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Portland track racer making headlines in Berlin

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
Kovalcik in Berlin (he's behind the middle guy in white).
(Photo: Facebook)

Portland resident Zak Kovalcik is raising a lot of eyebrows in the track racing world. The Sizzle Pie Cycling p/b Veloforma team rider is currently in Germany competing in the 102nd annual Berlin Six Day. The event features a form of track racing known as steher, where riders roll behind specially modified motorcycles. The discipline isn't well known in the states and it's rare for an American to take part:

Here's more from CyclingNews.com:

"The all-but-forgotten art of steher racing will have a little yankee flavor added this week when reining US omnium champion Zak Kovalcik competes in the high-speed niche event during the 102nd Berlin Six Day January 24-29.
(more...)

Checking in on the Alpenrose Velodrome renovation project

Friday, May 18th, 2012
Castelli will donate $60 dollars to OBRA for every
one of these jerseys they sell (price is $100).

The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) is just about $5,000 short of meeting their goal for the first phase of a fundraising effort to replace the pock-marked and cracking concrete surfaces on the venerable Alpenrose Velodrome in Portland's southwest hills.

The renovation of the straightaways began back in March and has now been completed. "The new portions are amazingly smooth," says Velodrome manager Mike Murray. The total cost was just over $51,000.

Phase two of the project — the paved infield portion of the track (a.k.a. the apron) — will be equally as expensive. Once all the work is done, Murray says the project will, "Make almost a new velodrome and will keep Alpenrose running for the next 20-30 plus years." (more...)

OBRA looks to replace aging concrete at Alpenrose Velodrome

Monday, March 12th, 2012
After years of patching and repainting, the time has
come to lay new concrete at Alpenrose.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) has launched a fund-raising effort to rebuild a major portion of Alpenrose Velodrome. The 1/6 mile track located on land owned by Alpenrose Dairy in Portland's southwest hills has become a crucial part of the regional racing scene and has served as a beloved venue since 1962.

However, despite years of patchwork and paint, the track's concrete surface has reached an advanced state of disrepair that can no longer be fixed with band-aids.

"Along the straightaways is just terrible," OBRA's Mike Murray shared with me today. "Riding around that thing is bumpier than riding on a regular road... If you put a speedometer on your track bike you can't even read the thing."

Murray, who has managed OBRA's track program for as long as anyone can remember, has led teams of volunteers twice a year to repair, repaint, and patch the track surface. After an off-season power-washing job, it became clear that another round of band-aid wouldn't be enough. After the power-wash blasted away years of paint and concrete patch material, "It was obvious that substantial work needed to be done to keep the velodrome running," wrote Murray in a recent email to OBRA members. (more...)

'Battle on the Bricks' kicks off big weekend of track racing

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
A Friday at the Velodrome-48.jpg
Track action on tap at Alpenrose all weekend.
(Photos © J. Maus)

If you're anywhere near Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland today, you won't want to miss a rare opportunity to see former and (perhaps) future Olympic track racers. The Battle on the Bricks Roller Races is a preview event for this weekend's Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge — one of the premier track events in the country.
(more...)

Alpenrose Velodrome cleaned up, ready for business

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
OBRA volunteer Stewart Campbell
helped pressure wash Alpenrose
Velodrome.
(Photos: David Boerner)

The word is in from Alpenrose Velodrome Director Mike Murray: track racing will start this week at the popular track nestled in Portland's southwest hills (weather permitting, of course).

The announcement comes after a week and a half of weeding, scraping, patching, sanding, and sweeping Portland’s beloved concrete bowl to perfection (or close enough, anyway). The track cleanup effort was a labor of love by a crack team of volunteers. (more...)

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