By VeloNews Interactive
The $500,000 Mike Walden Velodrome officially opened earlier this monthin Rochester Hills, Michigan.Designed by velodrome master Dale Hughes, paid for by private donations,built by volunteers and subsequently donated to the city, the 200-meteroutdoor track in Bloomer Park is Michigan’s first since a predecessor inDetroit, built in 1969 by Walden, shut down in the early 1980s.The new track “is exciting to ride,” said spokesman Leonardo Gianola.“Our old velodrome in Detroit, the Dorais Velodrome, was a 333-meter trackwith angles of 8 to 24 degrees. The MWV is 13 to 44 degrees, which makesit exciting for the spectators; hand slings on a 44-degree turn get myattention.”In an interview with The Detroit News, Christine Walden Hughes, thelate coach’s daughter and Hughes’s wife, said her father “would be thrilledto see a new velodrome in Michigan.”“He did everything he could to build the Dorais Velodrome because heknew it would have a huge impact on cycling,” she said. “After Dorais wasbuilt in 1969, that was where you could find him: coaching, coaching andmore coaching.”The Community Foundation for Greater Rochester will handle maintenanceand day-to-day operations once racing begins in June. Meanwhile, there’sstill work to be done.“What we have is a track with hill seating; that’s it,” said Gianola.“Phase II will concentrate on grooming the infield, installing electricalpower and lights, increasing the size of the hill seating, installing pavedpathways to the track, a tunnel, and a paved apron.”Donations are tax-deductible, Gianola said, and those who contribute$1000 will get their names on a plaque permanently affixed to the velodrome.For more information, see the velodrome’s Web site at www.lmb.org/velo.