Checkerboard Stripe
Velodrome at Bloomer Park opens in Michigan
By VeloNews Interactive
Monday 20th of May 2002

The $500,000 Mike Walden Velodrome officially opened earlier this month in 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-meter outdoor track in Bloomer Park is Michigan's first since a predecessor in Detroit, 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 track with angles of 8 to 24 degrees. The MWV is 13 to 44 degrees, which makes it exciting for the spectators; hand slings on a 44-degree turn get my attention."

In an interview with The Detroit News, Christine Walden Hughes, the late coach's daughter and Hughes's wife, said her father "would be thrilled to see a new velodrome in Michigan."

"He did everything he could to build the Dorais Velodrome because he knew it would have a huge impact on cycling," she said. "After Dorais was built in 1969, that was where you could find him: coaching, coaching and more coaching."

The Community Foundation for Greater Rochester will handle maintenance and day-to-day operations once racing begins in June. Meanwhile, there's still 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 electrical power and lights, increasing the size of the hill seating, installing paved pathways 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.

Courtesy of VeloNews