Sunday, May 28, 2006

Trip to the Velodrome

This is a little late, but hopefully no one will care.

Thursday was a trip to the Velodrome for the season opener. My neighbor has moved up to the Pro/1/2 category and was riding in the first race plus I wanted to park my carbon bike out front to see what interest it might pull.

Last first to get it out of the way. Lots of folks stopped and asked questions. A couple may yet come back to order one. And there were many compliments. This is a pretty bike savvy crowd, so this felt like a real accomplishment.

Its always fun to see all the pretty bikes, and some not so pretty. One young fellow, lean as a rail, probably about 14 (give or take a year) had an old red Olmo. It's paint was all chipped up - in some places there were large patches of finish coat missing. He was there with what I assume were his parents. The father was big and barrel coasted. He could have been a defensive lineman, or a one-man towtruck. Despite his bulk, he was graceful and clearly used to physical activity. He and the mother both spoken heavily accented English, but I could sort out the accent.

I spotted the father first, hustling out to the parking lot with this rusty old bike on his shoulder and a broken chain draping from it. Ten minutes later, he was back with everything squared away. I next saw them in the stands just before the racing began. Mom was sitting in her spot, Dad was moving around nervously finding tasks to fret about. They took turns giving the son coaching and encouragement. It was clear that the son loved racing and that supporting him was a big issue in their lives. I wished I could of stuck around to see him race, but the program began late due to weather and I had to get home to put one of the kids to bed.

But before leaving, my buddy (Aram) took 3rd in the first race. Talking to him later, he was particularly happy because the two (young) fellows who beat him had each won national championships. How's that for a start of the season?

Anyhow, getting back into the racing milieu amped my interest in getting Aram's frame built. So much so that I'm thinking of doing a trial horse to make sure that we've got the fit and handling nailed before doing the real race bike. Seeing Aram race, however, was the real kicker. He's good (which I knew) and it will be fun to build him a great frame on which to win some races.

The idea of a trial horse is cool too, because it lets me play with more colors. My current thought for the race bike is all gloss black except stainless steel faces on the fork tips, track forks (dropouts on a road bike), and maybe stainless plates at the top of the seat-stays. The idea is to have it look like a serious instrument.

With a second bike, its possible to have some more fun. Maybe do something really bright. Possibly a fluorescent color, or maybe two colors with strong contrast. I can think of lots of ideas, but haven't settled on anything yet.

So, there's lots to work on (including pictures of Sarah's frame). I better get to work, eh?

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