May 112008
 
Authors: Heidi Reitmeier

Student and community organizations are holding a six-day bicycle race on the Oval to promote awareness for the construction of a velodrome, a special bicycle racetrack, in downtown Fort Collins.

The races began Sunday, and the Fort Collins Velodrome Association will host a race each Sunday until June 15 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

“We created this race series to give people a taste of the thrill and excitement of track racing, on the closest thing we have at the moment,” said Tim Anderson, director of the FCVA, in a press release earlier this month.

A velodrome is a slanted oval track, where racers pit their speed, endurance and tactics against each other in multi-lap races.

The Velodrome Project, a FCVA program that pushes for the eventual construction of a velodrome in Fort Collins, hopes to gain support from the race.

“This six-day event is designed as an exhibition to develop, promote and gauge the community interest in track cycling competition,” Anderson said. “To get use of public land for such a facility, it will need to appeal to a broad population of cyclists and non-cyclists who enjoy it as spectators.”

The event is free of cost and is available to all levels of experience, skill and all ages. Spectators are welcomed and families are encouraged to bring a picnic to enjoy on the Oval.

“Having a sports arena in downtown Fort Collins would be a push in the right direction of coupling entertainment with fitness,” Grovenstein said. “I hope this event will demonstrate to the city planners just how interested this community is in this type of cycling.”

The six-day race kicked off on Sunday with a celebrity race that included Councilmen Ben Manvel, Diggs Brown, Wade Troxell, UniverCity’s Doug Johnson and Jim Clark of the Fort Collins Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Each Sunday, there will be many different races including races for kids and novices ,where cyclists can ride on anything from big wheels and tricyles to custom fixed-gear and freewheeling bicycles.

Velodrome racing has been a popular spectator sport for many years and has grown in popularity because of the green movement and the push to increase fitness and health, said Tirrel Grovenstein, vice president of Ram’s Cycles.

To participate in the event, racers must sign a waiver that can be found on the FCVA’s Web site.

Participants also need to complete a safety inspection before competing. These inspections are being provided free of charge at Lee’s Cyclery, just north of the Oval on College Ave., from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sundays before the races begin.

“I think the six-day race series is going to be an exciting event for Fort Collins and the surrounding area,” Grovenstein said. “Especially since it will be an opportunity to bring cyclists of all abilities and interests together.”

For more information about the event or to sign up as a volunteer, visit the FCVA’s Web site at www.fcvelodrome.org.

Staff writer, Heidi Reitmeier, can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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