An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
Comments welcome!

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Wild Idea...

I live in the Pacific Northwest, sometimes referred to as the Pacific Northwet. Moss is our biggest crop. Slugs are our single most numerous fauna.

It's said that people move to this area because they visit during the summer. All two weeks of it.

Okay, that's a bit of a stretch. Summers here are awesome. Not too hot, bluest-of-blue skies, green mountains... Of course people who live here realize those mountains are green because it RAINS the rest of the year.

Still, the bike racing scene is a year-round affair, with road racing from February to September (and it truly sucks until you get well into April), cyclocross from September through November (the more mud the better), mountain biking pretty much all year, track racing from late May into early September (though it's hit-and-miss until July 10th or so).

Track riders either cross over to another discipline or get fat. Or both, in some cases. There is a subset of track riders that don't ride on the road. At all. But the Marymoor velodrome is outdoors... The only indoor 'drome anywhere near here is Burnaby, BC (that's Canadia, for the geographically challenged). That makes cycling at best a seasonal affair.

So I have this wild idea. How about another indoor velodrome? I've always wanted to have one. Or at least have one available. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

You see, there's this abandoned huge warehouse near me, and I think it'd be PERFECT. It used to house a Lowe's Home and Garden, but they moved to a new-and-larger location (just across the street, taking out a big chunk of forest and trails... ) a year or so ago, and this building has stood empty since. A Top Foods grocery store right next door, Wal-Mart within a quarter mile, a mall just a couple blocks away. Good parking, could easily house a 250m track with room for stands, a bike shop, a frame building shop (hehe), a food vendor (a local donut shop has expressed interest in the building as well, though he wants to open it as a BMX track)... Could even do 'cross races with some creative course work (see that video I posted just a couple days ago).

I talked with the owner of the bike shop where I work, and he's got some ideas on cost, though having the loan note overhead could be daunting. Insurance could be an issue as well (one reason I'm not too keen on a BMX venue).

We've got some feelers out on interest for the venue as an indoor velodrome...

It's a wild idea, and it may not go anywhere, but I think it's worth pursuing.


Chris Bonner said...

As another resident of South Hill, surely you must know that local interest in a velodrome is nonexistent (if you want to ask the man-in-the-street of Pierce Co., first you'd have to explain what a velodrome is). Do you think people would travel from Portland, Olympia, Seattle, etc. would travel to race/spectate? Serious question.

brider (aka David) said...

Certainly a valid question. I know there are many riders in the south end who don't ride the track simply because of the drive to Redmond or Portland. Given a track nearby, they would ride. Also, with a track available through the fall, winter, and spring, many track riders would make the drive for an indoor velodrome. As for spectators, that is something that followed by several years at Marymoor. I don't expect John Q. Public to be savvy to track riding (heck, most of them would just as soon ALL bikes be banned), but revenues generated and funds brought into the area are good for every one. I don't know if anything will come of it -- as I said, this is just in the wild idea stage. I have some other thoughts kicking around. Something is going to stick.