Karen Kefauver, Spin City: Dennis Pedersen, team capture gold at track nationals

As Dennis Pedersen crossed the finish line last month at the 2016 USA Cycling Masters Track Nationals, he didn’t know how he stacked up against the competition at the 7-11 Velodrome in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“I buried my head and focused on pedaling hard, legs and lungs burning, until I passed the finish line. At that point, I had no idea what our time was,” said Pedersen, 55, about his race on Nov. 20. “But as I cooled down, I heard on the PA that we had won my first national championship!”

His winning time? Just a little more than one minute. That’s how long it took for Pedersen’s explosive three-lap sprint, finishing in 1 minute, 7.477 seconds.

The Santa Cruz cyclist, a member of the Spokesman bicycle team, was part of a three-man team along with Raymond Gildea of Emerald Hills and Brian Moore of Merced. The trio competed in the age 55+ category and won the team sprint, which allocates the final time based only on the time of the third rider; the other two are not timed.

“Track cycling is a niche within a niche,” explained Pedersen. “There aren’t that many tracks in the country. There are about 12 active ones (including in San Jose). Most people only see it in the Olympics.”

Although bicycle track riding got its start around 1850, and has been included in nearly every modern Olympic Games (except 1912), it remains a mystery to many. Boiled down, it’s a bicycle racing sport typically held on specially built, oval-shaped banked tracks. Also…

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