So, today, I bring you a salute to something awesome about Blaine: The NSC Velodrome. Tonight is the first night of Thursday Night Lights for the 2013 season. It’s the 23rd season of racing at the Velodrome. Outdoor velodromes are rare, putting Blaine in an elite space in North America.
Another cool thing: The Velodrome offers programs to teach people to ride on a banked velodrome track, and have children’s programs starting around age 8 to get kids involved in the sport. Track bikes require constant pedaling to ride, let alone race — there is no coasting. Control is vital. Strategy varies depending on the race, which doesn’t always go to the quickest but to the cleverest.
Velodrome racers have won US and world championships in both youth and masters categories.
Similarly, the clever can certainly bike to the Velodrome, depending on their origin point (and willingness to be out after bedtime). Those who are able to connect to either Mississippi River Road in Minneapolis, or Long Lake Road from Roseville can develop several good routes with a minimum of risk to life or limb. Naturally, this being Blaine, there is abundant vehicular parking.
Racing begins at 7 and goes until it is done. Adults are $5, kids under 12 are free. Prizes are there to be won by spectators and racers. Snacks can be purchased.
Racing happens every Thursday night, weather permitting, through September. Several special events, including the Fixed Gear Classic and the Minnesota State Championships, occur throughout the season.
So get out there some Thursday. Bring your own cowbell.