The Alpenrose dairy is a farm and industrial complex just over the West Hills from Portland city center. Wednesday night is a teaching clinic to get people of all walks of life involved in the track scene.
Alpenrose is one of only a handful of tracks in the entire nation.
The subculture is different. Different bikes, huge thighs, punk rock style. This being my first outing in the Portland bike community I noticed the near even participation of women and men in the participants but also the leaders of the club. My teacher was Erin Glover, an OSU student.
She taught in full immersion style. Just going for it. She did not build up the first turn into the track into a big wall. We started pedaling the rented fixies around a little paved practice infield ring sand then increased speed to be able to stay up on the track.
I was holding on for dear life in the drops. My fear was not being able to stop. Kind of weird for a seasoned road racer to not have any fixed gear experience. At slow speeds it seems like I was able to stop by letting the pedal come up into my foot and guiding it around without applying more pressure slowed me down. The whole experience of learning a new discipline brought me back to learning how to ride a bike for the first time. Fear and overcoming the fear leads to a childlike sense of accomplishment. To be in a community of adults who put themselves in a position to learn new skills and put their abilities on the line in front of fellow cyclists bonds people together. From 12 year old juniors up to middle aged masters sharing a physical pursuit. People of different walks of life from students, bankers, blue collar workers.
This weekly event melds community and physical pursuit into a potent chemical reaction that results in miscles getting worked hard including the ones that make people smile,
ill be back