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Track Cycling: Velodrome Racing and Training Area Looking to enter into the realm of track racing? Want to share your experiences and tactics for riding on a velodrome? The Track Cycling forums is for you! Come in and discuss training/racing, equipment, and current track cycling events.

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Old 08-11-15, 12:25 PM   #1
chas58
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New indoor Velodrome in the US

and the second indoor venue in the US wonít be for the Boston Olympics. The velodrome is slated to be in downtown Detroit. Detroitís bike culture has exploded in recent years with events like Slow Roll and Critical mass attracting thousands of riders.

So, it is time for an indoor velodrome, so we can race year round. In the tradition of Europe, it will be multi functional with infield seating and of course a liquor license. Additional amenities include a BMX park, and a walking track. Like the nearby IVBP, itís going to have a strong youth program (free usage for youth). All of this can help it be a real asset to the community and not just a place where people like us can race on weekends.

How cool would that be?
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Old 08-11-15, 06:52 PM   #2
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Detroit sounds like a good location. Towards the East coast so offers an indoor venue that side of the country. Does the city have a good regional airport and accommodation options?
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Old 08-11-15, 06:57 PM   #3
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Is this real or fantasy?
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Old 08-11-15, 09:03 PM   #4
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Its very real, although it isn't a 'done deal' all the way, its got a lot of momentum and will likely happen. Dale Hughes, who has been involved with lots of big velo projects, is leading this and last I talked to him he seemed pretty sure it was going to happen, likely starting a build this year. Small track, 150-200m, indoor, liquor license, 6 day party stuff.

There is already a well run 200m outdoor track near Dale on the outside of Detroit, this would be close to downtown. I think its a great idea (obviously) and hope it inspires other hipster northern cities with cheap land to do the same (buffalo, Milwaukee, cleveland, etc).
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Old 08-11-15, 09:49 PM   #5
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Small track, 150-200m
Noooo
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Old 08-12-15, 05:02 AM   #6
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What's wrong with a 200 track?
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Old 08-12-15, 06:35 AM   #7
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A couple of reasons.

It restricts you from holding events which require a 250m track. It isn't like the USA is overrun with indoor tracks so you can chose another venue.
Sub optimal as a training centre for Eastern State cyclists. Although there can be slight differences even in 250m tracks, since the World Championships must be held on 250 tracks it would be optimal for elite athletes to have a venue which rides similar to venues they will race on overseas.
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Old 08-12-15, 07:36 AM   #8
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A couple of reasons.

It restricts you from holding events which require a 250m track. It isn't like the USA is overrun with indoor tracks so you can chose another venue.
Sub optimal as a training centre for Eastern State cyclists. Although there can be slight differences even in 250m tracks, since the World Championships must be held on 250 tracks it would be optimal for elite athletes to have a venue which rides similar to venues they will race on overseas.
That all sounds nice and true but the flip side is that the cost to put a 250m track in a building is something like 2-3x the cost to put a 200m track in a building. Don't quote me on that number, but it's a surprising amount more [source: people looking into this locally]. Furthermore, hosting events that require a 250m track is an out-and-out money loser, and while a goal of hosting those events is nice, it's completely sensible and possible to build good velodrome projects that don't have int'l-class racing as their goal. After all, maybe the most successful velodrome in the USA is in Trexlertown, and it's a 333.

I'd happily race on a 200m in a heartbeat. It's big enough that it avoids the whimsical pitfalls of pocket velodromes. And small enough that tactical racing based on taking laps can become a possibility for more people.
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Old 08-12-15, 07:39 AM   #9
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A couple of reasons.

It restricts you from holding events which require a 250m track. It isn't like the USA is overrun with indoor tracks so you can chose another venue.
Sub optimal as a training centre for Eastern State cyclists. Although there can be slight differences even in 250m tracks, since the World Championships must be held on 250 tracks it would be optimal for elite athletes to have a venue which rides similar to venues they will race on overseas.
On the flip side, small tracks are a lot more fun
If you can ride a small track, you can ride anything. Going from 200 to 250m is easy, the other way around not so much.

Restrictions - it does not restrict as many events as you may think. Many of the qualifying events for the Olympics can be held on a small track.
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Old 08-12-15, 07:51 AM   #10
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There is already a well run 200m outdoor track [strike]near[/strike] in Rochester run by Dale on the outside of Detroit, this [new track] would be [strike]close to [/strike] downtown.
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Old 08-12-15, 07:54 AM   #11
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the real question is if this thing will be just another one of dale hughes' plywood tracks...
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Old 08-12-15, 07:59 AM   #12
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Given you guys only have two (LA and Colorado Springs???) indoor tracks and harsh winters any indoor track would be indispensable.

Is a bit of the chicken or the egg. The States has very poor showing at International level considering the countries population, so need venues that athletes can train optimally on. But then you need venues to tap into the huge potential pool of people who could race for your country if only they had a track available to give it a go...

Cost is always an issue. 2-3 * to the cost for an extra 50m sound implausible, but given I haven't looked into this (Australia has 7 going on 8 indoor velodromes therefore no need) I wont question these figures.
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Old 08-12-15, 08:22 AM   #13
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They key part of your comment is "considering the country's population." The US has a decent showing, internationally. In the past few years we've gotten a respectable share of medals at World Cups. The problem is its inconsistency...

I don't think that they key problem is too few velodromes, but rather, that our national body only supports track cycling in fits and starts. There's not a development pipeline. Instead, USAC recruits prospects who can put down exceptional power numbers, throws all of the resources at these few people, and hopes it'll end up with a medal. And then they burn out or top out, and everybody is back to square one. Compare that to GB, who, when Hoy retired, had Jason Kenny, Philip Hindes, and whoever else (and more) waiting in the wings.

I'm not arguing against more velodromes... I guess my position is that we have really limited resources to build more velodromes, since there's rarely every any buy-in at the governmental level. I was heavily influenced by seeing Liz Reap-Carlson race at the down-home grassroots track where I learned how to race, the Kissena Velodrome, and then later reading her blog about it, in which she said, "it would be great if someone took the money it takes to build one ADT Center and made 10 Kissenas here in the US."
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Old 08-12-15, 10:48 AM   #14
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I'm not sure I'm that opposed to another plywood track, Cleveland is a better surface than indy, even if it does have distinct facets. I'd love to have a beautiful strip wood indoor track that close to me though!
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Old 08-12-15, 11:03 AM   #15
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the real question is if this thing will be just another one of dale hughes' plywood tracks...
Sure will. I kinda like them.

I was half expecting the Chigago velodrome to end up in Detroit if they didn't pull through with the cash.
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Old 08-12-15, 11:18 AM   #16
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What's wrong with a 200 track?
From what I hear, it's tough to sprint on 200M tracks. Time trial times are slower than on longer tracks. Flying 200Ms won't be as fast as on 250M. Long steady-state TTs are best on long tracks like 333 or 400M.

Gearing is smaller. Speed changes (curves) come more often.

*I've never ridden a 200M track. Shortest I've ridden is 250M (LA & Rock Hill).

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Old 08-12-15, 11:27 AM   #17
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I wouldn't call it a sprint track anyway. Short tracks are still fun, the famous Ghent 6 day is on a 166m track. 50deg banks are a wild thing to ride!
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Old 08-12-15, 01:19 PM   #18
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Yeah, it is tougher (and more fun) to ride a shorter track. Certainly sprinting through the turns is different, not many people can ride out of the saddle on 45+ degree banking. Seated on the black line its not too different.

It’s all good.

This is more targeted to the Ghent model than Olympics, although Olympic trials could be held there.
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Old 08-12-15, 02:40 PM   #19
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At this point I've raced 200m, 250m, 333m, 400m.... they all work fine.
Gearing certainly varies, tactics vary a ton (eg, try taking a lap on a 400m), but the 200m in Burnaby seems to work just fine. Races feel like they are happening a lot more quickly - w/ 7" straights and 20ish second laps (or less), there's more doing and less scheming in mass start races - great for racer development.

It isn't as ideal for sprint events, but there are some quite good sprinters come from that track - and I would say that it is a better size for match sprints than either a 333 or a 400m - the banking gets speeds higher and makes tactics quite a bit more interesting.

If I had to choose I'd likely put my preferences as:
1/2 tossup: 200 / 250,
3. 333
4. 400

Given sizes and spans for buildings (am architect), yeah, a 250 will start to cost a ton more as the costs for structural members do not scale up linearly - not sure about 2-3*, there's a lot of assumptions in any estimates I'd put together that I'm not willing to make - but a 250 will cost a bunch more.
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Old 08-12-15, 04:04 PM   #20
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They key part of your comment is "considering the country's population." The US has a decent showing, internationally. In the past few years we've gotten a respectable share of medals at World Cups. The problem is its inconsistency...

I don't think that they key problem is too few velodromes, but rather, that our national body only supports track cycling in fits and starts. There's not a development pipeline. Instead, USAC recruits prospects who can put down exceptional power numbers, throws all of the resources at these few people, and hopes it'll end up with a medal. And then they burn out or top out, and everybody is back to square one. Compare that to GB, who, when Hoy retired, had Jason Kenny, Philip Hindes, and whoever else (and more) waiting in the wings.
I was comparing populations of Australia ~23M, UK 64M to USA 319M. Big difference like you say is lack of support from USAC.

Lack of tracks must surely impact getting those genetic mutants onto a track bike rather any other locally available sport? I am sure if not for ~8 tracks within a 50km radius I wouldn't be riding track...
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Old 08-12-15, 08:46 PM   #21
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The lack of cycling support is no secret. Its just a different culture.

This is a football stadium for a COLLEGE in one of the poorest states in the US:


Cost about $200mil, or around the cost of the last 3 or 4 olympic velodromes combined. Again, professional teams don't even play here.
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Old 08-12-15, 10:16 PM   #22
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The French National Team sprinters trained on the 166m INSEP track for years before the new on came along in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. They seemed to do pretty well on that thing. There are some quirks to riding a small 'drome. Most of them teach you how to ride faster on larger tracks. If you build it solidly enough, motorpacing can take care of the lesser speeds that these tracks are prone to. Most of this is attributed to people backing off due to G forces. If you get over the psychological hump of hte G's, and learn to use the banking to maintain, or even increase your speed, you will see performance increases on all tracks.
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Old 08-13-15, 03:04 PM   #23
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That is what makes shorter tracks so much fun!
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Old 08-13-15, 05:22 PM   #24
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And the racing is tighter. 200/250 (or smaller) seems to make for the most exciting racing from a spectators point of view as well.
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Old 08-13-15, 06:56 PM   #25
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ack of tracks must surely impact getting those genetic mutants onto a track bike rather any other locally available sport? I am sure if not for ~8 tracks within a 50km radius I wouldn't be riding track...
Lack of cycling is a bigger factor-- it's not like road cycling is all that big in the rest of the US, either. There are a few areas where it's big, but it's really very much a niche sport. Track cycling is a niche part of a niche sport. Getting more people onto bikes in general would have a much bigger effect than building another 250 m track vs. a 200 m track.

250 m indoor tracks are expensive to build and operate - I don't think Carson has ever made money on a big track cycling event. Part of its value is that AEG has been building out sports entertainment in LA in a way that suggests they want to host an Olympics in LA. Shorter tracks are very spectator friendly and cheaper to build and operate, especially if you're going to build it inside an existing building (of which Detroit has many available for cheap).
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