Where could you eat Icees and rub elbows with olympians?

At the velodrome! Mrs. Surlyrider and I hopped in the whip and headed off to Trexlertown this past Friday night to witness the twenty-fifth running of the Valley Prefered Cycling Center’s Keirin Cup. A night at the track is not to be missed especially when some of the worlds best Keirin racers would be in town trying to have their name etched in the vaulted cup.

There are no parking fees here, and very little tailgating. The crowd here wants to see the riders do their warm ups and see the jockeying that happens before the race. With a 10 spot dropped for the lady and I to see pro/international/olympic level riders we were off to the organic snack stand. The Rodale farm and offices are just down the street from the track, and throw their support behind the velodrome. We picked up the humus platter, some drinks and found our seats in the grand stand just in time for the start of the racing. Right from the start we saw Olympians Giddion Massie Bobby Lea, of course Marty Nothstein. If these guys played ball sports instead, it would have cost $50 and we would have been sitting in the nosebleeds, but this is cycling, and sometimes you could just rub elbows with the some of the best in the world. Not too bad.

The Keirin racing style is pretty awesome. The tactics involved are great. Some of the riders could win with just hanging on along the motor bike and then keeping the lead, but some folks just hang off the back and then attack from there which gives them the chance to see everyone’s move. There was some great moves, but in just the first race Giddeon took off from the back of the pack and just decimated the group. It was great to see a local guy do so well so early in the night. The rest of the night seemed to belong to the guys from the New Zeland team and the woman of the Dutch team. The Dutch dominance made my wife pretty proud of her ancestry and I think for a second there was a glimmer of thought that she would be a good track cyclist, then she remembered that you have to go fast in a tight group, which she does not really love to do.

With a few of the prelim rounds done, and a couple of rain clouds making their move over the Trexlertown farm land, the first intermission was called so we retreated under the stands to watch the members of the Lehigh Valley Youth Drumline perform for the crowd.

Through the intermission and along to the first few races, we dodged the rain drops and made our way over to the snack stand again to check out the organic Icee or shaved ice desert. To be honest, once I got past the slight medicine flavor, it was not all that bad, and considering that the flavoring was all natural, it made us feel a bit better. With our ice in had, we joined the rest of the locals hanging along the walls. Folks come out with their own chairs and just make a family night of banging the boards and cheering on the riders. Most of these folks are not cyclists, and in any other setting, you could never imagine seeing them out on a Friday night watching folks in spandex riding in circles. I guess it is more or less NASCAR without the fumes and beer sponsorships.

We spent the rest of the night between walking along the boards and sitting back in our seats. The Madison race was my favorite of the night. I love the tactics in this race a bit more than the other races, plus the power to sling your teammate along after 30 or so sprint laps is pretty impressive.There was a miss and out for both genders, a massive keirin for both genders, along a juniors keirin, and juniors handicap race. All of the races were fantastic to watch, and most were close contests.

The Dutch and the New Zelanders pulled off the win with awesome races in the Keirin finals. (results are for other folks, not me) They had the cup presented to them by Katsushi Kodera, the Euro representative of the Japaneese Keirin Association which was pretty cool to have at the event.

Check out the other events at the velodrome and look at some pictures that Anthony sweated out the night capturing. Also, read Bucks County Woman whos editor Janine and I have been following each other on twitter and we finally got to meet in person.


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