March 14, 2017
By Kris Parfitt
Arenas for cycling are called velodromes and while no two are alike, they each feature an oval- shaped track with two steeply banked circular ends connected by two straightaways. The Pacific Northwest is home to two such tracks, the Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome and the Circuit d’Alpenrose Velodrome.
Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome
Formerly known as the Marymoor Velodrome, this cycling track was renamed in honor of Jerry Baker, a Northwest cycling advocate and legend who died in 2015 at the age of 73. Baker was instrumental in getting the Velodrome started.
Working in tandem with the King County Department of Parks and Recreation, the Washington State Bicycling Association (WSBA) opened the velodrome in 1975. By 1991, the WSBA changed its name to the Marymoor Velodrome Association (MVA) which continues to operate as a nonprofit and is 100 percent volunteer driven.
With a mission of providing education and developing the Northwest track cycling community through classes, clinics and racing, the 400-meter oval is open for riders of all levels and ages.
Having hosted eight National Cycling Championships, the Velodrome has also been the venue for the Sundance Grand Prix, the 7-Eleven/Bicycling Magazine Grand Prix, the regional Olympic Trials and several Olympic and Pan-Am development meets, as well as the 1990 Goodwill Games.
Its Friday Night Race Series is a fan favorite and kicks off the summer June 2. www.velodrome.org
Circuit d’Alpenrose Velodrome
Built for the 1967 National Cycling Championships, the 50-year-old Alpenrose Velodrome boasts the steepest track in the country with the rounded ends banked at 43 degrees. This 268.43-meter tracks hosts the Alpenrose six-day event every summer, the longest active continuously running six-day cycling race in the United States.
The Cadonau family owns the Alpenrose Dairy and the land the velodrome is built on. Mike and Candi Murray, who have been stewards of the track for decades, have retired from day-to-day operations yet are still available for guidance. John Klupar and Clint Culpepper are now the Director of Alpenrose and Sponsorship and Communications Manager, respectively.
The Portland Velodrome Committee (PVC) is the catalyst between racers, promoters, officials and sponsors and promotes events at the Alpenrose Velodrome. The PVC offers weekly track clinics during the summer for youth and adults. www.velodrome.obra.org