Events: Cycledrome Criterium
(2017) Laurence Gonzales mentioned in his hit book, Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why, when cars were outfitted with anti-locking braking systems, accidents actually increased. People relied on the ABS to take the place of their driving acumen. It’s proof that the illusion of safety can be a detriment.
Rodale Cycling and Fitness Park, a 100-acre recreational facility, is located in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania, is a unique destination for those looking to make motion part of their day. We’ve featured certain aspects about the course in our articles before. It features an extremely wide one-mile track around a maintained park. On any given day a person can occupy one of the three lanes designated for runners, inline skaters, and cyclists. Every Thursday night and on many weekends though, the track is taken over by some of the fastest cyclists around. It also helps that the Trexlertown velodrome is directly across the street. That helps with the density of talented cyclists registered for events.
Down the street from the Rodale complex is Cycledrome Bike Shop. They are certainly a welcoming group of riders who are problem solvers. Multiple fellow cyclists have recounted stories of going into Cycledrome with a potentially race day interference only to have it solved by the mechanics. It’s that type of shop. They sponsored the criterium for this past weekend and offered some great prizes for prime laps.
The whole area of Trexlertown thrives with cycling activity. One out of town racer asked what the deal was with all the cyclists around. It was answered by a rider who was on a Ross single speed, no doubt the same guy I was behind several years ago in a Derby attempt. The Rodale Park, despite its redundancy, is the perfect place to test the fitness level any time of season. Sometimes it comes at a cost.
When our race started, small drama occurred in the first 100 feet when two riders touched wheels while clipping in. I knew I would have to focus. Remember that illusion of safety point? Rodale Park’s lanes are separated with white stripes. They are a great reference for riders to hold their line. They are also a great reference for me to see who deviates wildly from lane to lane. At one point I became so concerned I simply went to the front to lead a couple laps.
Lane frustrations aside, I witnessed another frustration in the lack of riders pulling through. Nobody wanted to chance an attack. I figured it would be that kind of race. Oftentimes the pace was pedestrian. This made the atmosphere ripe for attacks. My goal was to recognize which attack had the perfect chance to work. My other goal was to be in an area to respond and go with them.
There were at least two attacks I went with. Each was brought back. I thought one of those attacks would stick. I became seriously frustrated when an attack of five riders blew off the front and there was no answer. Despite taking several turns at the front and trying to go with other willing riders, we simply had too few willing participants.
The final insult came in the bunch sprint and the wheel I was trying to hang onto was poached. I hugged the inside line for the sprint knowing the Vittoria Corsas would hold at high speed. The inside line closed out and I went to the outside seeing an opening. I was not in the right gear to pick up many positions. I kept sprinting in hopes of punishing myself for missing the break.
There will be many more races at Rodale Park. I am positive there will be many more laps where riders yell at each other to hold their lines because of their point of reference. I was happy with leading a few laps. The only problem was I didn’t lead the right ones. Luckily I can keep practicing. This week it was the Cycledrome Criterium. Next week the name will change but the challenge will remain the same.