Posted by Editoress on 03/18/08
Rick Mercer Comes to FCV
Yesterday afternoon, the Forest City Velodrome had a packed house, with over 250 people showing up for a session which began at 1:00 pm and ran past 5:00. However, they weren't there for the racing...
"I'm here for Rick," exclaimed one mid-40s woman, sounding giddy as a schoolgirl.
Yes, the FCV went (north) Hollywood for a day, when CBC comedian Rick Mercer, star of the popular Mercer Report arrived with a television crew to tape a segment on the track. Mercer has a tradition of participating in various activities (including parachuting, driving a tank, steering a dog sled team, competing in a demolition derby and, most famously, skinning dipping with former Ontario Premier Bob Rae), and this time it is track racing.
View our video interview with Rick Mercer Here.
The visit came about because of an e-mail sent by 15 year old FCV member Kyle Rupay of Peterborough, who challenged Mercer to come down and ride the track with him.
"On the Mercer Report every week we go off somewhere on an adventure and do something interesting," explained Mercer. "The best ideas quite often come from our viewers and they send us suggestions. We've had about ten e-mails over the last couple of seasons, people suggesting that we come here ... but a young man Kyle, who I just interviewed [for the show], he sent me an e-mail challenging me to come down and check it out and for some reason we just though, yeah, let's go."
The entire event came together in just over a week, according to track director Rob Good, and will, hopefully, result in an upswing of popularity for the track. "This is huge," stated Good. "The stands are full ... who could have thought of 250 people out here at three o'clock on a Monday afternoon."
The segment will air next week (March 25th) in the season finale of The Mercer Report. Check local CBC listings for the time in your region.
Mercer went through an abbreviated Track 101 program, which involves gradually riding further and further up the banking on the straights. He also asked about the various coloured lines on the track, including the top yellow one (a metre from the top of the track). Once he heard that people (including Kyle Rupey) did ride above that line, you could see the determination in his eyes to do the same.
Rob Good, on the other hand, was extremely nervous about the idea (as well as other ones, such as when Mercer jumped over the railing on the high side of the track and slide down on his butt...), with visions of an injured TV star damping his enthusiasm.
However, Mercer was surprisingly quick to adapt to the track, and was limited only by his lack of fitness. He even took a turn around the track on the back of a tandem with Terry Detheridge of The Bicycle Shop in Brantford.
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