Go Back  Bike Forums > The Racer's Forum > Track Cycling: Velodrome Racing and Training Area
Reload this Page >

Should we construct more velodromes in the United States?

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.
View Poll Results: Should we construct more velodromes in the United States?
Yes, we are lagging behind other countries!
17
68.00%
No, we're fine with the 28 velodrome we already got.
2
8.00%
Undecided...
6
24.00%
Voters: 25. You may not vote on this poll

Should we construct more velodromes in the United States?

Old 04-08-18, 12:02 PM
  #1  
satrain18
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 61
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 44 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Should we construct more velodromes in the United States?

I looked at the statistics of track cycling in the United States. And according to Wikipedia, it's pretty disturbing. There are only 28 velodromes in the US while Japan has 70. And of those, only two are indoor(one of them, the VELO Sports Center, will be used in the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles). The nearest velodrome from where I live is 150 miles away in Atlanta. That's a three-hour drive. We need the build more velodromes in this country. If the Japanese can cram 70 velodromes in an area the size of California, we should have at least one velodrome in each state. Federal and state funding for outdoor velodromes shouldn't be too much of a problem. Concrete for an olympic size velodrome(250 meters) is $22,000. So we're looking at $25,000-100,000 for the outdoor option. Indoor velodromes, on the other hand, are much more expensive, as their costs can easily go into the millions.

We have opportunity to do this before the 2028 Olympics start. It'll be a great opportunity to find new talent in track cycling, as well as adding recreational diversity.

Last edited by satrain18; 04-08-18 at 12:06 PM. Reason: proofreading
satrain18 is offline  
Old 04-08-18, 12:43 PM
  #2  
carleton
Elitist
 
carleton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 15,575
Mentioned: 82 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1205 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Hi, Satrain,

I appreciate your enthusiasm. I, too, want more velodromes even though I live in Atlanta near one with probably the longest outdoor season in the US (a full 6 months) of racing and year-round training.

It's not exactly an, "If you build it, they will come." situation. I've learned through the years of watching (and helping a bit) that it's complicated.

Velodromes cost money and aren't exactly money-makers. Many are 100% volunteer-run (volunteer meaning no pay at all). I believe the lack of volunteer help led to the current pausing of events at Brian Piccolo Velodrome in South Florida. Boulder is a new velodrome...that is now for sale (If I remember correctly). Both are similar to that which you propose.

Track training and racing is awesome and exciting. IHMO, we have to figure out a way to communicate that to others and have capacity racing fields which will bring money in which will allow velodromes to pay staff which will allow for more racing, etc...

I don't know Rock Hill's story, but it seems to have started with enthusiasm for track racing like you have now. Like we all have. So, it's definitely possible.
carleton is offline  
Old 04-08-18, 12:47 PM
  #3  
Morelock
Senior Member
 
Morelock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 407
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 185 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm for more velodromes in general... but Japan is a TERRIBLE comparison to make. There are tons of tracks in Japan because Keirin racing is a big deal in gambling.

Unfortunately with the number that are closing around the US, it's hard to get the ball rolling. (We tried to get interest built in East TN but it's a tough sell) Also, our numbers (and we were trying to go as "cheap" as possible) were way over $100k.

Personally, I think if you want a velodrome to succeed, it needs to be a "sport complex" that offers more than just cycling. OR it needs to be in the right location with the right support. Rock Hill has done pretty well (at least it looks it) because the entire area is focused on cycling (with the World class BMX venue, mtn bike trails, a crit course, etc) and the city is fully (again, seemingly) behind it. They also have a paid staff.

Last edited by Morelock; 04-08-18 at 12:50 PM.
Morelock is offline  
Old 04-08-18, 02:33 PM
  #4  
carleton
Elitist
 
carleton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 15,575
Mentioned: 82 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1205 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I'm sure that @Baby Puke can tell us more about how JP velodromes operate, from local facilities up to big gambling arenas. He races there.

Essentially, the Keirin racing are not unlike horse racing in the US.
carleton is offline  
Old 04-08-18, 03:27 PM
  #5  
DMC707
Senior Member
 
DMC707's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Oklahoma City
Posts: 3,392

Bikes: Too many to list

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 695 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by satrain18 View Post
. Concrete for an olympic size velodrome(250 meters) is $22,000. .
That would be a very rough price for the concrete only (at $90 a cubic yard for a 4" slab) for a track, not including the apron, infield, or any other formed concrete areas , sidewalks, bleachers, some kind of paddock area, Then add in costs for excavation, labor, forms, steel, land- land is a big one, permits, insurance, --- then the intangibles like local interest and support, a team of pumped up volunteers

--- its a pretty big job


Enjoy the DLV, - its only 150 miles away. My track was 180, but it closed and now the next closest is around 500.
Even if you can only make it once a month, its still worth it, -- get as many gate drops in as you can
DMC707 is offline  
Old 04-08-18, 03:49 PM
  #6  
carleton
Elitist
 
carleton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 15,575
Mentioned: 82 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1205 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Agreed.

satrain18, you can still have a very successful season being 150 miles away. When I lived in NOVA, I was about 200 miles away from TTown. A buddy and I trained religiously and went to TTown about once a month for training or racing. We still did well at Masters Nationals.

The way to approach it is:
- Get stronger and fitter in the gym and on the road and on the trainer.
- Go to the track periodically to get used to the curves at various speeds.
- Don't spend your track time doing workouts that you can do at home.
- Work on finding gearing that feels comfortable that allows you to hit the cadence ranges that you want to hit.
- Try to get down one day/month. The track is open from dawn to dusk for training unless there is a scheduled event (check the calendar). Even holidays. I was training on Easter last week.

EDIT:

I know this won't get you as much mass start experience as you would like as fast as you would like. But, it's a start.

Last edited by carleton; 04-08-18 at 04:04 PM.
carleton is offline  
Old 04-08-18, 04:15 PM
  #7  
Kontact
Senior Member
 
Kontact's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 3,619
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2145 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
This question is more like "should we have more golf courses in the US". Because velodromes are such specialty spaces that they really require a fairly large paying customer base to make them worthwhile.

I don't think "if you build them, they will come" is enough of an argument to spend public funds on such a specialized sport.
Kontact is offline  
Old 04-08-18, 05:09 PM
  #8  
RobotGuy 
Semi-Pro Bowler
 
RobotGuy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: New Joisey
Posts: 202

Bikes: Ď02 LeMond Tete De Course Titanium (road), Ď98 Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo (mtb), Ď88 GT Mach One (BMX)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 100 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by satrain18 View Post
Concrete for an olympic size velodrome(250 meters) is $22,000. So we're looking at $25,000-100,000 for the outdoor option
Love the enthusiasm... and I’d love one nearby as well, but you are off by half a million at least. I’ve managed plenty of big construction projects and can say that land costs and site prep alone would be north of $250,000. $20,000 of concrete wouldn’t cover 250 ft let alone 250 meters, unless we are talking 4” thick, very narrow lanes. You’re looking at $60,000 in raw concrete for a 6”-8” slab just for the riding surface, not counting any structure for the banking. It would all be steel reinforced and would likely cost $200,000 in labor to form, place and finish it.

That doesn’t cover seating, paddock, infield, parking and any utilities such as drainage, bathrooms, power, nor special site considerations, which could all double the budget.

But hey, we can all agree that we need more of them! And I’d LOVE one near me!
__________________
On some level, we are all products of our situation. I'd suggest itís how we decide to influence our own situation and the situations of others that makes all the difference.

Last edited by RobotGuy; 04-08-18 at 05:24 PM.
RobotGuy is offline  
Old 04-08-18, 05:19 PM
  #9  
queerpunk
aka mattio
 
queerpunk's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 6,502
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 304 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
the notion that they should be worthwhile, or financially sustainable just based on the input of their users, betrays exactly why we don't have more in the USA.

a lot of countries invest public money into athletic facilities, including velodromes - because having them and running them is socially beneficial.

we're so far gone in the usa that we don't expect public investment in cultural projects like this.
queerpunk is offline  
Old 04-08-18, 09:53 PM
  #10  
Clythio
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 85
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 50 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
$1 to $1,5 millions for a 250m wood track, plus from $3 to $10 for the cover, without any additional system, and up to 700 - 1500 seated places.
Rio cost (corruption cost included) about $ 40 millions for the whole venue, with powerful aircon system (tropical weather, 45C summer days) and 4000 seated places, rooms, etc.
Concrete open venues can cost $2 to $4 millions only the track depending on the ground place. Add seats and infra, do the math..
Ok, we can build tracks on amateur way - good tracks anyway - wood or metal frames, naval (water resistant) plywood panels, etc., and without infra/seats.. but.. will it be capable of holding serious events, or it will be only for "local" use/competitions?
Clythio is offline  
Old 04-08-18, 10:55 PM
  #11  
gycho77
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Delaware, USA
Posts: 584

Bikes: Serotta steel track bike, Specialized MTB

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 87 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
BTW Velo Sports Center cannot be used for Olympic, because of two big columns
One of the workers told me that they have to rebuild the velodrome.
gycho77 is offline  
Old 04-08-18, 11:22 PM
  #12  
Baby Puke
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Kanazawa
Posts: 1,449

Bikes: Marin Stelvio, Pogliaghi SL, Panasonic NJS, Dolan DF4, Intense Pro24 BMX

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 234 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by carleton View Post
I'm sure that @Baby Puke can tell us more about how JP velodromes operate, from local facilities up to big gambling arenas. He races there.

Essentially, the Keirin racing are not unlike horse racing in the US.
Yeah, pro keirin makes it an unfair comparison, but there are still a dozen or so public tracks in Japan, and more being built. Plus many pro keirin tracks now welcome non-pro's via club days, so there is a lot of access over here. As others have alluded, the difference is cultural, and specifically the culture of money in the US and what garners investment.
Baby Puke is offline  
Old 04-08-18, 11:56 PM
  #13  
Kontact
Senior Member
 
Kontact's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 3,619
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2145 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by Baby Puke View Post
Yeah, pro keirin makes it an unfair comparison, but there are still a dozen or so public tracks in Japan, and more being built. Plus many pro keirin tracks now welcome non-pro's via club days, so there is a lot of access over here. As others have alluded, the difference is cultural, and specifically the culture of money in the US and what garners investment.
A country with a lot of professional track racers has to have places for amateurs to get into the sport, otherwise the pro sport dies. Plus, there is going to be more interest because of the common pro sport. In the US, velodrome racing is about as familiar as jai alai, which also requires a special facility.

I'm not trying to be downer, but a big banked track is a specialized thing. The best model to look at is probably the Kenosha Velodrome, which is pretty much mounded earth, concrete, lights and grass in a larger park.
Kontact is offline  
Old 04-09-18, 06:17 AM
  #14  
topflightpro
Senior Member
 
topflightpro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 6,261
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1222 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 14 Posts
I think Rock Hill cost something like $4m to $5m total to construct.

There were probably areas they could have cut some costs, but not many.

Also, the Boulder Valley Velodrome was being sold for $4.5m, IIRC, though I think a large part of that cost was the value of the land.
topflightpro is offline  
Old 04-09-18, 06:26 AM
  #15  
queerpunk
aka mattio
 
queerpunk's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 6,502
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 304 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Clythio View Post
Ok, we can build tracks on amateur way - good tracks anyway - wood or metal frames, naval (water resistant) plywood panels, etc., and without infra/seats.. but.. will it be capable of holding serious events, or it will be only for "local" use/competitions?
Well that's exactly the pro/con of it.

We've seen several of these tracks cropping up: 166m, because they're cheap. Plywood, because it's cheap; and no other accommodations, essentially. Maybe a trailer and a portapotty deposited on a piece of vacant land.

They're capable of turning a cycling scene with no track racing into a cycling scene with some track racing, but I have doubts that they're either optimized for beginners, or capable of contributing to a broader, nationwide track cycling scene. And both, I believe, are particularly important for really fertilizing track racing in the USA.
queerpunk is offline  
Old 04-09-18, 12:05 PM
  #16  
RobotGuy 
Semi-Pro Bowler
 
RobotGuy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: New Joisey
Posts: 202

Bikes: Ď02 LeMond Tete De Course Titanium (road), Ď98 Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo (mtb), Ď88 GT Mach One (BMX)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 100 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
In NJ, the local velodrome association doesn’t actually have a velodrome. They simply rent the local paved circle track on specified days (automotive racing). This is likely the solution in many locals where the $500,000 - $10 million construction cost simply isn’t doable.

$25 for the day (training), about $100-$200 per race or like $280 for the year. Much more economical business model.
__________________
On some level, we are all products of our situation. I'd suggest itís how we decide to influence our own situation and the situations of others that makes all the difference.
RobotGuy is offline  
Old 04-09-18, 01:35 PM
  #17  
sarals 
Idiot Emeritus
 
sarals's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: 60 Miles South of Hellyer
Posts: 6,738

Bikes: Yes.

Mentioned: 227 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 331 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Here's my naive viewpoint. Las Vegas, to my way of thinking, would be a prime spot for an indoor 250. With the gaming, they could hold Japanese style keirin events on it. Gambling, that's the industry there. I'm surprised - once again, naively thinking - that the city or gaming commission hasn't already looked at that notion and that there isn't a velodrome there already.
__________________
"Can you add a signature line please? The lack of words makes me think you are being held hostage and being told to be quiet"
sarals is offline  
Old 04-09-18, 01:57 PM
  #18  
700wheel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 564
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 118 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by sarals View Post
Here's my naive viewpoint. Las Vegas, to my way of thinking, would be a prime spot for an indoor 250. With the gaming, they could hold Japanese style keirin events on it. Gambling, that's the industry there. I'm surprised - once again, naively thinking - that the city or gaming commission hasn't already looked at that notion and that there isn't a velodrome there already.
I think Keirin with betting might catch on in Vegas.
But it may turn out to be like the Jai Alai surge in the 80s fueled by betting. Since then the sport has declined most places except it still takes place on Florida.
700wheel is offline  
Old 04-09-18, 04:16 PM
  #19  
wagge
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Houston
Posts: 11

Bikes: Sworks 2012, Sworks 2016 2000 Corima Cougar

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by carleton View Post
Hi, Satrain,

I appreciate your enthusiasm. I, too, want more velodromes even though I live in Atlanta near one with probably the longest outdoor season in the US (a full 6 months) of racing and year-round training.

It's not exactly an, "If you build it, they will come." situation. I've learned through the years of watching (and helping a bit) that it's complicated.

Velodromes cost money and aren't exactly money-makers. Many are 100% volunteer-run (volunteer meaning no pay at all). I believe the lack of volunteer help led to the current pausing of events at Brian Piccolo Velodrome in South Florida. Boulder is a new velodrome...that is now for sale (If I remember correctly). Both are similar to that which you propose.

Track training and racing is awesome and exciting. IHMO, we have to figure out a way to communicate that to others and have capacity racing fields which will bring money in which will allow velodromes to pay staff which will allow for more racing, etc...

I don't know Rock Hill's story, but it seems to have started with enthusiasm for track racing like you have now. Like we all have. So, it's definitely possible.
I agree with Carlton, it's a tough battle. 25-100k will not get you a track or even close, maybe a nice apron. A nice public restroom will cost 50k at least. A decent track should be close to 1m not including land cost. Not easy to build a concrete radius at 34-44 deg and it has to be perfect.

Multi-use is not an easy sell because you have a dirt BMX track that I can build with a dozer, nothing that compares to velodrome construction. I have also heard that Rock hill is open during the day with little use. We had that here in Houston but could not sustain paid management. Had we built the track in central Houston say Memorial park it might have stood a chance. Southside people do not want to fight traffic for 1.5 hours to get to west Houston. Location, Location, Location
wagge is offline  
Old 04-09-18, 05:59 PM
  #20  
Clythio
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 85
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 50 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by gycho77 View Post
BTW Velo Sports Center cannot be used for Olympic, because of two big columns
One of the workers told me that they have to rebuild the velodrome.
200% Stupid UCI requirement - used as reason to destroy Rio 2007 PanGames Velo building+track (it was a Sander Douma siberian pine perfect track) and spend those $40 million on a venue left, after the games, without a chrono system, gate starts, etc.
Criminals...
Clythio is offline  
Old 04-09-18, 06:07 PM
  #21  
carleton
Elitist
 
carleton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 15,575
Mentioned: 82 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1205 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Will someone explain this requirement?
carleton is offline  
Old 04-09-18, 06:12 PM
  #22  
RobotGuy 
Semi-Pro Bowler
 
RobotGuy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: New Joisey
Posts: 202

Bikes: Ď02 LeMond Tete De Course Titanium (road), Ď98 Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo (mtb), Ď88 GT Mach One (BMX)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 100 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by wagge View Post
Not easy to build a concrete radius at 34-44 deg and it has to be perfect.
1000%. In my years of heavy construction management, there is 1 mason Iíve run into that Iíd hire to do this job - and they are not cheap. The last job was $40 million total and they got almost $10 million of that. But hey, your typical brick layer / sidewalk subcontractor just canít produce the level of precision that a job like this demands. A single uneven joint or imperfection that is imperceptible to the eye can be a disaster at speed.
__________________
On some level, we are all products of our situation. I'd suggest itís how we decide to influence our own situation and the situations of others that makes all the difference.
RobotGuy is offline  
Old 04-09-18, 06:40 PM
  #23  
brawlo
Senior Member
 
brawlo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Australia
Posts: 1,017
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 215 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Simple answer is yes. But you need to build them so that they will be utilised.

To embark on such a journey a lot of things have to be considered.

Location is the biggest one. Proximity to public transport in a large city with minimised travel is best, and unfortunately most elusive. Sydney is a perfect example of a great, world class Olympic level facility hamstrung by it's location.

The facility must be as multi-use as possible. The popularity of sports seems to ebb and flow in general. From my relatively limited experience, cycling doesn't appear to be a whole lot different. You need side lines of use to maintain a facility when only 20 people (or even less) are turning up to race. Tracks have a large infield area, and making that space usable for a multitude of court or field sports just seems to make sense.

On a controversial note, I think that tracks should be made more public use. I know such a thing is a sticking point for some here, but allowing the general public to use the facility outside of racing and training times eases the sting to the public. It also takes away the mystique of the sport and can help to facilitate procuring new riders
brawlo is offline  
Old 04-09-18, 06:42 PM
  #24  
RobotGuy 
Semi-Pro Bowler
 
RobotGuy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: New Joisey
Posts: 202

Bikes: Ď02 LeMond Tete De Course Titanium (road), Ď98 Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo (mtb), Ď88 GT Mach One (BMX)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 100 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Clythio View Post
200% Stupid UCI requirement - used as reason to destroy Rio 2007 PanGames Velo building+track (it was a Sander Douma siberian pine perfect track) and spend those $40 million on a venue left, after the games, without a chrono system, gate starts, etc.
Criminals...
Interesting, considering itís the home to the US Olympic team and just hosted the 2017 UCI track world championships. What would change so quickly?
__________________
On some level, we are all products of our situation. I'd suggest itís how we decide to influence our own situation and the situations of others that makes all the difference.
RobotGuy is offline  
Old 04-09-18, 07:15 PM
  #25  
TDinBristol
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 54
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by brawlo View Post
Simple answer is yes. But you need to build them so that they will be utilised.

On a controversial note, I think that tracks should be made more public use. I know such a thing is a sticking point for some here, but allowing the general public to use the facility outside of racing and training times eases the sting to the public. It also takes away the mystique of the sport and can help to facilitate procuring new riders
Forgive me, everyone. Longtime rider with no palmares who rode a lot of track a long time ago, then didn't for several decades, then came back and am enjoying it thoroughly at a late age.
The question of building velodromes - and what kind - seems to me to be an outcropping of some initial, important questions:
- How many people want to ride races that are very short?
- Are they willing to do the hard, painful training that requires?
Virtually every high school in the USA has a 400m running track, which sits unused 99% of the time. People come out and jog on them, walk their dogs, etc. The high-school track team trains a few hours a day for a stretch of weeks in the spring. But I know very few adults who participate, long-term, running 440s, 100s or the like. It's just too demanding. So right there is a small, self-selecting group, regardless of the facility. No offense to my 'gran fondo' friends, but riding hard for 3 hours is not nearly as taxing as riding at your absolute limit for 1, 2 or 3 minutes. But if people had more access to those short races, the sport might grow.
To build track cycling in this country, IMHO, you need access to more short races. Does anyone remember the Atlantic City Boardwalk sprints? Or grass-track cycling? Lots of easy ways of getting people into the sport of short races. If I recall my history, the 1960 Olympic track trials were held on a straightaway. Ask Jack Simes about that.
There's a difference between learning to race short distances and learning to ride a velodrome.
But that leads to the building of tracks.
What this country needs (other than "a good 5-cent cigar," as the old saying goes) are cheap, entry-level velodromes. Places where any rider can jump on the first time and not feel daunted. I've ridden Rock Hill many times, and it's a wonderful facility and a first-rate group of people managing it, but for non-track cyclists coming to have a look, that first glance is enough to walk away without ever trying it. I can only speculate on the number of lost chances on that first glance. Even experienced cyclists know that a crash on that track can be very, very serious.
But tracks with lower bankings and longer sweeps are not such a huge leap and don't nearly involve the money the Rock Hills require. The 250m, 45-degree track is built for world-class cyclists chasing world-class times, not newbies. They cost millions and largely go underused. I think the genius of T-Town was limiting the grade to 27 degrees - rideable by both the PeeWee Pedalers and the NZ National Team. I was once out there with both those groups on the track at the same time. And that, in itself, grows the sport. Dawkins, rolling at the top, exhorting some 9-year-old to "get on with it, then, get on with it!" as the kid churned to the finish line.
Dorais got built years ago by Mike Walden and a shoestring budget. In the early 80s, when I was riding at Dick Lane, the "lore and legend" was the builders had never even seen a velodrome - they'd just "looked at some photos." The track is a bunch of inlaid pre-cast concrete slabs dropped into the grade. Even when the track was nearly new, it had that undulating ride. But it was cheap, and it's still in use. But even there, and despite its teeming track-cycling scene, the banking is probably an inhibitor to people thinking about giving it a try. And the process of indemnity releases and limited access that go with the riskier tracks inhibits participation further: "We'd love to have you on our track, and enjoy the great sport of track cycling, but please take the two-day certification and then sign this form saying it's not our fault if you die or are maimed."
So I worry that US track cycling is extincting itself based on the perceived need for more state-of-the-art, expensive facilities, when maybe a larger body (USAC) could think about a network of "feeder events," "feeder tracks," "regional tracks" and "championship tracks" that work in concert.
Anyway, just two cents from a 2-bit rider. But when I hear $4 million and $5 million for a facility, I hear "unsustainable" because there just aren't that many people who can spend the time and effort to do this kind of racing, and the ones who might otherwise come forward would be too intimidated by those very tracks.
TDinBristol is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.