The day after my first dizzying ride on the Cleveland Velodrome, I went to work feeling like I had a hangover. If this was how I would feel after riding on the track, then there was no way I could keep doing it. It would be a case of “did it once, it was cool, but it wasn’t really for me.”
I emailed my wife, on deployment in the Air Force Reserves. She’s had to deal with air sickness in situations a lot worse than riding around a velodrome. It gets better, she said. Or maybe it’s more like, you get used to it, not sure which.
That didn’t exactly make me feel better, but I needed to find out if I could do it. So I went back for some “hair of the dog”. The next day.
“Don’t look down at the track”, Brett told me. “Look out ahead. If you’re coming into the turn you should be looking at the exit. Don’t stare at the wheel in front of you.”
Simple instructions, and it made all the difference. I rode by myself for a while, then jumped on to the back of a paceline as it came by. After 90 minutes worth of riding, I had only a few moments of mild discomfort.
I went back on Tuesday. And again on Thursday (4 times in 5 days). There’s something addictive about being on the early part of the learning curve.
The state championship race was scheduled for Saturday. I never thought I would be ready to do something like that so soon. But they were all individual events — no mass start races. And we practiced them Thursday evening, so I knew I could at least get around the track. Why not?
One week after riding the track for the first time, I was pinning on a number. By the end of the day I had a couple medals and a jersey.
Then I started looking online for a track bike. And wrote a check to make a donation and join the Founders Club.
Kudos to the people who did all the hard work to make this happen. This has to be one of the coolest things in Cleveland.
You can donate via the website: http://clevelandvelodrome.org/