Friday, 23 May 2014

Bicycle Racing Lap Length

A race with shorter loops and more laps or a race with longer loops and fewer laps. Which is “better”? Which do you prefer?
Races with shorter loops and more laps are easier to plan. It is much easier to find loops that have a distance of 10-15 km. With a loop of that distance the race would have to have more laps to make it a decent length. Shorter loops tend to make the race more monotonous because the same course is being repeated over and over again. Shorter loops can also make for better race strategy. After a couple of laps it is easy to pick out places to launch an attack, where to give more effort and where to conserve energy.
On the other side of the coin are longer loops with less fewer laps. Longer loops cut down on the monotony because the course is not being repeated over and over again. But longer loops of 25-30 km per loop are harder to find. Larger loops would also require more strategy. Only riding a couple of laps lessens the time on the course. This lessens the time to learn the circuit and plan attacks.
Racing, say, a 70 km race in 2 laps makes it easier to fool the mind. Complete 1 lap and you are on your last lap. Racing the same distance 70k, but this time in 10 laps, tediousness tends to creep in as you go around the circle numerous times.

So which do you prefer, longer or shorter loops? Myself, I can safely say that I prefer the longer distance loops with fewer laps.

(c) Phil Renaud 2014