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Photos and Text by Scott Demel
October 10, 2010
at tracks away from
York City region this season: Masters Track Nationals at the Frisco,
and at the Pan-American games in Cuba. Chris
when compared to our local tracks at Kissena and Trexlertown. The steeper banking, the short
straights and wood surface completely changed the approach to riding.
- Trexlertown is 333m, a concrete surface and banked 27 degrees.
- Boulder is 142m, a wood surface, and banked 45 degrees.
Riding a track as small and steep as Boulder would indeed be a new experience.
Boulder is so small that the coaches at the velodrome usually require new riders to complete an 8 session course before giving approval for open riding and training time. Though with some continual emailing and conversations in the weeks before I arrived, I managed to join in with a Sunday morning Track 101 course and then have some free time on the track. The velodrome also provided a nice track bike from their on-site fleet (with 47x15 gearing, if I remember correctly).
So up onto the track! I’ll cut straight to the message the Boulder Velodrome delivers: everything you have been doing wrong on the track is highlighted with a big fat orange marker. To stay down in the sprint lane for an entire lap(s), you must:
Carry good speed into the turn
Confidently attack the turn and adjust your body weight
Hold eyes and head level to the ground (not the track banking)
strain in my neck and down into my
from the forces this track places on the body in the turns. It’s the tightest sligshot I’ve ever
been on and the G-forces actually take a toll after only a short time. I adjusted technique and got a little bit
better and more comfortable. After
about 1.5 hours of riding, I was just starting to get a feel for the
lines and could almost stay down in the sprint lane for over 2 laps. Sloppy riding or technique will quickly
push rider and bike uptrack.
HelmetCam riding the Boulder Velodrome, on Youtube by drago522
By the end of the session, my lower back was feeling sore and my right forearm was feeling tight from driving the bike into the corners again and again. 24 hours later, those aches were still present. Boulder makes a clear case for core and upper body work in the off season.
Track Etiquette is a must in Boulder. It’s so small, riders have to be hyper aware of everything that is happening around them on the track and what other riders are doing. When I was riding on the track during open training time, 6 persons on the track at once was starting to feel crowded.
excellent training track – you must
every aspect of riding in order to maximize speed and technique for
the track effectively, efficiently and quickly.
the coaches told me that
events were difficult because of the small track size. There was a
flyer on the
tables for Thursday night racing, using a 48x17 (77”) gear restriction! Match sprints and time trials were also
listed on the flyer. Timing chips
are available for great accuracy in timing laps and other distance
events. The current 1-lap track records are 7.690 seconds (Men)
and 8.401 seconds (Women).
of town and occupies the far end
steel-framed, metal-clad industrial building. Some
other portions of this long building; a FedEx sorting facility is
the parking lot. The track is
designed to fit within the walls of this building and the inner edge of
track fits tightly around the building’s interior columns.
Those steel columns at the 4 turns are
heavily padded and marked with giant numerals. A
column. I roughly walked off the
footprint of the track with overall dimension of approximately 120’ x
its outermost edges. There is a
mezzanine overlooking the track at Turn 1 and a bridge from the
passes over the start line and into the infield area.
As a business, the Boulder Indoor Cycling Center is not exclusively supported by revenue from the track. There are also two kid’s BMX courses that wind through the infield and along the outer edge of the finishing straight. The day I visited, a birthday party was setting up in the mezzanine for about 25 kids and their parents. The velodrome is owned and managed by an established company that also operates Boulder Indoor Soccer at other locations in the city.
If you are in Boulder, I do recommend making a visit to the Velodrome at the Boulder Indoor Cycling Center! And by the time you visit in 2011 or after, there may be another velodrome in nearby Erie, Colorado: a 250m wooden outdoor track.
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