May 20

What is a Velodrome?

A velodrome is a gathering place. A gathering place where individuals show up and become part of a like-minded tribe. A tribe of people with a desire to stay fit, improve themselves mentally and physically, and compete against themselves and their fellow racers. I should at this point admit, I have yet to set foot inside of a velodrome. But I have been racing bicycles on and off of the road for more than a decade and that’s what I’ve seen at the races I’ve attended and competed in. For many types of racing, the participants travel to a different locale, and race a different course, week by week. While variety can be the spice of life, sometimes it is sad that we only visit many of our venues but once per year, and some years we may not be able to go to our favorites. A velodrome is different however, in that it is a place of permanence, like a home. There is a certain level of comfort in returning to the same venue again and again, over a long period of time. Comfort in the physical form of becoming familiar with the nuances of a given race course. And mental comfort in feeling a connection to the place itself, the people who inhabit it, and creating memories of both.

The Sacramento Valley is one of the greatest areas for cycling in the entire country. I’m a lifelong No-Cal and feel lucky to live in an area where I can take part in virtually any type of riding I wish to do. Yet our closest velodrome is far away in San Jose. I have many teammates who make the trek through the bay area to get their chance to go around in circles on the high banks of Hellyer Park Velodrome. But I can hardly wait for the day when I can walk out my front door and have my wheels on a banked track within the hour. I was so excited at the prospect of a local velodrome that I started looking for a track bike on ebay and Craiglist. I’m 6’6”, so finding a track bike in my size is not easy. But after many months of searching I finally managed to procure a lovely, steel LeMond Fillmore that fits me like a glove, and was a heck of a deal. I’m part of the Sacramento Valley Velodrome Association because I want the sport I love to have a permanent home in Sacramento. Not just for the velodrome, but for the other disciplines which will make up this new cycling complex, like Cyclocross, BMX, Mountain Biking and Criterium Racing. I didn’t start taking cycling seriously until my 30’s. A complex like this would give access to people of all ages and abilities, from near and far, and only further the Sacramento area’s status as one of greatest cycling regions to be found anywhere. I can’t wait for my first lap around the velodrome.

Apr 17

Come Celebrate the Start of the Amgen Tour with Us!

This May Sacramento will once again host the start of the Amgen Tour of California. The Sacramento Valley Velodrome Association is celebrating this year’s start by hosting a Pre-Amgen Tour VIP Cocktail Party on May 7, 2015. Event participants will have the opportunity to meet and talk with three pro cyclists; Lawson Craddock (Giant-Alpecin), Kiel Riejnen (United Health Care), and Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin). It will be held at a private residence in Sacramento’s Land Park neighborhood and catered by Formoli’s Bistro, a Wall Street Journal pick as one of the best places to eat in the country.

In addition to lots of delicious appetizers there will also be a full bar. The cost of the event is $125 per person or $250 per couple. This causal attire event will run from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. If you would like to come and support our endeavor to build, not only a velodrome, but an entire bicycling park here in Sacramento please contact the SVVA Board of Directors at

This is a tax-deductible contribution — SVVA is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation.

Apr 17

The SVVA Board of Directors is Growing!

The Sacramento Valley Velodrome Association has recently expanded its Board of Directors. The current board welcomed aboard Christine Folck, Stephen Stuart, Jim Cordano, Steve Goodwin, and Derek Byrne.

These new additions to the board bring along with them valuable experience in innovation, marketing, land development, social media, and business development. The combined skill-set of the now nine-member board will be essential to the success of the association’s ultimate goal of bringing a world-class cycling complex to the Sacramento area.

If you would like to support the SVVA Board please contact us at And don’t forget to like our Facebook page and follow us on twitter @SacVelodrome

Apr 17

What is a Velodrome Track?

According to Webster:

ve_lo_drome (noun): a cycle-racing track, typically with steeply banked curves. Oval shaped, consisting of two 180 degree turns connected by two straights. (Yes, I was as shocked as you are to discover a dictionary in my house.) Ok, so we have a textbook definition, but does that actually tell us what a velodrome is? Not really. Maybe this will help…

When I was 15 I got to teach my 12-year-old brother how to shave his legs — I don’t think many sisters can say that. He said it would make him faster on the velodrome track. I thought he was crazy, but I saw the joy on his face when he locked his shoes into his bicycle peddles and slowly began to cruise around the track on the lightest of bikes, with no gears and no brakes, never faltering. He would start off slowly following the pacer motorcycle, with all of the riders falling into line. Then after a slow lap the motorcycle pacer would leave the track and the pack of cyclists would take off like a bullet, with the capability of reaching speeds in excessive of 52.8mph (85 km/h). The gust of wind the cyclists created would often push me back as they raced by me, standing behind the wall where the other spectators stood at the top of the track. It was an incredible sight to see! The checker flag would go up and a winner would be announced. And the cyclists would slowly cycle down the track and ease to a stop. Congratulations would be shared just as easily as tips and tricks.

My brother raced for the pure joy of it – never as a pro, but loving the sport more and more as he aged. The joy on his 12-year-old face was the same as the joy on his 35-year-old face when he locked his shoes into his peddles. I attended almost every one of his races. The excitement, the thrill…. nothing, for me, could compare to this sport!

That is what a velodrome track is to me. What does a velodrome track mean to you? Write us and let us know. We just might share your story in one of our upcoming blogs.

Jul 30

Executive Director, Dean Alleger Resigns

The Sacramento Valley Velodrome Association (SVVA) extends its gratitude to Dean Alleger, our founder, for accomplishing so much over the last three years. Dean built a coalition of community supporters, secured land for our site, and created the foundation needed to launch a successful Capital Campaign. As Dean departs the SVVA its Board of Directors thanks him for his tireless efforts and vision, and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. Dean’s vision will be realized at the grand opening of the Velodrome.

For questions or to help build a velodrome please contact:
Heath Langle
President, SVVA Board of Directors
(916) 505-6600

Jun 02

This Thursday! June 5th!!! Eric Ratinoff’s #Network4Cause

Rub elbows with some of our movers and shakers!!!

Register Today at Eventbrite


Eric Ratinoff -  Network4Cause Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff

Eric Ratinoff – Network4Cause Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff

Heath Langle - BOD SVVA President

Heath Langle – SVVA BOD President

Dean "Dino" Alleger - SVVA Executive Director

Dean “Dino” Alleger – SVVA Executive Director









You are invited to attend #Network4Cause, benefiting Sacramento Valley Velodrome Association!!!

Every month, Eric Ratinoff hosts #Network4Cause and sponsors a local charity, in an effort to contribute and raise awareness to his favorite causes, while promoting advocacy and leadership through community networking.

FREE Registration Includes:

* Access to Local Professionals, Leaders, and Advocates

* Networking with other young professionals & local businesses

* Light Appetizers served from 5:30-7pm

* “Cocktails for a Cause” A percentage of drink purchases will benefit SVVA

* Silent Auction featuring a Specialized Langster track bike generously donated by Kinetic Cycles

Please join us at the beautiful Mayahuel Restaurant & Bar in downtown Sacramento, for an evening of networking for a cause. Event is free, but registration is limited – register today, invite a friend, and share!

Get Social!

Use the hashtag #Network4Cause and Tweet us at: @EricRatinoff @AngelaRunsAmuck @SacVelodrome 


Thank you for your continued support!

Cheers! Dino




Apr 09

CHEETAH: The Nelson Vails Story

Dear Cycling Enthusiasts, Bicycle Racing Fans, Prospective Donors and Volunteers,

Tickets have been released for a red carpet premiere screening of “Cheetah: The Nelson Vails Story” at the beautiful Crest Theater on Saturday, May 10th, the evening before the opening stage of the Amgen Tour of California. Nelson will be in attendance , Lagunitas Brewing Co will be featured in the no-host snack bar, and the Harley White Jr. Trio will play in the lobby from 6-7:00 PM! Please mark your calendar and look for updates and details regarding other SVVA/Tour of California weekend activities to be released soon! Proceeds will benefit the Sacramento Valley Velodrome Association.

Over the last couple of decades bicycle racing, and to a large degree recreational cycling, has become cost prohibitive to those of us with little to no disposable income. Building a community based cycling center where folks can throw their leg over a $200 rental bike will bring cycling back to the people. We can’t think of a better spokesman to this cause than Nelson Vails.

Tickets are available at

The Sacramento Valley Velodrome Association (SVVA) was incorporated in 2011 as a California non-profit and enjoys tax-free status under IRS code 501c(3). It was established to build a national competition quality bicycle racetrack, or velodrome, in the Sacramento area. The facility will provide opportunities to train and develop youth for bicycle racing, competitive events to generate tourism activity and recreational events to promote fitness among the community. Importantly, the velodrome provides a safe and controlled environment for youth and families. To date, SVVA has gained the support of Sacramento City District 6 Councilman Kevin McCarty, the Sacramento Parks Department, and Separovich/Domich Real Estate Development and is moving forward with a plan to build at Granite Regional Park.

Furthermore SVVA will…

• Create an inclusive, inspirational, and empowering youth program to build strong bodies and strong minds with an emphasis on underserved teens;
• Develop programs where beginner, intermediate, elite, and para-cycling athletes of all ages can enhance physical health, build personal character, and gain self-awareness;
• Provide solid leadership and track management through commitment to excellence and exemplary governance and business policies;
• Establish comprehensive coaches training to ensure services of the highest standard for leadership, fair play, and integrity in sport;
• Implement comprehensive risk management policies and guidelines to ensure the best practices for safety;
• Leverage the exciting action of track racing to build a large following of spectators and ensure grandstands with every seat occupied.

Thank you for your consideration and support!


Apr 02

Save the Date!

Click here to order your tickets!

Ticket sales are up and running for a red carpet premier screening of “Cheetah: The Nelson Vails Story” at the beautiful Crest Theater on Saturday evening May 10th. Nelson will be in attendance and Lagunitas Brewing Company will be featured in the no-host bar! Please mark your calendars and look for updates and details to be released soon! We are also planning some outreach with the Police Activities League, a Go Ride with Nelly, and will participate in the Lifestyle Festival at the Sacramento and Folsom stages of the Amgen Tour of California!

Thank you for your continued support!

Sincerely, Dino

Mar 19

SVVA Joins the Power Inn Alliance

After recently completing our 501c3 tax exempt status with the IRS and gaining the blessing of Director of Parks and Recreation Jim Combs, Parks Principal Planner Mary de Beauvieres, and District 6 Councilmember Kevin McCarty, as well as the interest of Dain Domich and Sally Freedlander of Separovich/Domich Real Estate Development and CPM Property Management, we decided to finally join the Power Inn Alliance. The Power Inn Alliance is a coalition of over 1,100 businesses and property owners in the Power Inn area of Sacramento, California. The Alliance advocates for business, transportation and community through its primary objectives: Advocacy, Economic Development, Beautification, Security and Crime Abatement, Transportation, Business Networks.

Last week we attended their 20th Annual Awards Luncheon with our newly elected Board President Heath Langle and Board Advisor Michael Sayers. We were pleasantly surprised when Alliance Executive Director/CEO Jerry Vorpahl asked us to stand and announced that we are building a velodrome in Granite Regional Park with the help of Dain Domich and the Power Inn Alliance. A few minutes later Councilmember Kevin McCarty got up and assured us of the continued support from his office as well.

The luncheon was held at the Depot Park Conference Center, was well run by Event Manager Jamie Szutowicz and expertly catered by Hannibal’s Catering & Events. The program moved right along and the awesome beer and wine poured by New Glory Craft Brewery was a nice touch. We participated in the networking session prior to the event and met several local business leaders that are also interested in seeing a velodrome built at Granite Regional Park.

Community support is rapidly growing for our project and we are super excited to be moving forward with our dream to build a world class facility at Granite Regional Park. Thank you for your continued support.


Dino, Executive Director

Power Inn Aliance Events Manager Jamie Szotowicz and CEO Jerry Vorpahl

Events Manager Jamie Szotowicz and CEO Jerry Vorpahl

SVVA Director Dean Alleger and President Heath Langle

SVVA Director Dean Alleger and President Heath Langle

Mar 12

Track Racing 101

Riders on the rail

Track racing is a pretty simple sport, but for new racers and spectators it can seem a bit complicated due to the number different events. So, in this post we’ll briefly discuss the various races you might see in the Olympics, a World Cup, or a Friday night at your local velodrome. This article will serve to provide an over view and in subsequent articles we’ll go into detail and provide pictures and video examples.

I like to divide the racing into three categories: Time Trials, Mass Starts, and Sprints. There are two basic types of riders: Sprinters and Endurance riders, but don’t be fooled by these types, as sprinters must have decent endurance and endurance riders must be able to sprint to survive 3-6 day competitions. Some sprint riders participate in endurance events and some endurance riders will do sprint events. Also, racers are divided into gender groups, ability categories, age groups, and various groups of para-cyclists. I have raced against, and been beaten by youths, women, senior citizens, a couple of hearing impaired hooligans, and a para-cyclist with one good leg.

Time Trials – timed with a stopwatch or electronic trip timing

The Time Trials have two kinds of starts: the standing start where the rider is held by a volunteer or commissaire (a cycling term for referee) or a starting gate. The flying start is where the rider gets up to speed and is timed over a specified distance.

The standing start events are the Individual Pursuit (3 or 4 kilometers), Team Pursuit (also 3 or 4 kilometers), the Kilo/500m (for some age groups there is sometimes a 750 meter option), and the Team Sprint (2 or three riders start together and each rider breaks the wind for one lap then drops out.

The flying time trials are usually a Flying 200 meter effort or a Flying Lap. They are usually given 2-3 laps to wind it up for the timed portion. The Flying 200 is usually just used for seeding sprint tournaments, more on those later.

Mass Starts – everyone starts together and races a specified distance.

There are four common mass start events: the Scratch Race, the Points Race, the Madison, and the Miss and Out. Each race has its own set of rules and scoring systems. The number of riders allowed on a track in mass start events is roughly one per ten meters. So, on a 250 meter velodrome they will allow 24 or 25 riders to make a mass start.

The Scratch race is like a NASCAR race where the first rider across the line is the winner and is usually contested over 15 km for men and 10 km for women.

The Points race is a bit more complicated and is an exquisitely tactical discipline that is contested over a longer distance, usually 40 km for men and 25 km for women at major events. The final result is determined according to points gained during sprints (one every 10 laps on a 250 meter track) and when a rider manages to lap the rest of the field. During the sprints the four lead riders get points 5 for first, 3 for second, 2 for third, and 1 for fourth. Any rider or small group of riders that gain a lap are awarded 20 points for their effort.

The Madison is a points race for teams of two riders each. It’s kind of like a relay race or a tag team wrestling match. While one team member races, the other slows down to take a rest. When he or she rejoins the race, his or her teammate throws him or her into the action with a hand sling. The classification is established according to the distance covered and the points won in the sprints (every 20 laps). The Madison is held over distances of 25-50 kilometers, depending on the competition.

The Miss and Out is like a game of musical chairs where the last rider to cross the line is eliminated from the race every 2 laps on a 250 meter velodrome (every lap on longer tracks). When just a handful of riders remain, they sprint for the finish. This race is also called the Elimination Race or Devil Takes the Hindmost as an exciting tactic for a good sprinter is to ride at the back and sprint past the second to last rider just before the finish line.

Sprints – short, exciting races, that are often very tactical

The two most common sprinting events are the Match Sprint and the Keirin. Sprinters are riders gifted with a high percentage of fast twitch muscles and often resemble NFL fullbacks or speed skaters with massive glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Contrary to popular belief, elite track sprinters are among the leanest athletes on the planet.

Match Sprints are a very tactical event in which two riders try to outmaneuver each other. Sometimes riders will come to a standstill in an effort to make their opponent take the lead, which is the least advantageous position before the final sprint to the finish line. Unlike track and field sprinting events where runners sprint flat out from the whistle, match sprints start slowly and play a bit of cat and mouse. Sprint tournaments start with a Flying 200 meter individual time trial. The top riders are seeded in the following rounds, meaning the fastest qualifier will face the slowest qualifier and so on. The number of riders that qualify for the match sprint rounds depends on the competition; in World Cup competitions, 16 riders will advance and in a world championship, 24 riders will advance.

The Keirin is a race that originated in Japan and is contested over 2 km, the field of three to eight riders follows a pacing motorbike at an increasing speed, all the while jostling for position. When the motorbike pulls off the track with two and a half laps to go, the battle begins to win the sprint to the finish. Keirins are contested in heats similar to a sprint tournament. Usually the top two riders of each heat advance directly to the final while lesser placing riders move into more qualifying heats until enough riders are eliminated to make for a final of up to eight riders. There is nothing quite as spectacular in bicycle racing than eight massive riders thundering along at 40 miles per hour in a tight pack.

I realize this overview provides a ton of information to chew on but rest assured we will provide pictures and videos and more in-depth descriptions in subsequent postings. Until then:

Head down, eyes up, elbows out!

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