This video will show you what a Madison exchange is if you are unfamiliar with this race. Now imagine it with several more riders on track.
I wrote, here, a couple months back about the Madison and how it’s a race I want to be able to do, but I wasn’t sure I am able to execute the exchanges. About 6 weeks ago (yes, this is late) I was on the Sunday group ride with Karl, who’s blog you can read here, and he asked if I was interested in practicing some exchanges to see if it was possible. I said yes and I was both nervous and excited.
We started off in the infield with Karl throwing me, and after a few successful, but slow, exchanges we came in for a chat and some suggestions. We were moving pretty quickly after a while with a fairly traditional exchange technique so it was time for me to throw Karl in; this proved to be more difficult so we had to improvise. I wasn’t getting a lot of power out of my throw so we figured out a way for me to keep both hands on the bars while Karl grabs my arm and slings off of it. It didn’t take long before we were going too fast for the infield track so we moved onto the track. We skipped the apron and went straight to the banking for several laps of practice. Another trip to the infield and a chat about some changes saw us going even faster on the next set of laps on the track. Mark Tyson had the motor at the track so we practiced our exchanges with the added speed of the motor for our last effort. It felt like we were going pretty fast, and it felt awesome to nail an exchange at a speed much faster than I ever imagined I’d be doing on my first day of Madison throws.
The verdict is that I can and will be racing Madison next year, I’m stoked! Everyone keeps telling me that it is one of the hardest and most fun ways to race a bicycle. I already love Point Races, and it seems like a natural compliment, so I’m sure I’ll like it.
I owe a big thanks to Karl for taking the chance and helping me out.