8/29/2011: A Trip to the Velodrome

I have been promising The Boy a chance to see the bike racing at the Redmond Velodrome since before I left for Ireland. Unfortunately, as my 12 Loyal Readers know (and you realize that even if I had 100,000 Loyal Readers, 12 would still make me laugh), I returned with Brontosaurus-Sized Bronchitis. Finally, after much bugging on his part, I agreed to take him to the Monday night races.

At the Velodrome, Fridays are the big race nights, but The Boy is normally at his dad’s on Fridays. Wednesdays are the second biggest nights, but… well, you get the picture. Monday was it, custody-schedule wise. But Monday was also our company picnic. Fortunately, the bike races start at seven, which allowed plenty of time for me to sit through a full day of staff meetings, go fetch The Boy, bring him over to bounce a bit in the rented bouncy castle and hang out with my co-workers’ kids and then… off to Redmond we went. Mama was a bit tired at this point, but we had purchased some grapes, for sustenance.

We parked in the furthest lot I could find at Marymoor Park, and rode the quarter mile over to the Velodrome. It wasn’t very busy, as the races were mostly Junior level races. There were three Junior levels, Cat 4 men, and something called “Madison” races. I still, after reading about them online, don’t understand exactly what these last races entail, except that they involve two people and hand-offs during the race.

Before each race, the contestants line up along the railing.

They ride one lap, then the ref blows his whistle and they start to actually race.

We stayed for the first four races, and at first, The Boy was quite intrigued.

Note the paramedic, who is on hand in case things go badly.

Being seven, The Boy’s attention span is limited, and he wanted to “race” his own bike around before darkness overtook us. We stopped on our way out at the edge of the top of the track’s curve, to watch the Madison racers coming straight at us.

This was quite a thrill, actually.

Then we headed over to the parking lot next door, which had been the site of a dog show earlier in the day, but was now completely empty. It was a very large parking lot.

That tiny red dot over by the climbing pinnacle is The Boy, racing. Though he wanted more “fast” out of his mama, there is a limit to what a vintage Raleigh powered by a vintage person can do. I have had too many scraped knees to throw all caution to the wind. But we did do some figure eights and a bit of chasing.

Much fun was had in the end. I think he’d like to go back next year, on a more exciting night, and see some more racing. Does he want to race? He’s not sure. It looked “scary,” but he was intrigued.

And he asked for slicks on his bike again. Next summer, I may have to oblige.

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4 Responses to 8/29/2011: A Trip to the Velodrome

  1. Auchen says:

    Does he want to race? Does a bear __ in the woods?
    That picture of him standing with his bike watching longingly as the racers go by just breaks your heart :-(

  2. rideblog says:

    He’ll be persuaded I think, Auchen. They “rent” the bikes to younger racers as part of the program. They can start at 9. In two years, I can see him being all over this, frankly.

  3. They start at 9 – wow, didn’t realise it was that early. Very curious whether your son will still be interested in 2 years time. It’s wonderful that you live near the Velodrome and were able to take him to it; exciting to see the pictures too. I really miss living close to the Velodrome in Vienna. It was so close I could ride the track bike to it along a quiet park path : ( Well, maybe in another lifetime I will be a track star, but for now I will enjoy the photos!

  4. rideblog says:

    V, he’s so changable… I wonder what two years’ time will do, too. I could see it going either way: his interest could vastly increase, or drop off altogether as Mama’s interests become less and less cool. Right now, he’s all about chess, so who knows. Last week it was wanting guitar lesssons!

    We’re still a good 30 minutes drive from the Velodrome. The area here is so suburban and traffic is so bad that small distances become long journeys. My work is 11 miles from my house, but can be a 1.5 hour drive. Redmond is about 15 miles, but even on a good day, I have to negotiate two freeways. Stooopid left coast :). We’ll go sometimes next year, but the distance alone will prevent any hardcore regular bike race watching. Fortunately, if he does decide to do it, the races are during the summer, when we don’t have baseball or soccer or chess club or…

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