“We’ve got the natural talent but they need support… All these little investments, all these little adjustments, all these little improvements are going to make a huge difference in the future for this team and this sport.”—Australian World Champion Anna Meares, referring to a not-so-little investment from the Australian government.
The Australian federal government recently poured $400,000 into their National Team’s training facilities — the Adelaide Super-Drome (not to be confused with the Superdrome in Frisco, TX). The funding paid for a new off-track recovery zone.
Australia nabbed 10 medals during this year’s UCI Track World Championships (6 of them being the Gold variety) and you can bet they are looking to dominate the 2012 Olympics — not to mention this year’s Commonwealth Games.
So what’s it gonna take for USA to make that kind of investment in track cycling?
ATRA’s NCS includes major events from velodromes around the country. Each one of the races that is held at NCS events will count points towards the championship and the results will be tallied. Champion titles will be given for overall Men and Women as well as the Team that gains the most points over the course of the season. There will also be championship titles for each major track discipline (Sprint, Points, Individual Pursuit, etc). Read more about the NCS and see the calendar on ATRA’s website.
Meanwhile — for those of us down South (but not that far South) — San Diego Velodrome is starting up their Friday Night Racing this week. Racers who want to qualify for SD Velodrome’s world famous Tuesday Night Racing, need to start with these Friday nights.
On top of all that — weekly Tuesday Night Racing at Hellyer Park and Encino Velodrome are both going strong so if you live on the West Coast you really have no excuse not to come to the track.
In the beginning God created the bicycle, saw that it was good, then went for a nice Sunday ride on the bike lanes He’d made the day before, and they were good too, because they were new and He had the angels keep them clear of debris. Later, of course, God would get cross and have the flood wash all the good ones away.
And God said to Himself, “Let us create man, because cycling is too much fun to keep to Myself,” and so He created man, him did He create, create did He him do. And God put man in paradise, and commanded him, “Glideth upon the earth anywhere thou wisheth, except for that big hill over there. For on the day thou goeth down that hill, thou shalt surely die.”
And God said, “Man needs a companion to keep him from spending too much money on new bicycles.” So God caused man to fall into a deep sleep by asking him if he wanted to go clothes shopping at the mall, then took a rib from him. Then God said to Himself, “Who am I kidding, I’ll never hear the end of it when she finds out she was just a rib,” so He created woman from frankincense and myrrh and a certain je ne sais quoi.
And God said, “Let man have dominion over lathe drills and Philips head screwdrivers, and let woman have dominion over everything else, and as long as thou art naked and unashamed, thou might as well be fruitful and multiply.”
Lastly, God created the chicken and the egg, in that order, which should clear up that matter.
Now the serpent, he was a wily one, and he said to woman, “Yea, hath God said you may cycle anywhere but down that hill?”
And the woman said unto the serpent, “That’s about the size of it: go downhill and die.” And the serpent said, “Ye shall not surely die, you probably won’t even fall off. For God doth know that on the day you go downhill, you will not need to pedal for a long time. Go on, give it a try.”
And the woman saw that the hill was good, she did not need to pedal for a long time. She told the man about it, and he also went downhill. Their eyes were opened, they saw they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves into padded cycling shorts because sometimes it got bumpy going downhill.
And they heard the voice of God as He was off-road, fully suspended of course, and they hid their bicycles at the bottom of the hill and started whistling nervously. And God called unto the man, and said, “Where art thou?”
And the man said, “We art down here.”
And God said, “Hast thou cycled downhill, whereoff I commanded thee that thou shouldest not?” And man said, “C’mon, it was her idea.”
And God said unto the woman, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow whilst climbing hills; in pain shalt thou perch upon thy saddle.”
And God said unto the man, “Because thou hast harkened unto the voice of thy wife, cursed is regular bike maintenance. The inner workings of the hub gear will be beyond thou to repair. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou service thy freewheel.”
And God said, “Behold, the man doesn’t listen very well,” so he kicked him out of paradise and guarded the entrance with a sign of a picture of a bicycle in the middle of a red circle. And He had a Cherubim with a flaming sword stop by a few times a week for good measure.
This is the book of the generations. The first bicycle was a single speed, Godspeed, but after that it got complicated. Sprockets begat sprockets and cables begat kinks. Celerifere begat Draisienne begat Macmillan begat Michaux begat Ariel begat Bayliss Thomas begat Lawson begat Rover begat Boneshaker begat Ordinary begat Raleigh.
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth in a critical mass, God saw that the wickedness of man was great and he did not like to give way to anyone on the road even his mother, so He directed Noah to build an ark made out of renewable resources. There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark every type of bicycle: one to ride and one for spare parts. And Noah gathered two touring bikes and two mountain bikes; two recumbents and two tandems; two road racing bikes and two cross bikes; also four unicycles, just in case there was a misunderstanding, and a brace of Bromptons, as their folded countenance pleasethed Him. And God said there might be Some strong winds in the Southeast. And it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, then drizzled for another fortnight.
And God remembered Noah and asswaged the waters, and Noah opened a door on the ark and set loose Japheth on a unicycle, and God said, “This is a covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature: that a man on a unicycle is a hilarious sight. The waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.”
A bit later, God spake unto Moses, saying, Here are a few ground rules, I hath numbered them for thou for easy reference:
I. Thou shalt hold no other races above the Tour de France.
II. Thou shalt not make unto thee helmets which cost more than £100.
III. Thou shalt not take My name in vain everytime thou gettest a flat tyre.
IV. Remember to oil thy chain, to keep it rolling.
V. Honor the Zebra Crossing and those walking upon the face of it.
VI. Thou shalt not ignore other road users, nor cycle recklessly upon the pavement.
VII. Thou shalt not steal bicycles.
VIII. Thou shalt not kill, except bicycle thieves.
IX. Thou shalt not hang onto moving cars.
X. Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s new Cannondale, nor his group set, nor his £3000 MTB, nor even his stylish shades.
Forget not the Titanium Rule: Signal unto others as thou wouldst have others signal unto thou.
And moving right along, there came four horsemen of the Apocalypse, and they were the Taxicab Driver, and the Motorcycle Messenger, and the White Van Man, and the Man Opening a Car Door Without Looking.
It’s now been exactly a month since I’ve started this blog so I figure it’s as good a time as any for a name change. Henceforth, this blog will be known as RIDE THE BLACK LINE.
It first started out as “The Velodrome” just because that was the easiest thing to think of that was available at the time. I knew at some point I would want to ditch the name for something a little bit less… I don’t know — generic.
There will be no urgent need to change your bookmarks (thanks to our host Tumblr). That said, the new official URL is www.ridetheblackline.com if you want to tell anyone about this site.
So now please allow me to re-introduce myself: My name is Kieron. A lot of people call me K. I’ve been riding bikes all my life. But recently I’ve been taking my bike out of the street and into the velodrome and I love it.
This site is about my love for the ‘drome, bringing you updates on track cycling news around the world and also celebrating the history and legends that have brought us to where we are now. I hope you enjoy, and I hope it inspires you to get out to your local velodrome and give it a whirl. My only regret is not getting down to the track sooner (seemed I always had an excuse not to go which is pretty lame in a city with two velodromes). NOW is as good a time as any so get on that black line.
If you want to share your stories or if you’ve got any feedback, comments, questions or gripes then drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Crazy 8 » Downtown’s Finest presents a pre-VeloCity alleycat race. Entry fee is five bucks. Meet in Downtown LA at 9pm. Race at 10pm. Here’s the route.
Happy Trails Joe » Going away party for TOLA's friend Joe, a great photographer who's always getting the shots at LA's alleycats and track races. He's moving up to SF so lets give him a big, hearty sendoff.
The FMLY Ride » All-night social party ride with lots of bands and DJ’s. Riding, dancing, music, bikes, fun, yay! Two groups: Eastsiders meet at Flying Pigeon. Westsiders meet at Venice Skate Park. Both groups ride out at 8pm and will converge somewhere in the middle.
Bike Day LA » One year anniversary of Bike Day LA. A full day of bike fun including music, trick comps, and an alleycat race which starts at 4pm. All at Space15Twenty in Hollywood.
Long Beach Tour De Cure » Fully supported fundraiser ride to help fight diabetes. Five different routes/distances to choose from all starting in the morning.
Rock Racing Equipment Sale » Brankrupt fashion team is liquidating all their cycling equipment. Or is it — Brankrupt cycling team is liquidating all their fashion equipment? I can’t tell but there’s probably going to be some good deals here. Saturday and Sunday 9am-6pm in Inglewood.
VeloCity Tour 2010 » Messengers and urban riders compete for glory. The weekend starts with the Crazy 8 alleycat (see Friday events). The main event is the races at Encino Velodrome on Saturday. There will be a group ride from Downtown LA to Encino in the morning then back to DTLA for an afterparty with Goldsprints. On Sunday there will be bike polo and an award ceremony. See the schedule of events for further details.
LA OCHO draws its inspiration from a hugely popular Canadian race series held in the late nineties called the Dunhill Alley-Cat Scramble, aka the Human Powered Rollercoaster. The HPR, as it was also known featured a wooden figure-eight track that attracted the fastest messengers from around the globe.
The anomaly, entitled LA OCHO which literally translates as The Eight, is proving to be an attention grabber. Racers will compete in heats of four, jockeying through two days of preliminary racing to accumulate enough victories to lead themselves through to the final day of elimination rounds. Each competitor will be striving to be crowned as the victor of this 200-meter long figure-eight track.
Reviving the exciting spirit of the original, while adding an old-school Guatemalan feel, the LA OCHO track will instead be constructed and run outdoors and on a foundation of dirt and clay rather than wood. Featuring banked turns and a bridge crossing in the middle, the track promises to be fast and challenging for even the most skilled riders.
The Guatemalan Government and Municipal Government of Panajachel have pledged their full support in the effort to construct this ambitious course, inviting the global messenger community to build LA OCHO at their main outdoor stadium, Stadio Municipal de Panajachel. “The courage to rebuild this lost messenger artifact is an impressive tribute to Bicycle Messengers around the world, and is sure to be a heroic display of racing!” proclaims CMWC President NADIR OLIVET.
Make plans now to attend the 18th Annual CYCLE MESSENGER WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS and be in Panajachel, Guatemala from September 3rd to 13th, 2010 to catch all the festivities of this year’s adrenaline infused CMWC.