Sunday, July 28, 2013

Back to the Giordana Velodrome

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Taking a short break in the infield of the track.

 Monday, was my day off work. I was able to make the trip to the Giordana Velodrome in Rock Hill, SC. It takes an little over an hour and a half to two hours to drive there from Winston-Salem, NC. Traffic more than anything else is what determines how long it takes to make the trip. Charlotte, NC and it's surrounding sprawl, is where driving is a headache. 

Monday was a great day to ride on the track. It was cloudy and a little windy when I started warming up on the track. The wind was a little tough on the back stretch of the track, but as my ride time wore on the wind died down and conditions were great. Not to hot and best of all NO RAIN!

To get things going I rode just above the stayer's line for twenty laps. The stayer's line is a blue line approximately in the middle of the track. It doesn't really mean anything. The line is just a point of reference.  If you are just riding around on the track, like I was doing for my first twenty laps, riders are suppose to stay around the stayer's line. I rode just above it. 

Once I was warmed up, I climbed high on the banking and then accelerated to the black measurement line at the bottom of the track. The top of the track, next to the rail, is called the rail. When you climb up to the rail and are about to sweep down the track, you yell out rail. Yelling out rail lets other riders on the track know what you are about to do and to look out for you as you accelerate down the banking. The black measurement line, at the bottom of the track, is where the track is measured to be two hundred and fifty meters around the track. In between turn one and two is a white line indicating that it is two hundred meters to the finish line. I alternated between doing flying two hundred meter efforts and just riding around the track. Hard efforts take a lot out of you. So after going all out for two hundred meters I was just riding at a speed that felt comfortable on the track.

There is not a start line on a velodrome. There is a finish line. There is no need for a starting line, because the banking is to steep to allow riders to line up on a line to start an event. 

For over twenty years I have wanted to try out just riding on a velodrome. It was a dream come true when they built a track close enough for me to occasionally travel to for a day of riding.

 In the early 1990s I put together a track bike and planned to go to the Dick Lane Velodrome in Eastpoint, GA. (Atlanta, GA) My work schedule just never allowed me to make the six hour drive to the Dick Lane Velodrome. 

In January 2005 I realized while driving to Boston that I was passing by the Lehigh Valley Velodrome. I had a road bike with me so I drove to the location of the Lehigh Track and changed into riding gear. I rode my bike to the local bike shop and asked for information on the track. I found out that the Lehigh track is located in a public park. The Bob Rodale Park. I rode over there and rode right onto the track. After a few laps it dawned on me that my road bike was not designed to ride on a track. The bottom bracket was way to low and if I kept riding I would most likely hit a pedal on the track's surface and crash. It was thirty two degrees and there were a few light snow flurries at the time. If I had an accident no one would find me for days. I quickly rode off the track and went for a couple of hours ride on the roads of Pennsylvania.

 I kept in the back of my mind that idea of getting on a velodrome and learning more about the bikes and riding on a track. Now that there the Giordana Velodrome is close enough for one day rides, I'll make the trip to Rock Hill as often as I can.
The Giordana Velodrome

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My good friend Abner stopped by to visit me at Ken's Bike Shop today. Abner is an amazing cancer survivor.

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Abner and I

  • Twenty one years ago I had a bad bicycle accident on the Shallowford Bridge. When I finally stopped sliding I was next to the guard rail. I had been sliding where there were a lot of broken beer bottles. I had a broken collar bone, numerous other injuries and was torn all to pieces.

    Abner came along in his blue Mitsibushi pick-up truck, and put me and my bicycle in his truck. He drove me to the emergency room at Forsyth Hospital and got a wheel chair. Once he got me in the wheel chair he quickly rolled me right into the emergency room. 

    It is always good to see Abner. I can never thank him enough for his kindness to me. I was a complete stranger to him at the time!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Thank goodness for early morning rides!

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This morning I rode my Trek Madone 6.5
With all the afternoon thunderstorms we have had this year, early morning rides have been my best rides of all. The days are already getting shorter, so I have to ride quickly to get my twenty mile loop done in time to get to work.
I've been riding this loop for over twenty years now. There have been many houses, a hospital and a couple of schools built on it in the last few years. Traffic has increased significantly. One intersection, that used to be an easy crossroads out in the country, now has a stop light with many lanes going all directions.
One of my favorite parts of the ride is cutting through Tanglewood Park. You can be pretty confident that you will see a couple of deer each and every time you pass through the park. This morning I saw a spotted fawn grazing on the side of the road.
When I got to the road leading out of the back gate, I came across a tree fallen across the road. That shows just how much rain we have had this spring.
If I can get my morning ride in, I don't feel bad if I get rained out in the evening. Keep your fingers crossed for good weather in the morning!

The daily siteing of deer in Tanglewood Park.

A tree across the back way out of Tanglewood
Below is a video of an early morning ride in June on Harper Road outside of Clemmons, NC. The music is "I'm going home" by John Lee Hooker.

In the video below; The Black Crowes perform "My Morning Song"