There are those who believe Wynwood is in decline, that as artisanal juice shops have pushed out art galleries, the neighborhood has lost its edge, that gentrification has made geriatrics of us all.
To that, we answer with the angry hiss of a thousand energy drinks opened all at once. For what could be more Wynwood, more youthful, more extreme than a bunch of bikers tearing around the world's smallest racetrack?
Technically, the track is called a velodrome. For those who don't speak European, a velodrome is an oval cycling course with steeply banked sides. Normally they are huge (like those used in the Olympics), but apparently the Red Bull scientists who sent that dude skydiving in outer space have figured out a way to shrink the velodrome to the size of a sumo wrestling ring.
This Saturday, bikers from around the world will converge on Wynwood -- in a lot at NW Second Avenue and 22nd Street -- and squeeze inside a "mini drome" that measures just 46 by 24 feet. It's so tiny you could fit three of them on the Miami Heat's home court. According to Red Bull, it's the smallest such course ever built (we're still fact-checking that claim).
Cyclists will square off to see who can complete ten tiny laps fastest. Speeds can reach 30 mph, and prizes top out at $1,000.
"It's really intimidating," admits Addison Zawada, a professional BMX biker who lives in Jacksonville and is sponsored by Red Bull. He's ridden the mini drome nine times in locations around the globe.
"It's supposed to be one of those events that you sort of show up to and have no idea what you're getting into," he says. "I have an unfair advantage. I know what to expect. So I'm going to go down to Miami to help everyone out."
Zawada will act as coach for any Miami hipsters who dare to mount their fixies inside the mini drome. His advice: Raise your handlebars, drop your seat, and lower your gears. "For mini drome, 90 percent of the race is in the first lap," he says. "You need a lower gear to get up to speed right away."
Oh, and wear a helmet.
"I've seen some wipeouts," Zawada says. "During the first one I raced in Orlando in 2012, a guy went a little too fast and went flying off the top of one of the berms," or banked ends.
"He didn't get hurt or anything, but it was a pretty good laugh. He fell about eight and a half feet straight to the ground. It was pretty wild."
Wild, wild Wynwood. At least for a little while longer.
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