon.  It took awhile to get used to riding high on the steep banked curve, but it was much easier to get to the top of the bank than I had thought it would be, since on the keirin track the approach is very gradual from the flat to the top of the bank.

There were actually people in the stands as we rode ... all of whom were just there to bet on and watch via big screen some keirin races being held elsewhere (Shizuoka, today) and maybe have some shochu.  It was great to go into the velodrome the back way, pass the large room where some of the riders were hanging out, schmoozing, training and tinkering with gear, and to emerge in the infield with music playing and an audience.

Next time I will need to remember to count the number of one lap "pulls" that I do when
we ride in a line.  Lots and lots of laps, just not sure how many.
Gunnar's track bike -- Chrome frame, chrome wheels, chrome stem and bars and post!
Hiroshi, Gunnar and Tim are #2, 3 and 4 in the line.  Tim was riding the bike Eric borrowed for Saiko --
the GS Astuto carbon frame with Ultegra DI2 electronic shifters and GS Astuto 50mm carbon tubulars.
And there they go!
Practicing my track stand (?), smiling after a try at the Flying 200m
Time flew by, it got colder, dusk neared, and it was time to go, as the facility began to shut down.

Industrial strength rollers for riders to warm up before the race.
More rollers, Hiroshi with his Nagasawa track bike,
and the entrance to the area where the keirin riders were hanging out.


Manfred von Holstein said...

Fun, isn't it, especially going up high on the bank, and also maintaining a high speed for many laps thanks to the good track conditions.

Did our brakeless friends come by car?

Jimmy Shinagawa said...

David.. if you are able to drop me a line next time you go I would love to try and escape the clutches of weekend family obligation and join you :)