Pure Love -- Mower Gang vs. Abandoned Dorais Velodrome
Mower Gang is a great DIY community collective whose goal is to reinvigorate abandoned and forgotten parks in the Detroit area. Armed with weedwhackers, lawnmowers and a whole lotta heart, they tackle the overgrowth and litter that have taken over some of Detroit’s unkempt playgrounds to help provide a place for children to play.
Yesterday Mower Gang visited the Dorais Velodrome, which has been abandoned for over 20 years. The outdoor concrete track is cracked with some serious weeds and bushes taking it over. As you can see, with just three volunteers and one day of work, Mower Gang made a huge difference.
This is a very inspiring effort and goes to show that almost anything is possible if you’ve got just a small group of people with the “make it happen” ethos. What’s next for the Dorais Velodrome? Mower Gang definitely make it clear that their focus is to restore playgrounds for children since they aren’t physically capable of doing that kind of work. The folks who will be using this velodrome are active adults so its fate lies in the hands of Detroit’s cycling community. Mower Gang can only show you the door, you’re the one who has to walk ride through it.
So let’s see what you got, Detroit!
A huge salute and standing ovation goes out to Mower Gang. Not just for this effort but for all their endeavors in community restoration. Their next group mow is scheduled for August 28th at Riverside Park. Check out their website if you are interested in joining them (and I know you are).
Dead Baby Downhill » Seattle’s notorious freak bike gang is staging their 14th annual downhill race. Top messengers will be flown to Guatemala to compete in this year’s CMWC. The race will be awesome. The party will be bananas! The Canterbury at 7pm.
Fast Times At Fast Folks High » Alleycat race in Austin presented by Fast Folks/Fab Friday. Meet at the Capitol at 6pm. Afterparty will be at Givens Park.
Tandemonium! » The USA Cycling Tandem Track Sprint National Championships is happening at Trexlertown’s Valley Preferred Cycling Center. Part of VPCC’s World Series Of Bicycling. Racing starts at 7:30pm.
Colby Pearce Clinics » Multiple time National Champion and Olympian Colby Pearce will be teaching two clinics at Ed Rudolph Velodrome in Northbrook. The first clinic at 9am will focus on Madison racing. The second clinic at 1pm will focus on training for track endurance events.
FMLY Ride » Summer time equals fun time here in Los Angeles and what’s more fun than spending the night with FMLY? Meet at Venice Skate park at 7pm.
San Diego Omnium Championship » Elite Nationals qualifier event at San Diego Velodrome. For some reason this isn’t listed on USAC’s Elite Nats qualifier calendar. Maybe that means no one knows about it but you and me? Racing begins at 10am.
Brentwood Grand Prix » A great crit race through one of the richest neighborhoods of Los Angeles with a 500m dash to the finish line.
Team Beer Track Race » A fun (and fast) race day at Alpenrose Velodrome with prizes and who knows… maybe some beer?
NCNCA Masters Track Championships » Riders with experience up in Northern California racing all weekend at Hellyer Park Velodrome for State Champion titles. Races on Saturday and Sunday at 10am.
Wisconsin State Track Cycling Chamionships » Championships for all age groups being contested at Washington Park Velodrome on Saturday and Sunday. Also a qualifier event for Elite Nationals. Racing starts at 9am on both days.
Woot! Cycling Tips just posted a great article for all of us pompous, self-righteous, anal retentive bike owners. How to add those tasty custom touches to your steed without making it look like a steaming pile of failarrhea. (Just remember, folks… it’s only a guideline, not some strict set of rules.)
Last night was the prep night for our new Wednesday night Intro To Track Racing class at Encino Velodrome and it was a blast. We had a huge turnout with most of our riders from the June test-run of the course returning for more night-time racing and a bunch of new riders looking to learn and practice. Some folks also showed up just to watch from the stands and enjoy some delicious BBQ.
Beaver was celebrating his birthday and had gotten himself a nice new camera. He was taking some real sexy shots of our riders and here they are…
Matt (right) completely psyched to be next to the legendary Jared Thayn (left).
Beaver’s awesome mom made a surprise visit to be his birthday cheerleader.
Great photos, Beaver! See more of his photos from last night on Flickr.
Less than a week before the official start of the six-week Intro To Track Racing class. Space is limited so if you haven’t pre-registered yet, you’d better get on it (Encino Velodrome’s Beginner Class or prior track experience is a PREREQUISITE)!
This was the first time the new London-style Olympic Omnium has ever been contested. Omnium riders competed in six events which called for a bright and early 9am start time — early for us trackies at least. You could tell who the roadies were cuz they were the ones happy to be up before noon but as the day waned, everyone was feeling it. That said, there was never any lull in the competition and every race was surely in top form.
The men’s field was maxed out which made for some of the most thrilling mass-start racing I had ever seen at Encino Velodrome. Portland’s Zak Kovalcik (pictured below) may have won the Omnium if it weren’t for a mechanical mid-way through the 120-lap Points Race. His support team couldn’t sort out the rear wheel malfunction quickly enough so he had to hop on someone else’s bike to get back in the race. Unfortunately his 5-lap grace period was up by the time he got back on the track and he was down a lap, finishing the race in 12th place. Kovalcik took 1st place in 4 of the 6 Omnium events but the Omnium victory went to Kevin Schiller from San Diego.
It’s interesting to note that if traditional Omnium scoring was used (1st gets 7 points, 2nd gets 5 points, 3rd gets 3 points, 4th gets 2 points, 5th gets 1 point, most points wins) then Kovalcik would have won the Omnium. However in the London-style Omnium, the scoring is much different — 1st gets 1 point, 2nd gets 2 points, 3rd gets 3 points and so on and the rider with the least amount of points wins.
For the women, it was awesome watching everyone try to keep up with the World Champion, Tara Whitten (pictured above). Seventeen-year old Kate Wilson (Connie’s Cycling) was definitely a rider to watch as she took 3rd place in the Points Race, lapping the field with Whitten and Hanan Alves-Hyde and even stealing a couple of the sprints. You could see that she was pretty exhausted by the end of the day but she definitely put in a stellar effort which paid off as she’ll be heading to Nationals in September.
The Pursuits were probably the longest part of the day but I was just glad to be watching instead of riding. Heh heh. Aside from the Omniums, there were also Keirins and a Sprint tournament so there was something for everyone to enjoy. A lot of racing!
The program ran from 9am and was still going at 7pm when I left (they were just getting into 500m and Kilo TT’s). A long but definitely fun day and a terrific climax to the Encino Velodrome season. Now I’m really excited for the Elite Nationals coming up at LA Velodrome.
See the full results here and more photos from Pat Benson here. As a bonus, here’s a video that Pat Benson shot of Kathy Fitzpatrick sharing the history of how the Far West Champs came to be:
Everyone’s favorite mod cyclist, Bradley Wiggins, announced that he will be returning to the velodrome for the UCI World Cup in Manchester this February. He hasn’t been competing on track for the past couple of years but he’ll be shooting for the Team Pursuit event at the 2012 Olympics. Says he, “With the Olympics being in London - potentially my last Olympics, I don’t know - it will be a fantastic way to finish. To get another gold medal there in the team pursuit, will be the goal now for us.” Good to have you back, Wiggo!
Metric Meltdown » Presented by LA’s Bicykillers. Over 60 miles of hot n sweaty riding (and climbing) in and around the San Fernando Valley. Pool party and tanline contest to follow. It all kicks off at 11am from the North Hollywood Metro Station.
Michigan State Track Championships » Going down at The International Velodrome at Bloomer Park. State champs for all age groups and also the Nastrack Madison Championships. Qualifier race for Elite Nats. Racing on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.
Jon at TwoToneATL just wrote up a nice play-by-play breakdown of the chariot race — one lap around the track from a standing start. This is such a fun race to run with your buddies. It’s all about how fast you can get up to speed (and hold it for the remainder of the lap). Short and sweet! Nothing too serious so it makes a great race to run with your buddies whenever you’re hanging around the track.
Early registration is also open now. Currently, entry fees are $50 per event and they go up to $65 per event come Sept 8th. On-site registration is $85 per event so it’s probably a good idea to take advantage of the whole “early registration” thing.
Oh, better make sure you meet the qualification criteria before signing up. If you think you qualify for Elite Nats, then you’ve probably competed (and did well) in one of the track racing events listed below. Most of them haven’t happened yet so you’ve still got quite a few chances to qualify.