By Coach Greg Romero
The riders line choice is critical in making passes, defending passes and maintaining track speed. For time trialling or leading races, line choice has a huge influence on the total distance and time it takes to get to the finish line.
Every race scenario is different and every track has different berms, so it’s hard to say what the best line is. Further, what determines a riders line choice will be their ability to navigate the line choice. In part one of two segments, we will discuss the important components to think about when choosing lines on the track.
There are three important components to think about when it comes to picking the best line for any race situation-and in order of priority, you have: Traction, Radius and Track speed
#1 Priority is Traction: No matter what, in any race situation, traction is the number one priority because if you slide out, your race is done. Whether it’s dirt or asphalt, riders have to get a feel of riding the edge of breaking traction. Riders need to understand and feel their tires adhesion capabilities, get to know the limits of the surface and how far they can push their tires on any berm before they break traction.
#2 Priority is the understanding of radius around the turn. Or otherwise known as distance around the berm. The goal of any successful rider should be to want the tightest radius that their skill ability and tire traction can handle. Go wide and your potentially going to give up several or more bike lengths in distance to another rider who took a tighter radius line. It’s always best to protect the inside enough to where you can change directions and occupy space of another rider attempting to make a pass on you. If you have several bike lengths then a mid to lower rail line is best for traction, radius and track speed. It all depends on the situation.
#3 Priority is track speed. Riders should take a line where they come out with speed, not lose speed. Sometimes riders might find themselves coming out too low and not benefit from the middle of the bank to generate speed. Additionally, riders might find themselves going to wide upon entrance in an effort to have a lot of speed coming out, while this is great for top speed coming into the next section, riders will give up lots of ground due to longer radius, as well as potentially allow for other riders to come underneath for a pass attempt.
When it comes to line choice, you have to factor in these three components and find a happy medium where the rider can balance again: traction, radius, & track speed.
Coach Greg Romero is a Former Professional International Racer of 15 years-Winning over 100 pro races, and the only American BMX Coach to bring home Olympic Medals for the U.S.