Last night was the first Thursday Night Lights of the season at the NSC Velodrome up in Blaine. My family headed out to check it out, as it was a lovely evening, and my preschooler is a fan of the track cycling experience.
There was a light crowd last night — early yet in the season — but as the crowd grows, there have been some changes for the 2011 season to be aware of:
- Admission fee: The suggested donation of $2 is now the admission price for adults. Apparently, a lot of people weren’t supporting the racing, and thus the fee is not optional for those over 12 years of age. The fees support the velodrome and the racing and development programs for young racers, so this is still a good deal.
- Beer: The snack shack has been upgraded mildly. Pop, ice cream, pretzels and Peace Coffee all remain available, but there is now bottled beer as well thanks to a new sponsor.
- Prize races: The sponsored ‘prize races’ are back, in which spectators pick a racer to win, and all who pick the actual winner are entered to a raffle to win a fabulous prize. This year, the race organizers are pushing filling out race cards early — before the racers line up, certainly. For prize races whose participants are determined by qualifier heats, this means spectators need to note the winners of each heat to know who’s even an option for their raffle entry.
Last night’s racing was a good mix of newer racers, juniors, and Cat1/2 riders starting the season. Race selection stuck to the basics, with a chariot race being the most ‘complex’ option on the slate — bit early in the season for keirins and Madisons. There were several traditional points races, scratch races, and miss-and-outs.
Definitely make a point to check it out some Thursday, and bring your exact change for admission!