Velodrome reopens after dome collapses » WDET 101.9FM
Now that the Lexus Velodrome has reopened, its world-class Olympic-style bike path will once again host races, practices and recreational cycling.
The Lexus Velodrome has reopened after being closed for over a month. The bicycle racing facility lost power Dec. 13 and a damaged part prevented the generator from starting. The huge, inflated dome that sits at I-75 and Mack in Midtown has deflated and collapsed.
“Essentially, we had a very strong, thick tarp that covered everything,” says Dale Hughes, executive director of the Detroit Fitness Foundation, which operates the Lexus Velodrome.
“We had lampposts above the bike path and these pierced the material…Our challenge was how to fix the holes and then reinflate.”
While the dome was down, the snow and rain created new challenges.
“Then there was water which then turned into ice which we had to break up and remove from the dome material,” says Hughes.
He says they have appealed to the community that supports the velodrome to help break the ice and remove it from the dome. Staff and volunteers helped clean up and restore the facility after the dome was reinflated. The building reopened on January 31.
Listen: Dale Hughes of the Lexus Velodrome talks about the organization’s mission to cultivate elite athletes.
An elite team of young runners
Now that the Lexus Velodrome has reopened, its world-class Olympic-style bike path will once again host races, practices and recreational cycling. Children 17 and under can access the facility and its programs for free. A walking program for seniors is also free.
The Eddie Tolan Running Track, also called ET Oval, is used for walking, running, skating and events. Eddie Tolan won two gold medals at the 1932 Olympics. The velodrome is in Tolan Park.
There is a fitness room, a weights room and a bar.
Hughes says teaching kids to ride a bike is one of the organization’s biggest goals.
“We have free learn-to-ride programs for young people. We have free learn to ride on the track and learn to run on the track. So we have an elite team of juniors running. They traveled to national championships and came back with multiple gold, silver and bronze medals.
Hughes says a young runner is training this month at the Colorado Olympic Training Center.
“Our focus goes from just trying to get people to get active to see if we can find some real movers here in the Detroit area that can keep going and maybe even make the Olympics,” Hughes said.
The first races since the reopening will be the 2-day pump-up race on February 18-19.