The Keirin Races at Encino Velodrome...
that's what had everyone lined up along the railing last night (not to mention filling the bleachers, and overflowing into the infield).
the last glow of the sun hits the high banking
Hosted by Predator Cycling, this evenings races, officially the Predator Keirin Classic, started with a ten mile scratch competition. The +100º temperatures of the day, had become manageable 80s or so now that the sun had dropped to the horizon. The stands were already full, but it wasn't until the keirin races began that the place really began to rock, and it became more exciting as the evening progressed. The only thing missing was food and beverage - from what I heard the food truck had some legal problem on the way over - I could have used a cold drink, as I was getting thirsty just watching, and that sunset made it look hot even if it wasn't that bad.
About midway through the qualifying heats there was a solo rider crash. The rider took some time to collect himself, but then picked himself up and took the opportunity to acknowledge the appreciative applause of the crowd. Then, while the announcers encouraged the fallen rider to take it out on the rider who caused the crash, he instead ran over and gave the other racer a big ugly hug, which caused another outburst of applause from the stands. That is one of the things I have noticed about track racing, and something it shares cyclocross, the spectators are so much more involved in the action. You don't see that as much at the local crits.
acknowledging the crowd post-crash - thats cool,
Encino Velodrome crowds and racers are the best
There are two more events in the Summer Race Series at the Encino Velodrome. Get on out there and show it some support. It is a great way to spend an evening and, though I once considered it an irritating but endearing character of the place, those bleachers are not the rickety ones I remember. There have been some upgrades which leave you a little more sure for your well-being.
Fifty-eight of the photos I took, can be seen by clicking here.