Nearly nine months after a violent thunderstorm knocked over a substantial portion of the structure, the final panels have been placed on the track of the Boulder Valley Velodrome in Erie.
There's still plenty of work to do before teams of Lycra-clad cyclists go screaming around the 250-meter oval located on the northwest corner of Bonnell Avenue and County Line Road.
But co-founder Frank Banta said the progress made since August's damaging weather is worth celebrating.
“We have totally recovered from last year's storm,” the president of Boulder-based Boneshaker LLC said of the Aug. 3 weather burst that toppled the eastern-most third of the partially-finished velodrome. “It shook us up for about 24 hours, and then the next day we got back out there and went back to work.”
On Thursday, Banta and velodrome co-founder Doug Emerson, owner of Boulder's University Bicycles, took the first test lap around the track after the final heavy-duty plywood panel was screwed down.
On the web
For more information about the Boulder Valley Velodrome in Erie, visit bouldervalleyvelodrome.com.
The two men first had a vision to build an outdoor velodrome in Boulder County in 2004, and broke ground on the 4.2-acre Erie site in 2011.
The facility is only the second of its kind in the state, joining a velodrome in Colorado Springs.
“Unbelievable,” Banta said of his first lap. “It exceeded any of our expectations.”
An opening date is still five to six weeks out, Banta said. Several coats of deck paint and velodrome striping — including a red “sprinters” line and blue “stayers” line — must be applied. Concrete needs to be laid on an eastern part of the infield, and the bathrooms must be finished and inspected, among other work, Banta said.
In the meantime, interested people should feel welcome to stop by to take see the progress for themselves.
“We are encouraging people to come by and take a look,” he said. “There is a lot more to the track than what you see from the street.”
There are 10 cycling clubs that make up the founding membership at the Boulder Valley Velodrome, including some with open slots.
Banta said the facility will eventually be open to a wide variety of users, but the first priority will be properly certifying the nearly 300 club members to ensure they know how to safely ride on the Olympic-quality track, where bikes with brakes are banned.‘Really a huge accomplishment'
Among the coaches who will be certifying the first crop of club members is Neal Henderson.
Henderson, the owner of Boulder's APEX Coaching and the former director of sports science at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, worked with the U.S. women's track cycling pursuit team that took the silver medal in the London Olympics in 2012.
Henderson also is a member of the Boulder Orthopedics Masters Cycling Team at the velodrome, and was able to take a few test laps of his own at the facility last week.
“They did a great job on the construction,” Henderson said. “Everything about it is spot-on. It's really a huge accomplishment.”
Henderson said he can't wait to get some youth groups out on the track. Velodromes offer a unique opportunity for cyclists to hone their skills in an enclosed environment and ride together without concerns about traffic, he said.
“The Boulder Valley Velodrome now is just going to be a huge opportunity to get more people out on bikes, get more young people out there” he said. “I'm really looking forward to being able to help that next generation of riders come up.”Economic impact
Officials with the town of Erie also are very excited about the progress at the velodrome, according to Fred Diehl, assistant to the town administrator.
He said the town has been happy to be with Banta and Emerson every step of the way on the unique and at times challenging project, and looks forward to a long partnership with the velodrome.
Diehl said he also expects having the unique facility in town to have positive economic impacts, especially on the brewery and brewpub scene.
“Having an Olympic-caliber velodrome in your community is quite an opportunity,” he said, noting there are many avid cyclists on the town staff. “We've been happy to help these guys with their dream and make this a reality.
“We may all be surprised at just how significant an impact this will have on the community.”Contact Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino at 303-473-1328, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/rubinojc.