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.
The last time the track underwent a major renovation was 1998 when about half the track was rebuilt. This time around Murray says he plans to replace both straightaways and the apron (the portion between the track’s infield and the main track).
Alpenrose Dairy owns the velodrome and they agree the work needs to be done. Officials from the dairy are meeting with Murray and a construction company this week to discuss the project. At this time, estimates for the cost to replace about 1/3 of the track’s concrete surface is around $100,000. For that investment, Murray says Alpenrose will be “almost like new” and it will keep running strong for the next 20-30 years or more.
patching the track
surface in 2006, knows the
crumbling concrete all too well.
In order for the project to happen, Murray says the community must step up and show its willingness to donate. The folks at Alpenrose Dairy not only own the velodrome and offer its use at no charge to OBRA, they also allow the racing organization to store vehicles and equipment on the site. So far, enthusiasm in the OBRA community has been strong.
Track fan Brian Ratliff wrote via email, “Imagine, no more having your rear wheel kick 6″ sideways coming out of turn two in the sprinters lane!” And Steve Brown, the man who has worked to build a new velodrome closer to downtown Portland, said he has already written a $1,000 check. “I am issuing a challenge to all racers,” wrote Brown, “to join me in the Kilo Club.”
If all goes according to plan, demolition of the track will start in the next few weeks and the entire project will be done by May. “I don’t want to lose any racing season,” says Murray.
If you would like to help with this exciting project, tax deductible donations can be made online or via snail mail to:
- Portland Velodrome Committee
4318 SE 8th Ct.
Gresham, OR 97080
You can also contact Mike Murray via email at mike [dot] murray [at] obra [dot] org.