Reporting Eric Nelson
BLAINE, Minn. (WCCO) – Some major pedal power is in the Twin Cities this weekend at the National Sports Center in Blaine.
Competitive bike racers are at the Velodrome to compete in the Minnesota Fixed Gear Classic. They go around and around in search of a victory.
“When you think about it and try cycling, you’re going left all day long and you have no brakes, you only go one direction. You’re only making left-hand turns, it’s pretty simple,” said Cyclist Michael Blatchford.
They are elite cyclists who combine strength and speed. Their pumping legs churn like pistons as they circle the velodrome.
“You’ll see very strong, powerful legs and very fast cadence on the bike. They’ll spin their pedals up to 180 revolutions per minute,” said Jason Lardy with Nomad Marketing.
There are sprint and endurance races at the National Sports Center. Some events are as short as one lap, while others go as long as 100 laps.
“It’s a very fluid event. You mesh kind of the brawn, just the absolute raw power of some of these guys with the finesse and technique you have to have on the bike,” Blatchford said.
The track that the cyclists are racing on in Blaine is one of just 17 in the entire country. The venue is modeled after a track in Barcelona that was used for the 1992 Olympics.
“Knowing that it’s modeled after the Barcelona track is no surprise to me as I’ve been there,” Blatchford said. “I was like ‘Wow, this is totally just like Barcelona.’”
Lardy said the track’s exclusive features make it one of the best in the country.
“It’s a very exclusive, very unique track. It’s the only velodrome that’s built the way it is in the entire country. It’s a wood strip track, kind of like a parquet floor,” Lardy said.
These cyclists are in top-notch shape, because their sport requires great stamina to compete. There is also strategy involved in cycling.
“I think track racing is really draining. You’re always thinking about the next move, who you’re racing with, track conditions are going to play a factor in that, and the weather,” said Cyclist Cristin Walker.
The event goes through Sunday at the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine.