Flood of new members bodes well for track cycling
The track cycling season wraps up at the Juan de Fuca Velodrome this weekend with the three day Cycling B.C.’s Provincial Track Cycling Championship.
More than 60 cyclists, mainly from Vancouver and Victoria, are racing in a variety of sprints and longer distance pursuits in individual and team events.
Greater Victoria Velodrome Association president Chris Anstey is pleased to see the track put to good use after being closed due to an insurance risk for the two summers previous.
“Track racing is not just racing, it’s a social community,” he said, pointing to the range of age (teens to seniors) and ability (three categories) converging on the track.
“A lot of riders gave up on track cycling and sold their bike when the velodrome closed,” he said. “When we were let back on the track, they had to rush out and get new bikes.”
The GVVA signed up 130 members during its season, including a record 20 juniors. Its twice-weekly “learn to ride track” courses were never empty.
Members could get on the track three days per week, Mondays for time training, Wednesdays for group rides and Sunday for open track.
Anstey is confident the track will be open again next year. “This certainly isn’t our last hurrah,” he said of the championships. “My understanding is we’ll be able to use the track next year, but I’m not exactly sure on what terms.”
A consultants report commissioned by West Shore Parks and Recreation recommended the GVVA’s one-year lease on the velodrome be extended to five years. But in the longer term, about 10 years down the road, the report recommended redeveloping the 333-metre cycling track to make way for an artificial turf field.
Anstey would rather see the existing velodrome upgraded to a better quality cycling track.
“The velodrome is one of the safest places to ride,” he said. “You don’t have to be a serious racer to enjoy it. It’s a great aerobic activity for all ages.”
The B.C. Provincial Championship runs Sept. 2 to 4 at the Juan de Fuca velodrome, at West Shore Parks and Recreation. For more information on the velodrome society and for racing results, see gvva.bc.ca.