Posted by: Miriam | 14/10/2010

Go Fast, Turn Left

Well its been exactly one month since I had to go and break myself. One long, emotional, at times turbulent, bored month. What have I been doing with my time you may ask (which is quite a legitimate question, really). Sometimes I wonder myself. Aside from applying to every job that seems reasonable and a decent match, I am working on a local project to bring a velodrome to Durango. Bring might be the wrong choice of words, create is probably better (full-sized velodromes are less than portable).

The Dryside Velodrome is located out near Hesperus in one of our local cycling movers-and-shakers front yard. Right now we are in the construction phase and are planning a work party on October 23rd (next Saturday, kids). We are also working on fundraising to purchase surfacing materials. A dirt velodrome would be cool, but we want to turn left on track bikes, not just cyclocross or mountain bikes. Take a look at the sweet video that Missy Erickson put together:

Many of you probably don’t know but my very first racing experiences were on the Alpenrose Velodrome in Portland, Oregon. I was sick with a bronchial infection my first race, and I sucked it up big time. But you know what, I had a damn blast. For those of you who do ride track, its easy to remember the first time you rode up the wall. Everybody has a story of being scared but loving it at the same time. For me, it was a chilly August morning at around 6am. The Portland State Cycling team was borrowing track bikes and we didn’t have enough, so I had to wait to ride. I saw people go up and I looked at the wall, and looked at the near vertical surface and thought “Oh hell no!” But I was already there, I had made a crap load of coffee and I was out of bed; I might as well try it.

We played follow the leader for a while around the apron (the flat part that abuts the wall). As we got more speed, we started to go up on to the straight aways but popping back down before we hit the corners. Small aside: Alpenrose is one of the steeper and more compact velodromes in the country so riding it can be daunting. Finally when we had enough speed we followed our leader up and into the Sprinters Lane and around the track a few times. Aside from having a death grip on the bars, it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had on a bike. The centripetal force pulling me down in the corners and flinging me out on to the straights felt like a rollercoaster. A roller coaster I was powering. I didn’t race much on the track until the following summer when I bought a track bike (which is still hands down my favorite bike to ride). I started going to races and getting faster. I even won a silver medal at the Women’s Category 4 State Championships Points Race in 2006. In 2007 I moved from Portland, and the 30 minutes w/ traffic commute to Alpenrose now took 2+ hours, thus effectively ending my track career. But I’ve missed it. And I want to do it again. So I’m working on it from the ground (literally) up with a few other ridiculously committed (some might say insane or crazy) Durangoans.


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