With the goal of introducing more people to track racing, SpokedSTL put on a free eight week long clinic for new riders. Until this season, it was more or less the same racers coming out every week. Thanks to the clinics the racing population has nearly doubled. New interest from riders of various disciplines as well as juniors has created a buzz around the track. SpokedSTL Team rider Crystal Lashley was one of the people we had in mind when developing the clinic— a strong rider, but unsure about racing. “Had you asked me a year ago if I planned on racing,” she said, “the answer would have been an embarrassed laugh and a meek ‘no.’ I had zero confidence.” The Velo Clinic helped her and over twenty other new riders give track racing a shot. Every clinic night consisted of a combination of explanation of technique, etiquette, and strategy as well as demonstrations and practice drills. Most nights ended with clinic participants racing against each other in events that are a part of the sanctioned race series.
The growing interest in the sport and the venue has sparked large fundraising efforts to reach a goal of $650k to revamp the track. We want our track to be on par with other velodromes in the country in hopes we can draw racers from around the country. Currently the track’s surface has serious cracks and jarring bumps, among other set backs to the facility a sewer pipe under thetrack collapsed in the 1970s and remains in disrepair. Penrose Velodrome has been resurfaced a few times since, but the cracks continue to reemerge due to the unstable ground underneath. The Penrose Park Steering Committee hopes to level the current track and rebuild it using concrete. During this redevelopment, the goal is to run electricity and plumbing for lights and bathrooms.
Groups like SpokedSTL and Wolfpack HuSTLe have grown a large base of urban riders in St. Louis, many of them already on fixed gears. The SpokedSTL alleycats and off the radar events have generated a large draw from cyclists of all types. Some of the fastest riders in the city had never been to the track or tried their hand