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.