Ya know that scene from Jurassic Park when they show up on the island and Dr. Grant sees a dinosaur for the first time and his mind is blown to see something of that magnitude realized right before him? That’s just about exactly how I felt once I saw the velodrome set up at the Chicago Velo Campus on Chicago’s southside. Really not kidding.
Photos do not do this justice. It really is a sight to behold. I found I had to pinch myself knowing I was looking at a velodrome set in the city I know and love. It’s absolutely exhilarating.
Of course winners and champions deserve the attention and the prizes and all those nice things but it’s really the enablers: the organizers and workforce that deserve the credit. Emmanuele Bianchi, Peter Wilcock and Dale Hughes are three names amongst several that have dedicated themselves so heavily to this cause. Through sacrificing massive amounts of time, money and energy (not to mention personal health given this heat) they have done what many have doubted by ending a VERY long velodrome drought in the Windy City proper.
One other name that I feel is deserving of many thanks is Cuttin Crew’s very own Josh Shough. Just about every spare bit of daylight he has had for the last month has been devoted to going down there and welding or drilling or cutting or nailing or painting or hauling every. single. thing he possibly can. He and Molly have really given a good bit of themselves over this last month to make it happen and that has been quite inspiring. (Brian Ellison and Andrew Nordyke have also put in a day or two down there.) I know I’ve found ways to busy myself as I never truly processed the magnitude of what was being done this whole time. Be it work wearing me out, bike racing, training (it could happen!), bus stuff or other personal pursuits it looks like I have joined the major bike racing community that has done little to nothing to get this thing up and running. It is slightly upsetting but I really only brought that up in order to speak to how significant a sacrifice this volunteer force has made to get down there and work. work. work. We have SO much to thank them for in making this whole thing come together. Bravo ladies and gentlemen!
All is not done and there is still time to give what you can. If you do have the time available, they are always looking for help. The goal date for completion is this Friday, August 12. Which still leaves 4+ days of intense labor to ensure that will happen. The site is at the Northeast corner of 87th and Burley (the before). You couldn’t miss it.