We asked Marie Snyder, the President of the Ed Rudolph Velodrome and race director for Chicago-based cycling events, to tell us more about the track and what the 2015 season will look like. Here is what she had to say:
"The Ed Rudolph Velodrome is a rare luxury—one of only 27 tracks in the country. Located in Northbrook, IL, the 382 meter track hosts USA Cycling track racing and training. This past summer, we consistently saw two separate competitive women’s fields showcase the best track racing has to offer: well executed team tactics, Points Races won by bike throws, and contentious Scratch Races that were anyone’s to win.
As the 2015 Board President, my agenda this year is simple: grow the ridership. We’ve got a chalet full of loaner bikes, weekly clinics, and the track all to ourselves every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights from May til September. Because ERV was originally created for speed skating, it is banked at only 18 degrees, lending our beginners easy access. ERV is the perfect stop to acquaint yourself with the rules of the track, the etiquette of bike racing, and the ability to ride in groups.
The track provides a very controlled environment—you can practice your sprints and intervals with no worry of interference of anything but your own mind. Each Thursday night of racing, we provide three different races, so if you missed the move in the first race, you have two more to seek retribution. Not an endurance person? No worries—we’ve got sprint races just for you. Love motorpacing? Come out to Keirin night! Tony will bring you up to a speed you never thought you’d feel comfortable at while drafting your competition.
Don’t let the banking and long size fool you—ERV routinely draws some of the stiffest competition in the nation, including national track champions who claim ERV as their home turf. We pride ourselves in our approachable programs, and we have hella love for out-of-towners. The momentum we are gaining in race development is setting precedent for future women of the cycling world.
Three years ago, I sent this message to a wonderful woman from Minnesota named Gwen Steel:
I’m in the middle of a few very important projects to get more women out racing in Illinois, and I thought I’d give you a sincere thank you for offering your women’s specific track clinic at Blaine [NSC Velodrome]. It really was my jump start into this unending, yet rewarding rabbit hole that is competitive racing, and if I hadn’t had that chance to join my friends in a welcoming, enlightening clinic, I honestly wouldn’t be here trying to head up a consortium to get more ladies on their bikes.
Thanks so much for what you’ve given back to the community (and us ladies!), and I hope I’m doing my part paying it forward.
The greatest thing we can do for the sport is show young women that we have a place in world on a saddle. In 2008, Gwen gave me a starting point, provided basic racing skills, and most importantly, validated my place on the bike. And I haven’t stopped rolling since."
—Marie Snyder, the President of the Ed Rudolph Velodrome