Jul 212009
Authors: Lauren Leete

Though it will likely be a decade and a half before little Dashiell Fu will be able to attend college, he joined a group of his peers, proudly holding a medallion with CSU’s colors.

Standing next to his tiny two-wheel bicycle in the CSU Oval, little Dashiell Fu clasped the green and gold prize that hung from his neck.

Moments before, the 3-year-old first-time racer had started his first 50-meter race with a rainbow of different colored bicycles with and without training wheels. Event volunteers led the troupe of bicycles, which ranged from purple with glitter to yellow with black tribal art, around the Oval.

When asked if he enjoyed the race, Dashiell calmly swayed back and forth, holding his medal and said, “Yeah.”

Racers of all ages hit the pavement Sunday, embarking on the second day of CSU’s 6-Day Races at the CSU Oval, an annual event held by the CSU Rams cycling club to bring the local biking community together.

Some bikers call the Oval the “velodrome” of Fort Collins. A velodrome is an oval-shaped bicycle-racing track.

The second-annual event kicked off July 12, and is scheduled to continue every Sunday until August 16th, welcoming community members at any stage in their bicycling career.

Other racing divisions on the Oval included open juniors from ages 7 to 12 and 13 to 17, citizen men 18 and over, citizen women 18 and over, licensed men 18 and over and licensed women 18 and over.

The categories were further broken down depending on the type of bike used, like road or single speed. Additionally, the number of laps increased as the competition progressed to the second and third heat of the day.

A leader in the licensed men category on the Oval and experienced rider, Erick Carlson, said track-styled racing is “a lot shorter and more explosive” than road-styled racing. Competing for three years, he said the training for track racing is mainly centered on aerobics.

“(There are) so many sprints — short efforts . (It’s) being able to accelerate and recover,” Carlson said.

Unlike marathon races like the Tour de France, spectators can watch the entire race, lounging on a blanket or in a chair, sipping water and rooting for the competitors as they fight to cross the red-taped finish line.

From professional gear, like shoes with plastic cleats that click into the bike pedal, to an off-beat style, like playing cards weaved into the spokes of the tires, riders shot around the track, competing for not only the first position but also other prizes like massages and jars of green chili.

One competition required no racing at all, solely balance. Straddling the bike at rest with feet up on the pedals, participants tried to keep themselves from falling over for about 30 seconds with each five-second interval removing each hand one at a time then removing a foot from the pedal until no one was left standing.

Down to three players, the crowd cheered them on as they began to lift their first leg from one pedal. In a split-second only one was left standing and won a $10 prize.

This being his first competitive track event, Jim Flint, read about the opportunity to race in an article last week and was excited to try it. Coming from another discipline — basketball — Flint decided to pick up a different sport that’s easier on the knees: biking.

Wearing professional cleats and a Michelob Ultra jersey, Jim awaited the second heat in the 50-and-older division, newly formed that day to accommodate an older cyclist category. Commenting on his first experience track racing he said, “It’s a lot of fun. I hope it takes off.”

With techno music playing in the background, families and friends gathered to watch a community-centered event of some intense, sometimes comical, racing focused on promoting and encouraging the bicycling sport.

Staff writer Lauren Leete can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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