A cyclist leans on a banked turn in the Boulder Valley Velodrome.Randy Liljenberg
When the Boulder Valley Velodrome — a 250-meter outdoor cycling track with steep, banked turns — opened in Erie in 2015, it was the culmination of more than a decade of effort by its joint owners, Doug Emerson and Frank Banta.
Emerson and Banta had first discussed building a velodrome in 1999 after hearing from enough cyclists who lamented the lack of an Olympic-caliber cycling track in Colorado; later, they formed a partnership called Boneshaker LLC and bought 4.2 acres in Erie in 2008. It took until 2012 to get a construction permit and architectural designs, and the wooden track finally opened in 2015.
Velodromes are specifically designed for speed; cyclists use brakeless, fixed-gear bicycles – usually with light and aerodynamic frames made from carbon fiber or aluminum – that allow them to reach speeds of up to fifty miles per hour.
Finishing its third season next week, the velodrome has been a hit with brakeless cyclists, generating its own culture and regular cast of spectators who come to watch races and cheer on their favorite competitors.
And now, for a cool $4.7 million, the entire facility can be yours.
This week, Emerson and Banta announced that they're putting the velodrome up for sale.
Banta says that the sale isn't because the velodrome has run into financial trouble. Rather, Emerson is moving to Mexico, and Banta, who is approaching seventy, is hoping to find a new steward for the velodrome who is just as passionate and willing to invest time, energy and funds into the property as he was over the long course of its development.
"I can't be more impressed with the way that this has grown," says Banta. "We're in a comfortable position right now, but it's moved beyond us. We felt this is the right time to find the next Doug and Frank."
The co-owner says that the track's staff, membership base of over 200 paying participants and thirty sponsors aren't going anywhere; they'll transfer over to the new owner.
"So this is more than just property we're selling," he points out.
That also includes the novelty of watching world-class athletes train and race on a regular basis. The track's Thursday night races are especially popular, sanctioned by USA Cycling and running from the beginning of May until early fall each year.
The track has also hosted Olympic teams from the Netherlands and Canada.
"It'll be fun to see what the future brings," Banta says. "We want to make sure it's the greatest velodrome in the country, if not the world."
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Chris Walker is a freelancer and former staff writer at Westword. Before moving to the Mile High City he spent two years bicycling across Eurasia, during which he wrote feature stories for VICE, NPR, Forbes, and The Atlantic. Read more of Chris's feature work and view his portfolio here.