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Doug Emerson and Frank Banta


Today, Erie is known for its sprawling neighborhoods, luxe softball fields and bustling community center. But with time, the bedroom community east of Boulder could one day be known for its population of cyclists, pedal-pushers and racers. “Many Boulderites will go their whole lives never visiting Erie,” said Doug Emerson, owner of Boulder’s famed University Bikes and one of the developers of the yet-to-be-built Boulder Valley Velodrome. “Now, you are going to Erie.”

Emerson and Frank Banta, a loyal cyclist and owner of Frank Banta Construction, cultivated the concept of building a high-caliber velodrome in the county nearly six years ago. They formed Boneshaker LLC, and in 2006, Boneshaker purchased a 4-acre parcel of land off of County Line Road in Erie. In spring, the Erie Town Board gave unanimous approval to their project: a 250-meter outdoor velodrome with a 42-degree angle at the curves and 11-degree angle on the straight-aways. Peter Junek, who has designed and built velodromes around the world, will design the Boulder Valley Velodrome. They will break ground when they’ve secured 100 founding members.

The project will be the third velodrome in the state; joining the ranks of the smaller indoor velodrome at Boulder Indoor Cycling and a 333-meter track at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. While Boulder County has long been known for its great cycling roads and culture, this will take that reputation into another stratosphere.

“It’s like building the first hockey rink in Montreal or the first golf course in Florida,” Emerson said. “We can’t even predict how big it will be. But we are expecting it will attract thousands from Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, Broomfield, all over the region.”

In time, they want to see world records set at the facility. They want to see Olympic athletes who train and live in Erie. And simultaneously, they want to create a velodrome that welcomes racers and riders, pros and beginners alike. The velodrome will offer 10 clubs of about 30 people each with classes and lessons for beginners and kids.

“You expect to have elite cyclists out there,” Banta said. “But you really want every man and woman out there. You want to have 10 to 30 soccer moms riding.”

The business began with an “if you build it, they will come” philosophy. It’s their field of dreams. Banta and Emerson said they want a velodrome in Boulder County for their own personal enjoyment. If and when others come, it’ll just be icing on the cake.

But, surely, others will come.

“We didn’t know how many cyclists live in Erie proper,” Emerson said. “And there may be enough cyclists in Erie to keep us packed. But we know people will come from all over.”

In their words:

On the success: “We hope to make Erie to cyclists what Steamboat Springs is to ski jumpers. Steamboat has the facility, and it attracts top athletes. It would not be unreasonable to see—in two Olympics from now—athletes from Erie,” Emerson said.

“It’ll make you stronger, faster, better at pedaling. It gives you better form. It’ll improve every aspect of cycling,” Banta said of riding a velodrome. “It’s 10-times more effective than a spinning class,” Emerson added.

“Half the people who try it, before they start, say, ‘I can’t do it.’ And after they try it, they say, ‘I can’t wait to do this again,” Emerson said.

On the velodrome: “It’s thrilling. It’s fast. It’s addictive. And you get better every time. It’s a skill, and there is a learning curve. There is a tremendous aerobic element to it. You can’t just mosey. You’ve got to ride,” Banta said. “There is an X Games factor to it,” Emerson added. “But what’s important, in a velodrome you can’t get hit by a car.”


email no info send march17th/09

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