Boulder is a hot spot for the sport of cycling, with around 20 bike shops, swarms of professional athletes, sports science research facilities and cycling-centric brands. And now, after a three-year hiatus that had some fearing a permanent closure, the Boulder Valley Velodrome could reopen as soon as June — putting it back on the menu for cyclists.
After persevering through a tough beginning from record flooding and a freak wind event during its construction in 2013, the Velodrome — a steeply banked 250-meter wooden race track — was set to become a world stage for speed-hungry cyclists. It is just one of four tracks in the U.S. that meets the international standard length, making it a desirable training location for track cyclists seeking to compete in the Olympics.
The facility, which finally opened in 2015, was a passion project of former owners Doug Emerson, the owner of University Bikes in Boulder, and Frank Banta. But after only two years of operation it was put on the market for $4.7 million in 2017.
Another two years passed before a buyer was secured, and to the dismay of the cycling community, the new owner was planning to demolish the facility to make use of the four-acre plot for what was rumored to become a driving range. But the deal fell through. And earlier this month, it was purchased for a reduced price of $1.3 million by a group of cyclists under the name BVV Holdings LLC.
“We think the time is right to resurrect this as a world-class cycling track,” said Cari Higgins, one of the members in the BVV Holdings group.
Higgins, a former national champion track cyclist and chair of the USA Cycling board of directors, led previous attempts to save the Velodrome. She may have finally pulled it off. That’s in part because there is more riding on the comeback than just a cycling track. The facility happens to sit on the southern end of a planning effort to establish a new town center in Erie.
“The Erie Town Center is envisioned as nearly 400 acres combining mixed-use development with parks and open space. And the reactivation of the Boulder Valley Velodrome will help us meet the vision for creating a unique and thriving community center,” said Erie Town Administrator Malcolm Fleming.
BVV Holdings has named Team Colorado Cycling as the new operator. TCC is a nonprofit junior road cycling group based in Boulder.
“By restoring the Boulder Valley Velodrome we can bring new people to the sport and develop the next generation of cycling legends from the United States,” said Makala Jaramillo, an 18-year-old from Colorado on the junior cycling circuit with Team USA and Sonic Boom Racing.
The wooden track is in need of repairs after years of neglect, and TCC is looking for help funding the comeback. They set up a GoFundMe page seeking to raise $75,000 in donations, which has brought in more than $44,000 as of April 23. They are also looking for volunteers to help with things like cleanup, painting and landscaping.
A reopening event is scheduled on May 6, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The owners hope to have the track back in operation by June.