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.