I was all set to attend opening night of the Valley Preferred Cycling Center’s (VPCC) race series last Friday when it got rained out. Rescheduled for the next night, I couldn’t go since I had other plans, but my son Jason went.
As with every Race Series event, Jason paid his $5 admission fee and headed for the best seats on the track: standing at the wall, where he can pound on the boards as things start heating up.
He was geared up when Bobby Lea won the 20-lap preme race, one of the nine or so points-earning races the pros run in before the night’s final event. By the time the 10-mile championship race (aka, the final event) was over, with track veteran Jame Carney coming in first, Jason had fond memories from his childhood watching races at the “velo” (short for the Velodrome, former name of the VPCC) filling his head.
Jason’s most treasured “velo” moment was watching track rivals Jame Carney (pictured) and Marty Nothstein play the “devil” in the weekly Elimination Race.
Simply put, the last cyclist to cross the finish line on any given lap is eliminated. The “devil” is the guy who would sit in the back of the pack and just as the lap was ending, sprint in front of the cyclist ahead of him, who would end up eliminated.
Although there hasn’t been a regular “devil” on the track in awhile, Jason still loves to watch the Elimination Race every week, searching for the next skilled cyclist who will be able to pick off riders one by one and still have enough left in the tank to win the sprint lap at the end of the race.
I was disappointed to hear from Jason how empty the stands were Saturday night, which unfortunately has become quite common of late. Therefore, I want to extend an invitation to all of you to meet me at VPCC for the next event this Friday (7:30 p.m.). What have you got to lose, aside from a little excitement in your life?