Archives for the month of: December, 2008

Just so there’s a frame of reference, I have raced at Blaine, Kenosha, Northbrook, Major Taylor, and (not that it counts as a real track) the Asheville Mellowdrome. None of that came close to preparing me for my morning pip on the boards at Boulder’s new indoor velodrome – Boulder Indoor Cycling.

I probably have to liken the initial experience to riding your kid’s tricycle around inside an oversized claw-foot bathtub. A couple of quick stats here: the track is 142 meters long or more than 100M shorter than a normal modern track, and the banking is 45 degrees – down from the 50 that the designer recommended. In my arrogant and somewhat delusional mind I though, “I’ve ridden Blaine (MN), I can just jump up on this puppy no problem.”

Wrong.

I rode Blain (250M outdoor track with 43 degree bankings) about a decade ago. I was a super fit racer at the time and riding the track pretty regularly (though never placing and still a cat. 4 on the boards) so I felt pretty comfortable. That experience seemed to just fine when 2 years ago when I was riding track training sessions in Asheville. I thought I should be fine.

Wrong.

There is nothing to prepare you for the radical nature of this track. It is super short, it has dramatic height differentials that really throw you off if you are riding up towards the boards. The ceiling is eerily low when you are rapidly rising up the banking on the high side of the track. You have to get on where you would normally get off, and you have to get off in a very precise manner.

This is a track that flat-out punishes you if you are not an extremely confident bike handler. And today I was about as confident as a 5-year old on his first day in school. I lasted about 15 minutes and then Paul – the proprietor – and I decided that it would be best if I got off the track and took one of the introductory sessions. 

Now, this abject and crushing failure had not deterred me. Just like when I first learned to ride the track back in the early 90s my initial spastic-ness has only steeled my resolve to get back out there and get some confidence and laps under my belt. This is a one-of-a-kind facility here and I would be a moron if I let one, single, humbling experience drive me away from it.

Check them out on the web at boulderindoorcycling.com. If you’re in the area, you should definitely head out and give it a try. I can only imagine that people with no preconceptions about a track would fair better than I did – unless they’re aces on the boards, then I’m sure they’d be fine too.

Really, at this point I’m just glad that our team kits won’t be in until late January so that have time to I get some skills. I’d hate to make my guys look like bone-heads by association…

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Sunday was Riis’ birthday. I got him a Like-a-Bike. I had it in the basement workshop for about a month just waiting for the free-time to pimp it out for him. It never happened. That is definitely the failure part of things. The success part is that he loves the bike and rides it and tuns it around the house wearing the ‘Baby en Fuego’ helmet (a black Giro helmet with red flames on it). Sure, he loved all the presents and all the attention, but the bike was definitely the winner – Success. Also, the fact that so far I have been able to turn him into a bike nut like me (not that it took any actual effort) I also consider a success. 

The fact that when asked whether he liked bikes or balls more he said balls, well, I’m still not sure what to do with that…