Thursday, October 29, 2020

Further Evidence Of My Insanity

I expect too much of West Bend and Washington County, I really do. Wherever there are woods, I see a mountain bike trail. Wherever there’s a park, I see a cyclocross course. And now, despite my best efforts to ignore it, I see a velodrome. It’s already there; we could have it up and running in no time.

Sitting on 1⅓ acres in the northeast corner of Sandy Knoll County Park is an old ice skating rink that hasn’t been used in decades. In the absence of operating funds from the county budget, Washington County Parks is very motivated to find new ways to generate user fees from its properties. Simply by setting its lawnmower blades a little lower, the county could turn this neglected nook into a very serviceable 250-meter velodrome. A grass surface? Yes, and why not? It would hardly be unique. If you want a wooden track you’ll have to go indoors, and an outdoor-friendly asphalt surface would be expensive to construct and to maintain. Grass is also a more forgiving place to land in a crash, of which there are no shortages in track racing. Perhaps the biggest drawback at Sandy Knoll is the absence of banked corners: we’re talking about flat turns. With a lot of landscaping you could sort that out, but you would forever be maintaining those berms. I imagine Sandy Knoll as a practice-only track, not as a venue for sanctioned races. The limitations are too great to overcome in any realistic scenario, and even in the most idealistic scenario I don’t think there’s much demand. But there is parking nearby, and nice bathrooms …

Is this something for the fat bike crowd, maybe? Wait for snow, pack it down, set out some traffic cones, let ’er rip? Sprints and pursuits (both individual and team) could work well for fat bikes on packed snow. I can imagine that. I wouldn’t do it, but I would show up with extra beer! Anybody want to run with this idea?

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