Apparently the hot topic of the week is the kickoff of the annual debate: Is the track collapsing, how quickly, and what are we going to do about it?
I don't have a solution. Bob and Dave have a fix that will hold us over for some time more. $10 million will get us a new track, with a roof to boot.
So what is this all about? I just wanted to clear up two misconceptions I've seen flying around.
1. "We have the best damn facility in the country."
(dis) hit the nail on the head with his response. No we don't. T-Town does. We may have a smoother track, but they have far better facilities. A locker room with showers, a full cafe, manicured grounds, a press box, permanent stands, storage buildings, the list keeps going. We have a cluster of port-a-potties, two big brown containers, and bleachers I wouldn't want to be within 100 meters of when lightning starts up. And don't say that the NSC has dorms, showers, etc, because we can't use them, so they may as well not be there.
2. "We have the best track in the country."
Sorry again, but that belongs to the ADT Center. They may have superior facilities, too, despite all the gripes about how they could have done so much better.
Does this mean I don't think Blaine is awesome? Not in the least. But we need to actually look at what we do have going for us. When it comes right down to it, we do have an exceptional track that we can use any time, on little more than a whim. We're never left fighting for space on the boards or time to schedule training.
Even if we did end up getting a facility like the ADT Center, would we really want everything that comes along with it? Take a look at their fees for riding. $20 per session?! Even if you get the 10 ride pack for the bargain price of $160, that's still more than we pay for an entire night of racing! Having a roof over the velodrome would be brilliant in the winter, and would certainly save a lot of headaches when the weather turns foul in the summer, but come on, there's something to be said for the appeal of having an outdoor track on a pristine June night.
The NSC has a ton going for it, and the program keeps growing. We should keep enjoying what we have, and doing everything we can to maintain it for as long as possible. All the while we should be keeping one eye to the future, but not at the cost of worrying to the point that it ruins the pleasure of what we have now. And as we plan for what will eventually replace the NSC Velodrome, don't try to force it into the mold of being the next T-Town or ADT Center. Let it be a track that fits with the character of the Twin Cities, and with the people who make riding here great.