Track cycling’s high-intensity workout benefits

My relatively late-in-life discovery of track cycling last year ignited a passion for lots of reasons: It’s fast, thrilling, dynamic, strategic, rain-free, and it has no hills.

Track racing and training 11411677_1646654132216718_1999859508247321128_oalso gave me an added benefit: It got me into much better shape overall than all my miles of “regular” riding had.

After a summer of track racing, I started getting PRs on road climbs — even though I’d barely gone near a hill for months.

I knew about the benefits of high-intensity interval training, and of course had done many an interval workout in my high school and college days on the running track. But until I discovered track cycling, I hadn’t bothered with those kinds of workouts on the bike. It seemed more fun simply to ride (and to work on hills).

Among came track: a magical sort of enforced high-intensity workout — you bust your guts, but you have a great time doing it and you make fabulous friends.

This New York Times story about a Canadian study describes how it’s possible to get a fantastic workout crammed into a relatively short period of time. That’s great for the time-starved among us, and I loved seeing some of the science.

Now: Go try some track! The Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome in Redmond  has terrific adult track classes  along with bikes you can use. That’s how I got my start last year. I started the class terrified by the no-brakes thing and the track banking (I was sure I’d slide down!) and a few fun hours later, I was hooked. I bought a track bike two days later (though if I’d wanted, I could have just kept using velodrome bikes).

(Photo Credit: Peter Mayer). (Whine: Why can’t I add a normal photo credit in




Video: Cascade’s Free Group Rides

When we transferred from NYC to Seattle three years ago — not entirely willingly — our smartest move was to join the Cascade Bicycle Club immediately. We knew that was the path to quickly forging lasting friendships. Cycling’s shared moments of delight and (let’s face it) some pain and agony have that effect on people.

We also knew that Cascade’s Free Group Rides would provide the best introduction to our many and varied new roads, hills and mountains.

Now, as Cascade ride leaders, we’re delighted that the Seattle Art Institute has produced this video, high-def version highlighting some of the great things about Cascade and its rides program.

Check out the video, and come join us for some rides!

Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome gets an overhaul!

Warm temps and sunny skies bring that tingly feeling that can mean only one thing: Track season is upon us!

But this is one good th13051513_10153395906347391_3076662032817343897_ning that requires even more waiting: the newly renamed Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome in Redmond is in need of repairs, and those got started yesterday and will last for two weeks or so. Those of us craving a track fix RIGHT NOW in this wonderful weather are going a bit stir crazy — I was quite sad to find the track already locked when I returned from California on Monday (they later reopened it for the evening, but by then I was in I-405 hell).

Since discovering the thrills of track racing last year, I’ve marveled again and again how fortunate I am to live in a place that has a velodrome (there are only 28 in the U.S.) and that this velodrome has such an outstanding program and administration. Plus, racing around a track with a view of Mount Rainier is not a bad thing.

We tracksters are very grateful to King County and King County Parks for taking such good care of our treasure!