An Evening's Entertainment....

So a friend of mine and her husband were both having their fiftieth birthday party tonight, and rather than what I normally think of as a fiftieth birthday party, they rented an indoor velodrome and invited all their friends to come and try it out along with the mountain bike tracks on the interior of the circle.

For those of you who don't know what a Velodrome is.... it's an indoor, oval track with steeply banked 180 ° turns on either end. They label them 1, 2, 3, and 4 for convenience when referring to them, but the banking is such that the high end of the turn, in the Boulder Indoor Velodrome, is over 25 feet off the floor. The tilt is made so that the rider can actually be nearly vertical through the turns, and it actually makes it so that you lean less when going through them than you would on flat pavement.

Indoor Mountain Bike Trail
The height and the tilt look really really intimidating from the ground. This is a look over most of the whole thing, including the wooden tracks on the floor for all the kids and their mountain bikes. There's four grades of trails from easy blues to black diamond trails that are just wicked and require some jumps. Jet liked the blue trail with a couple of teetertotters along the way.

Yeah... the track really does go that high... I'm standing at the top of the number one turn, looking down from the spectator area for this picture and you can see the far wall of the track tilting up and up and up...

An Evening's Entertainment
And here's what it's like when they're on it... and honestly and amusingly enough, it was easier for me to ride on that top blue line than it was to ride between the red and the black lines. The higher up on the walls one actually goes, the slower one suddenly is going. The upward move bleeds off speed fast, and downward moves makes one go much much faster.

They started us on the bikes just going around at the bottom "apron" of the track... the gray and blue parts of it. The bikes are weird, but for safety on the track, the pedals go directly to one gear on the wheel. Your legs have to move the whole time, there is no gliding, there is no braking. The only way to stop is to move your legs more slowly, and to simply go slower.

I was pretty intimidated to start, but I really wanted to try it, and I had a terrible time with the toe clips to start, as they just didn't open and I couldn't stop to get one toe in, my feet had to be moving the whole time. Finally, I copied John and just leaned myself and my bike against the inner wall and strapped myself in. This after the first two "warm-ups" were complete failures because I couldn't strap in.

I really wanted to try it, in some sense. Enough that they called my group for the spring exercise, I just rolled on in; and I was very glad that I did because now I know that I can ride on top of a 25 foot wall at a nearly 45°ree; tilt and not only survive it but grumble at someone tell me to speed up so that I didn't fall off the wall. *laughs* It was exhilarating when I did get up to speed and did stay up with no problems, and after riding around and around at that top blue line and someone said go, it felt amazingly good to basically fall down that wall, pick up speed, and sprint around and around the thing trying to go as fast as I could. The speed was surprisingly good.

The funny thing was that when I was on the wall I wasn't afraid, at all, of falling off. That I didn't have to lean the bike at all for any of the turns, that they were just *there*... and it didn't matter. The physics of it was fascinating.

On the second sprint, I kind of got mad, as the first group had only done one sprint, and I wasn't expecting to have to stay up that long or go that fast that long AGAIN... and with the anger, I got a sort of control I hadn't had the first time, and I rode between the black and red line like I was on rails while I had the leg to do it. The amazing thing, for me, was that being that low was scarier than when I was way up on that curve because I was going so damned fast. When the finally called it, I was shaking all over.

I hadn't had dinner, yet. *laughs* So a few slices of pizza and a pop later and I was much better. I did worse damage to my throat than anything. With the winter air here being so dry and I hadn't had much to drink before hand, so I dried my throat out so thoroughly that water and pop and even food didn't really help as much as I wanted it to. I'm still sipping mint tea with honey in an attempt to sooth it.

After the ride, I was content to watch everyone else, knit a little, and watch Jet do his riding. *laughs* That was fun, and it was really nice to talk to other friends of theirs. The exercise, I think, relaxed me, but now I'm a little sore, more in the arms and back than the legs, as I've been riding a lot lately, just not that FAST. *laughs* I felt so SLOW, compared to the guys that were working there, but then... they're actually competitors... *laughs* Of all the people I could be comparing with, the lady in front of me does triathlons for fun and the instructors were on their way to nationals, so of course I was slow compared to them.

I should just be happy I did it and didn't kill myself or anyone else. *laughs*

But hey, it's kind of cool thinking about having a fiftieth birthday party where one gets to do something one has never done before.

*falls over giggling*

And here's a video of a guy riding the track I just did. It makes it look all the more evil. *laughs and laughs*
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The height and the tilt look really really intimidating

Yes. Yes, they do. I honestly don't know if I would have stuck with it (I have a feeling that once I was at speed, I would find it to be a blast), or slunk off to be a shivering wreck after one or two attempts.

Still, that is an incredibly cool thing to do for a birthday party.
*laughs* You got my feeling *exactly*. I was scared to death... and after the first two rounds I was just shaking with adrenaline, but... yeah... at speed it's an amazing thing. *grins*

I have to agree, it's not like my parents' fiftieth birthday party At All. *laughs* I have higher goals, now.
OMG! That track! THAT TRACK! It looks like a blast as well as a bit terrifying.

OT but I have a beaded knitting question. How do you get the beads on the knitting? LOL!

No, seriously, I have this hand painted chunky Malabrigo that I want to make a beaded scarf for this friend of mine who is a jewelry (a stringer) artist and we are trading grifts at xmas but I'm not sure how to do the beading. Can you give me some tips?
There's two basic ways.

1. string all your beads onto the yarn, push them along the yarn as you knit and bring one into a stitch every time you want a bead.

2. Use a crochet hook (or fish line or wire depending on how small the bead and the yarn is) and just string one onto the loop of a stitch as you take it. These sit horizontal to the vertical of the yarn of the stitch, but the bead has to be bigger (to fit two thicknesses of yarn AND the hook).

The second is a lot more convenient. The first allows for a lot finer work but I've found that the beads can drift. Some people swear by one or the other, but those are the pluses and minuses as I know 'em.

And, yeah... I think half of what made the track so much of a blast was the fact that it was terrifying to start. *laughs*

Edited at 2009-12-13 08:17 pm (UTC)
The velodrome looks really cool! I especially like the kids section. :D
Yeah! With all the arrows and everything, the kids knew exactly what to do, so they really didn't need supervision. It was nice to just have them play away happily.
That's an awesome thing for a party!!! And that video looked wicked! You're way braver than me! But then we both knew that already. ;)
*laughs* The video is a little dramatized for Effect, but fun nonetheless.

I find the being brave is sometimes rewarding. *laughs*

It was an amazing party.