It is hard to pin down the start of the track season on the west coast of the United States. The west coast racing season starts with hill climbs on New Years day and ends with Cyclocross races the week before Christmas. While the UCI track races are screaming in exotic locals through out the winter, California grassroots racing just rolls on rain or shine, it never really stops. The big west coast races start running in June and July as the weather settles into an equilibrium of hot days/cool nights down south and temperate dry season up north. Until mid summer the local races are a hodge podge of weekly events and fast tempo training events attended by pros, world champions, and the dedicated racers that make up the core of west coast racing community. Following the results can be challenging but since all the tracks have set up their own websites and Twitter accounts getting updates has been a little easier. While some tracks like San Diego, Hellyer and LA Velodrome have races all year most regular series get started in April and May – while real racing has started yet its not hard to tell who is taking this year seriously.
Hellyer Velodrome got started a little earlier this season with the Ride the World Cup series which was used as a fundraiser to send ProMan rider Shelly Olds across the globe to in pursuite of UCI points needed to represent the US at the World Championships in March. Shelly was successful in her quest and the final fund raiser was held a week before the World Championships and was filled with several pro’s (Bissel/s Jacque Maynes Brothers, Daniel “
Hollywood” Hollaway), national champions, and Hellyer-ite regulars. The marquee event was a star studded Madison which was won by Olds/Holloway who teamed up to show the locals what they had learned during all the Six Day’s they attended on the continent. While Old’s and Holloway didn’t pick up any medals in Poland they picked up valuable experience which will help them next season. Hollaway especially made an impression on the Euro’s during is Six Day campaign and might be the next big thing if his nickname has anything to say a bout it. (Twitter ID: Hellyer –http://www.ridethetrack.com) Encino Velodrome has been aggressively promoting their races recently and saw an uptick in attendance for their most recent race, The “Once Upon a Time in the Valley”, on May 2. The P1/2 field was dominated by Kit Karzan (18) and Scott Evans (41), who might decide to take their age bending Madison act on the road and hit some of the tracks further up the coast in an attempt to land Encino back on the map this summer. (Twitter ID: EncinoVelodrome – http://www.encinovelodrome.org/)
San Diego Velodrome racing started on April 7th and was dominated by stalwarts Shaun Wallace (yes that Shaun Wallace) and John Arnold. Iggy Silva made his way into the top five proving that although Rock Racing may be having some issues, Iggy is here to stay. The last few weeks have seen Wallace and Arnold continue their dominance only to be challenged and beaten, by the legendary Mark Whitehead and up and comer Kevin Schiller. (Twitter ID SDVelodrome – http://www.sdvelodrome.com/)
The weather up in Oregon and Washington is still suspect in the spring time so Alspenrose and Marymoor are only just about to kick off their weekly racing series. Racing at Marymoor gets underway on Friday May 8 and Alpenrose lights up on Saturday May 9th with the Eric Kautzky Memorial Track Race. A handful of the Northwest riders (read Williams/Beardsly) have been making the rounds of the training races at Hellyer and LA Velodrome so expect these guys to be flying by the time the real races start. (Twitter ID: marymoortrack http://velodrome.org/mva/ http://app.obra.org/track)
LA has seen its share of drama with the implosion of the Hawk Relay UCI team which had its funding dry up in a sudden and surprising turn this winter. The sudden disappearance of the Hawk Trade team looks like it might be offset by the appearance of a new West Coast trade team funded out out of Silicon Valley called The Black Dog Sports Professional Cycling Team. Please offer a moment of silence to the Hawk Relay mob and say a quick prayer of hope for the Black Dog outfit. With sudden unemployment foisted upon them Hawk Relay riders Travis Smith and Adam Duvedneck have kept themselves busy coaching sprint sessions at the biggest indoor track in the US which will be sure to help any potential sprinters out there. Gossip aside the LA Velodrome Friday training series has seen an interesting assortment of names making appearances at the top of the Omniums including luminaries such as Taylor Phinney, Kit Karzen, Iggy Silva, Mike McMahon, Colt Peterson, Danny Healy, David Koesel and more recently Sarah Hammer. If Sarah is back a whole new world of hurt is going to be opened on the women’s races this summer. (Twitter ID: LAEventCenter http://lavelodrome.org)
The local races will heat up through May and June but the major west coast events kick off this June with the Hellyer AVC and then roll almost every weekend through July. For those looking for results, videos, or even want to check out the venues in person here are the money races on the West Coast this summer.
Hellyer AVC June 26-27
Alpenrose Six Day June 29-July 4
Marymoor Grand Prix July 24-25
Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge 7/17-7/19