Friday, January 9, 2015

Keep the Velodrome Alive!

***A week after I wrote this post, an article came out in the Star and Tribune stating the velodrome would not be saved.  This is a sad day.

I remember the year the velodrome in Blaine, MN was built.  My dad brought me up there to watch the weekly races.  I was in awe to say the least.  While admiring the shear beauty of the wooden track, he told me stories of racing the old cement velodrome which was left to crumble, weeds growing through the cracks.

Although I don't live in Minnesota anymore, and the closest velodrome to me is now in Kenosha, I still keep up with what's happening in the MN scene.  When I read Anna Schwinn's updates on the condition of the Blaine track, and that it may be shut down if funds couldn't be raised, I was deeply saddened.  You see velodromes are a completely different cycling beast.  Track racing isn't something which can be done anywhere like road, urban or mountain biking.  The different principals train cyclists for on-road experience, but the thrill of being in a race or watching a race can be found no other place.

If you live in or near the Twin Cities, I urge you to give this sport a try.  There are so many riders who are more than happy to teach newbies, and there are loaner bikes so you don't have to invest in a track bike right from the get go.  For the women out there, Anna has done such an amazing job with forming an all female team called Koochella.  She, along with other riders, have taken the fear out of trying this great sport and have made a very welcoming community to new women in the track scene.  Along with riding, Anna has also spearheaded fundraising parties and work parties to keep the velodrome alive.

Today, I was delighted to see this post regarding the what seemed to be imminent closure of the track:

Dear trackies, enthusiasts, and supporters:
Happy New Year! Thank you all for what you've done in support of our fundraising drive. Since Thanksgiving, y'all have donated, partied, liked, retweeted, shared, and connected us with people. All of this has reminded us how special the track cycling community is.
In this time, we here at FOVR-MN have been hard at work raising money, bringing in corporate sponsorships, and figuring out a plan to repair and open the NSC Velodrome in the spring.
We have great news:
1. We have raised enough funds for a capital repair to the NSC Velodrome.
2. We are working with NSC Staff and Board to secure full approval for the repair from the NSCF Board of Directors. It's not certain - but we're optimistic.
3. In addition to a regular 2015 season, we are planning some exciting high-calibre events: including a new format for the Fixed Gear Classic, and a team pursuit clinic run by a member of the US National Team. Stay tuned and get excited for these events!
4. It's not all peaches and cream. There will be an ongoing need to continue raising money to fund operations and programming. So please continue to connect us with sponsorship opportunities and please continue partying at fundraiser parties - like the series of Roller Races that are coming up.
We'll keep working on it and will update you as things progress. Thanks for all your support!

-All of us here at FOVR-MN

Let the celebration resume, but to keep this cheer going, consider donating either money or labor to keep this thing alive!

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