BMX Racing!


Went to check out the local BMX track in Wakefield, MA today. Never realized this was here until I stumbled upon it in some recent reading about BMX racing in New England.

The field was full of kids and the action was fast. The three turn track offered lots of challenges, and races started every couple of minutes. There were usually two or three racers in each of the fields, which seemed to be organized by age. There were kids of all ages there. The youngest rider, I heard the announcer say, was 4 years old!

I shot some video of one of the heats and snapped a couple of photos. Check it out, and check out their web site for more details: Wakefield BMX.


100 Years Before Lance Armstrong…

Great little peak into the Major Taylor story and some video shots of the annual Major Taylor Hillclimb race held in Worcester each summer:

Remembering Major Taylor (from the Boston Globe, 8/19/09)

Here’s some additional footage from the 2009 event.

Coming up in just about six weeks is the Major Taylor Century Ride produced by the Seven Hills Wheelmen. 25, 62 and 100 mile routes begin in Whitinsville, MA through some really great cycling roads.

New England Velodrome Expansions

The most recent update from New England Velodrome is pretty exciting. First, they have just completed building their new Cyclocross course and are gearing up to begin races. Here are the complete details:

“The New England Velodrome and Cycling Park’s Cyclo-cross course was completed this past weekend. There are several new additions to the course this year that we believe will deliver the perfect combination of technical and power sections.

Weekly training races will be held on the same course that will be featured during the 2nd New England Velo-Cross Challenge on Saturday October 17, 2009.

We will be conducting training races and opening the course for practice on Thursday evenings beginning September 3rd.

Cost: $10 per rider
Gate opens: 5 PM
Beginner Class: 5:40 PM
Racing: 6 PM

Please let us know if Tuesday or Wednesday is an evening that you would like to see training races in addition to Thursdays. Also, should we run weekend training races?. Please let us know. Contact us by email at nevelodrome@gmail.com or give us your feedback on our Blog.

Special Thanks to our weekend volunteers who worked so hard on the Cyclo-cross course: Tony and Kelly Fedirko, Victoria Gates, and the Goguen boys Patrick, Manny, Tom and Peter.”

Also announced was the official opening of the new Velocity BMX track. Again, here are the full details from the source:

“The Velocity BMX Track officially opened on Saturday, August 22, 2009. With over 30 riders participating, the opening day was a huge success! The mission of Velocity BMX is to provide a safe, managed, environment for the enjoyment of the sport of BMX racing. Anyone will tell you that this mission was achieved on Saturday and the track has a promising future!

What is BMX? BMX stands for Bicycle Moto Cross,
BMX Racing provides a safe and challenging sport for kids and adults of all ages and proficiency levels to include all riders, male and female alike. A BMX track benefits the community by keeping youth involved in a positive, healthy environment that promotes family bonding and safe competition.
BMX racing is a type of off-road bicycle racing. The format of BMX was derived from motocross racing. BMX bicycle races are sprint races on purpose built, off road, single lap race tracks. The track usually consists of a starting gate for up to eight racers, a groomed serpentine dirt race course with banked corners, various jumps, terrain challenges, and a finish line.

Check out the Velocity BMX Website for pictures and great information. The website is www.velocitybmx.com.”

These are great developments for New England racing. Not only does NE Velodrome provide great track racing, now there are two additional new and exciting types of bike racing easily accessible to Massachusetts and New Hampshire riders. All of these are sure to be great fun for spectators too… more action than your typical crit or circuit racing for spectators.

Check out New England Velodrome at http://nevelodrome.com/

Fitchburg-Longsjo Shines Brightly On The Race Calendar

2006 Mens Pro/1/2 TT Winner Brian Sheedy
From New England Sports Magazine

New England’s crown jewel cycling event is the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic Stage Race, a grueling multi-day event that challenges a rider’s skills across a variety of cycling disciplines. As the largest pro/am cycling event in North America, the race attracts top professional and amateur athletes from all over the United States and beyond. “We have 800 to 900 riders each year,” explained Bill White, Board Member of the Fitchburg Cycling Club which organizes the race. White also expects tens of thousands of spectators to attend over the event’s four days.

Begun in 1960 as the Fitchburg-Longsjo Memorial Race, the one-day event was created as a tribute to Fitchburg, Massachusetts native Art Longsjo, an accomplished speed skater who took up cycling as part of his cross training. Longsjo excelled in both disciplines and eventually became the first person ever to compete in both summer and winter Olympic games in the same year (1956) before his tragic death in an automobile accident in 1958. “This race reflects the tenor of a gifted individual, who made such a huge impression on the community in his short 26 years,” commented White. “Art Longsjo was an incredible athlete. When you look at how quickly he dominated the sport it is nothing short of amazing.”

The current four-day stage race format is designed as a complete test of a rider’s cycling abilities. The professional men racers will compete in a 6.2 mile time trial, a 78 mile circuit race through the hilly Fitchburg State College campus, a 104 mile road race featuring a grueling climb to the summit of Wachusett Mountain, and 50 mile downtown criterium. Professional women and amateur racers will ride shorter versions of the same course.

Helping to attract top riders is over $50,000 in prize money that will be awarded to individual stage and overall winners in each race category. Payouts will also be made for other competitions such as the coveted king/queen of the mountain designation and mid-race sprints designed to keep the race challenging for racers and engaging for spectators. Adding to the race’s allure is the hopes of joining the ranks of such notable past winners as Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton and Davis Phinney.

Spectator highlights include a “Sky Ride” on the Wachusett Mountain chair lift to view the mountain top stage finish and stunt champion rider Mike Steidley’s show during the downtown criterium. This year’s race–the 50th edition–will be held from July 2-5, 2009. All event details can be found at www.longsjo.com.


Tom Catalini is the author of cycling guide book Road Biking Massachusetts (www.RoadBikingMassachusetts.com) Photos courtesy Ed Collier (www.edcollierphotography.com)