By Jason McDowell Creative Director Published Apr 15, 2024 at 4:01 PM

Track bike racing at the Kenosha Velodrome will kick off in early May, and will mark 97 years of continuous operation for the cycle track – apart from its temporary closing for re-building in 2016 – making it the oldest-operating velodrome in America. The ovular raceway has a concrete surface that measures 333-meter around (just under five football fields in length) and contains two 28-degree banked turn at either end.

The sport of track racing is done atop brakeless, fixed gear bikes, which can reach – and maybe even exceed – speeds of 56 kph (35 mph). Because of the direct-drive system (with no shifters or freewheel), speed is partially determined by the size of the front chainring and rear cog, and a rider's sheer strength to pedal as fast as possible – and coasting isn't a possibility.

Five racers compete on the Kenosha Velodrome.X

Racing in earnest begins May 14 and continues every Tuesday, through late August, but to get familiar with the basic rules and safety concepts, a Track 101 clinic is required to participate. There are six Track 101 opportunities throughout the season, and the first is Saturday, April 20. To register, visit (and click "Registation" at the top).

Schedule for the 2024 Kenosha Velodrome Track Racing Series
2024 Kenosha Velodrome Track Racing Series

For those who do not have a fixed gear bike, but are still interested in dipping their toes into the sport, Monday night races are open to any style of bike. Track bikes are also available to rent all season.

And for those who simply want to watch the action, bring a blanket and some lawn chairs, and enjoy the eats from the local food trucks.

What is track racing?

Winning a track race isn't always as simple as employing sheer strength and speed to be the first across the line; there are a multitude of tactics to consider. Each race accomodates different types of riding styles and opens different strategies for winning. Competitions can be as short as half a lap or as long as 150 laps (totalling 50 km or 30 mi), and how you choose to bait or dominate your competitors is the key to success.

A track racer on the Kenosha Velodrome.X

Participants have three chances to race each night, each of which showcase different styles of racing that gamify the sport. Some of the more popular events include:

Miss n' Out, sometimes referred to as The Devil (Takes the Hindmost), a multi-lap race in which the last rider across the line is pulled while the other racers continue on. It's about using just enough energy to stay in the race, but not so much that you can't compete in the final sprint at the end.

Team Sprint, in which teams of two or three take the track on opposite ends and race two laps to see who can get across the line first. But riders can swap positions to distribute the amount of time each teammate has to push through the wind at the front or save energy in the draft.

The Points race, a longer form of racing in which riders accumulate points by fighting for sprint points every 10 laps. Other variations include the Tempo race, which awards points every lap or the Snowball, which awards ever greater points each lap until the end of the race.

Kieren, in which a small number of riders are placed by drawing lots and paced up to speed with a motorbike. When the motorbike leaves the track, riders then fight in earnest to be the first across the line. It's all about getting your positioning right and finding the gap.

The Match Sprint, which lines up two riders side by side for a three-lap first-to-the-line competition. It sounds simple enough, but the tactics can be tenacious and strange.

2018 Pro Match Sprint at Lexus Velodrome

Since riders only have to race at max speed in the last 200 meters, often the first laps start at a snail's pace, and sometimes even stop altogether, as both riders jockey for their preferred position, before ramping up to their spectacular finish.

More info

For more information on the upcoming track season, visit or follow them on Instagram.

Jason McDowell Creative Director

Jason McDowell grew up in central Iowa and moved to Milwaukee in 2000 to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

In 2006 he began working with OnMilwaukee as an advertising designer, but has since taken on a variety of rolls as the Creative Director, tackling all kinds of design problems, from digital to print, advertising to branding, icons to programming.

In 2016 he picked up the 414 Digital Star of the Year award.

Most other times he can be found racing bicycles, playing board games, or petting dogs.