After sitting idle for years, community volunteers are hard at work to resurrect Colorado’s Boulder Valley Velodrome (BVV) with the hopes of opening its door before the summer’s end.
The United States currently has fewer than 20 operational velodromes nationwide. And once renovations conclude on the Erie, Colorado velodrome will be one of just three 250-meter, Olympic standard tracks in the country.
Challenged by historic floods, wind storms and the global pandemic, the outdoor velodrome closed to the public in 2019, leaving the massive structure to slowly fall into decay until a group of investors calling themselves Boulder Valley Holdings purchased the building in April 2023.
Todd Stevenson, who heads the Team Colorado junior road cycling team, is one of the members of Boulder Valley Holdings and is leading the charge on getting the velodrome into ride-able condition.
“Last year when I traveled with our juniors team there were a bunch of the kids who wanted to test out track racing, but they were few and far between, especially in Colorado,” Stevenson tells Cycling Weekly. “We ended up traveling to six tracks all over the country in 2022 just to get our kids ready to race at Nationals.”
When Stevenson returned from nationals in mid-2022, he got the idea to resurrect the Boulder Valley Velodrome, which despite only being constructed in 2013, had been sitting vacant since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2019.
After gathering the funds and investors needed to purchase the property in early 2023, Stevenson made the decision to run the Boulder Valley Velodrome as a nonprofit.
“The whole idea was to purchase the velodrome and then run it as a nonprofit to support Team Colorado cycling,” Stevenson says. “We were able to make a cash purchase on the velodrome, so while we still have a high property tax to pay, we aren’t financing the overall purchase.”
Since finalizing the purchase, Stevenson and his team of investors have been hard at work to make the velodrome operational.
“People keep asking when the velodrome will be open - it will be open when it is finished,” Stevenson says. “All renovations are done by community volunteers. The more volunteers we have, the sooner we can open our doors.”
The renovations include installing entirely new plywood on the track and sanding it, painting the velodrome’s exterior, apron, track and walls, and cleaning and painting the stands, restrooms and storage areas.
To fund the renovations, which are estimated to cost about $100,000, a GoFundMe has been set up and, at the time of publishing, had raised nearly $71,000.
Velodromes are a niche structure in that historically, they are only leveraged for track cycling. Stevenson wants to change that misconception and sees the Boulder Valley Velodrome as extending beyond the track cycling world and into the local community.
“We envision hosting a slate of events with the town of Erie that include movie nights, concerts, food trucks, pickleball tournaments, and even a cyclocross race here in the fall,” Stevenson says. “In addition, we will be offering beginner track cycling classes to introduce people to the sport. Specialized donated 60 track bikes of all sizes so that we will be able to lower the barrier to entry to track cycling for the community.”
In addition, Stevenson envisions teams from all over the world coming to the Boulder Valley Velodrome to prepare for the upcoming Olympics, especially knowing that the BVV is one of just two Olympic standard-sized velodromes in the country.
“Before the velodrome closed in late 2019, teams from all over the world preparing for the Tokyo Olympics came here to train,” Stevenson says. “The Canadian women’s track cycling team was here, the Belgium team trained here, and so did the New Zealand team as well as the U.S. team —I envision the velodrome being used in a similar way to prepare for the 2024 Olympics.”
Additionally, the Boulder-area community is a vibrant cycling hub with a host of youth developmental teams such as Stevenson’s own Team Colorado and the Boulder Junior Cycling program alongside established professional teams like Cinch Cycling.
“Track cycling is special in that it’s not like triathlon or gravel where you see someone for a minute or two and then they ride away,” Stevenson says. “At a velodrome, families can come and watch everyone from their friends to pro athletes race in a contained space… track cycling, in my opinion, brings people together in a way that other types of cycling can’t.”
Stevenson hopes to have the velodrome fully operational before fall 2023.
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