Anyone who’s learned to ski or snowboard in Northeast Ohio has probably heard this from an instructor: if you can learn to ski on the Ohio ice, you can ski pretty much anywhere.
We’ve heard something similar with the Cleveland Velodrome. If you can ride the 50-degree banking, you can ride any other track you’ll come across (except for maybe the Red Bull Minidrome).
But is it true? I got a chance to test it at a recent trip to the Giordana Velodrome in Rock Hill, SC.
Walking onto the infield, my first impression was that it felt more like a NASCAR track than a velodrome. It seemed so … spacious.
And expensive. To get to the infield you go down an elevator and walk through a tunnel that brings you outside. No running across the track, dodging riders.
I felt a bit jealous.
And I have to say, it was “easier” to ride than our home track. I noticed it even more after coming home and going for a ride. It was easier to ride on the black line around the whole track, easier to ride a parallel line up higher around the track. And there’s just more room.
That’s not to say that easier is better. I’m sure there is some advantage in learning on a more challenging track. And I feel lucky that we have a track, period.
While there I did an all-day clinic that certified me to race on their track. And they had racing that evening. More on that later.
Interesting tidbit: people who work just a mile away from the velodrome didn’t even know it existed. Since the address doesn’t show up on GPS, I stopped to ask for directions at 2 different gas stations. Neither knew where it was (and it was literally less than a mile away). I think they might need to work on PR.
This happens at work a lot: what at first appears to be a unique (and brilliant) idea turns out to be neither new nor brilliant.
What ends up being important then is the execution.
Faced with a refrigerator full of leftover Thanksgiving food, and not really wanting to repeat the same meal, I thought I had this novel idea: make a Thanksgiving Leftover Pizza.
The idea was not met with enthusiasm.
But I persisted, and I must say, it was really good. On top of the pizza dough were mashed potatoes mixed with goat cheese, stuffing, turkey, and shredded smoked gouda (ok, that last one was not a leftover).
After doing a bit of googling, I realized that this was in fact not a new idea. Tons of people have done it.
But mine came out way better than this one:
Cleveland tends to be known for some rather unfortunate things: burning river, The Drive, LeBron jilting, things like that. But we take those things in stride. If you live in Cleveland, you’ve got to have a thick skin.
Last week I made a trip down south, in part to do a clinic at the velodrome in Rock Hill, SC. I mentioned that I had driven down from Cleveland, and that we had a track that opened in August. Someone said, “oh yeah, I saw that video where the guy came off the track before the apron was built. That was awesome!”.
After the clinic they had scheduled racing. I was talking with someone, and they asked where I was from. I said Cleveland.
He said, “Shaun Wallace sent me a video of the guy coming off the track when it was being built. That was hilarious”
I didn’t ask, but I assumed he meant Shaun Wallace, the former Olympic track racer from Great Britain.
So even former Olympians have seen the “less than graceful exit”.