Portland Design Works Omnium

It has been a while since I've hung out at a velodrome. Like, maybe a few years now. I have tried to get to Clint's track events for the past two years and both times I have missed the mark. Two separate times I have rolled up to the Alpenrose Velodrome as he and his wife Kristin are loading the last boxes into their car. Both of these times I have been berated for missing the event, once by myself and once by my girlfriend at the time (who is now my wife) for having embarrassed her by letting her show up to an event so late and thereby disgracing her socially. Lessoned learned. 

This year Patrick and I said that we would pitch in where we were needed since we do not race track bikes (or haven't in a while). It was determined that the best spot for us to help out was to announce, mostly due to our vast knowledge of the sport (we brought a handbook to racing track) and our gregarious personalities. Well, not only did we not woo the fans with what little we knew about track racing — I do know what "devil take the hindmost" is all about — but we did little by way of announcing too. The Master, as he is known in certain circles, Luciano, stepped up to the mic and damn if that thing was to be wrested from his iron grip. So, we just sort of sat back, interjected where we saw fit, which was pretty much no where, and enjoyed the racing action.

Clint Culpepper has been doing a pretty good job (and by that I mean awesome) over the course of the last couple years with pulling off events like this. At one time it was just one Omnium event, which has now turned into two per summer (the next one is coming up in August). He has taken over the prestigious Tuesday Night PIR event as well, giving that a much needed shot in the arm with a few different events happening over the summer, a leaders jersey and just an overall makeover. But, that is another story.

The races themselves went off without a hitch, which is to say that they went well and no one crashed. But they did open my eyes to a few things that happen out at Alpenrose in no particular order.

- There is a great ladies racing scene out there. Sure, it seemed to be a little dominate by one team, I won't name any names, but all in all they are producing some fiercely competitive women who travel to race all around the country.
- Dean Tracy is a National Champion. 

- The return of Timmy Reinhart to the track. If you don't know who he is, or what he's all about, you should. He's part of a great family of bicycle racers and when he stepped out onto the track (with his Albert Eisentrout track bike for the first event of the PDW Omnium he said, "well, I haven't done this since 2004, so we'll see how this goes." He finished third on the day. Check out the nice piece that his teammate Matt Karre wrote on the Rapha blog » Reinhart Racing.
- No Brakes! Bicycle Track Racing in the United States - I picked up a copy of this years ago somewhere and haven't ever sat down with it. There are some fantastic nuggets of truth in here. And more than one person on the day commented on how they either own it (Steven Beardsley) or have it in their Amazon basket (Dean Tracy).

- The people who work the results are the hardest working people in the bike racing industry. I am quite sure that this goes without saying in most bike races, but holy shit there is a lot to keep track of in terms of points and sprints and teams and etc....etc. etc... These two ladies were the real hero's of the day.

- Portland Design Works rule! Not only were they able to pony up to make the day happen (cash payouts bitches!) but they were on hand to make hotdogs and veggie dogs for everyone there. Yellow mustard only, please. What could be even better than that? Well, a keg of rootbeer, that's what. There is no alcohol allowed at the Alpenrose Dairy Velodrome, so they made the best of it with hand crafted rootbeer. No complaints here.
- Cool Bikes! Like the previously mentioned Eisentrout sure, but also more than a few Bridgestone's (which are a treat to see on the track), Dean Tracy's Ground Up Speed Shop, Russ Denny a few cool Bianchi's and more more more...

- People hanging out. As I mentioned, I hadn't been around for the previous iterations of the race, but it was noted more than a few times that it was great to see people showing up for the pure pleasure of watching the racing happen. The Alpenrose Velodrome is hard to pull of for the simple spectating, but everyone appreciates the occasional cheer for their races no matter who they are. We talked before hand about what it would take to make this into a real spectator friendly event. The T-Town races outside of Philly draw a crowd on Friday nights to watch the racing unfold - they can also drink beer while they do it. So, for now we will have to stick with enticing fans with hotdogs and rootbeer and racing action.

- The photos of Brenton Salo. Wow. Check out his site and check out the Portland Design Works Omnium photos there. They are a fantastic visual representation of the day. It was cool to meet him in person and see him work his magic on the field as well.

All in all, this was a fantastic and well organized event. Keep an eye out for more of Clint's races, it is my guess that as he gets the hang of it a bit more (not that this was in any way flawed, just as he starts to expand) he's going to continue to add some creativity to the scene. Next up:

Sunday August 11th - Summer Classic presented by The Athletic.

Wait, what?