10:52 PM EDT, June 22, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS - There is nothing that unifies like mounds of dirt. At least Dean Peterson thinks so.
The Marian University coach leads college cyclists at his school into a number of venues. Some of them on paved roads and others on banked track, which he can do at the Indy Cycloplex just 400 yards from the University gates.
But there is something about this newest part of the complex tucked in at the corner of Cold Spring Road and I-465 that brings it all together.
"I love the grass roots aspect of it," said Peterson of BMX Racing-a form of off-road racing specifically for bicycles. "I love to see how people take care of each other. Little kids go out and everybody will take care of them as they ride.
"Parent are involved. Kids can get started on striders at the earliest age."
Maybe its why Peterson was so happy when the ribbon was cut on the newly renovated BMX track at the Cycloplex on Friday afternoon. For the first time Marian will have a solid home course for the dicipline in racing, but its not the main hope as the team moves forward with the project.
"It won't fly with us just using it as a Marian team," said Peterson of sharing the track with those in Indianapolis. "It's going to be a community effort."
Hence the move by Marian University in May of 2011 to operate the Lake Sullivan Sports Complex-where the Cycloplex is located. Inside that area includes the banked Velodrome along with a Cyclocross course and a BMX track that had fallen on hard times since it's creation in the Mid-1980s.
Peterson said the effort to rehab the dirt track began two years ago and gained momentum over the past few years.