- Welcome -
WE BUILD CHAMPIONS
The Alkek Velodrome is not able to operate as normal. We can open only on a limited basis for prescheduled training sessions until further notice. The key points are listed below:
- Maximum 5 Riders in the velodrome at any one time. (5 additional non-riders can also be present)
- We are NOT able to offer racing, new rider clinics, youth cycling league or any other events
- We are NOT permitted to use shared equipment including rental bikes
- Sessions MUST be scheduled and paid for online prior to attending the track. We CANNOT accept in person payments.
These restrictions must be complied with and therefore unfortunately we CANNOT accept new riders at this time. We hope to be able to offer New Rider Clinics and Racing along with a full program soon but require the City of Houston to progress with reopening to the point that this will be allowed. If you wish to be added to a mailing list that will be notified when this happens please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further details of our opening restrictions can be found here.
All riders must have completed a 2021 Waiver before attending the track. These CANNOT be completed on site and must be done online.
2020 Program Director Annual Update
This year has been pretty challenging for many people and organizations. Alkek Velodrome included. As many, if not all, of you know due to COVID restrictions we haven't been able to run our normal program or any events, however, we have been able to operate regular, although limited training sessions, which are still going on for eligible riders if you fancy some winter training. I understand this may be frustrating and for those who are interested I would like to clarify the 'why' of it all below, if you would rather move onto things going forward you can skip the italic bit!
Back in June GHCF contacted HPARD and asked about reopening Alkek Velodrome after the initial COVID lockdown. HPARD asked us to submit a reopening proposal that complied with the existing restrictions at the time. We did this, HPARD approved it and agreed an opening date in July as the City of Houston moved HPARD into phase 2 of their reopening (not to be confused with the state reopening which is separate). The plan at this time was to relax these conditions in 2-4 weeks as HPARD moved to phase 3 and fully reopen a few weeks later, however, cases got worse and the City of Houston put the brakes on their reopening, it has been this way ever since. This meant Alkek Velodrome was not able to move to less restrictive measures. You may find this confusing as you have probably seen other venues allowed to reopen or host events, this is either because they are outside Houston City Limits, privately owned or the city decided to grant a special exemption. Professional, School and College sports are covered by different restrictions and allowed to take place under far more lenient restrictions. Because Alkek Velodrome is inside a city park and the lease agreement we are required to obey all HPARD rules and regulations including the COVID restrictions in the same way the Cullen Park Baseball and Soccer fields are which are still closed to groups larger than 4.
I would be lying if I said I knew how the vaccines will affect us reopening however I would expect the City of Houston will still apply the same metrics as before and if they meet agreed reopening trigger points this would show the vaccines are working and reopening can restart. I have already submitted a proposal for the next phase of reopening which would allow for bigger groups, new rider clinics and some racing, when we will be allowed to do this though I really can't say.
With 2021 now on the horizon can I ask you to complete a new waiver. I have (hopefully) made it a lot easier than last year with a fancy online submission portal!
2021 Velodrome Program - Attached
My hope is that we can get back up and running in 2021. My plan at this time is to start regular open training and host a season opening event in February with regular racing starting in March, however this is entirely dependent on what control measures are still in place from the City of Houston and HPARD. I will make a decision no later than Jan 31st 2021 regarding this and if necessary delay the start of the track season. I will keep you all updated on this. I have attached the planned program for 2021 and updated the track calendar accordingly. I still have some details to sort out but hopefully it all works out and we can have a great 2021! Please feel free to contact me about any questions you have about it.
Due to uncertainty I won't be issuing 2021 season passes quite yet. Those who bought 2020 training passes can still use them until the end of January. By that point I will be in a better position to decide what to do about 2021 passes and will make a separate announcement.
Velodrome Improvement Projects
Alkek Velodrome currently has funds allocated to improve infrastructure. The two main projects the GHCF are working on are a rider shade structure in the infield and a new elevated container structure for equipment storage which will also hopefully contain an operations center and workshop along with some other cool features! While we hope to start work as soon as possible we have some red tape to get through first. Alkek Velodrome is situated in the Addicks Reservoir so any construction work must not only be authorized by HPARD and also be approved by the US Army Corps. of Engineers. This is proving to be a considerably more time consuming process than we had hoped but we are working on it and have enlisted some specialist help from Brad Cowen and Tak Makino who have expertise in the area and kindly offered help. Hopefully we'll have a further update on these projects in the new year along with some other smaller projects I have planned for once we can host volunteer events again!
I have also been working on a revamped website and with some help from our more seasoned riders have been able to update the track records, compile a history of Alkek and start the Hall of Fame which will be revealed when that is released. The track records are already visible on the old website and even have some pictures now!
We also have been able to install a track weather station which will help us more accurately decide if events can take place (and also for those who are really geeky you can figure out what conditions are fastest etc.) and as some of you have noticed Bill Giffen and Joseph Matta have installed some awesome new floodlights which are considerably better than before and don't take any time to warm up!
I want to thank everyone for their help and support during this difficult year, while I am looking forward to getting things moving it's important we remain realistic. Track cycling may be awesome, and I miss racing as much as anyone, but let's not forget lots of people are facing far bigger problems than not having a fully operational velodrome. That being said I promise I will do everything I can to ensure we are all enjoying the track to its full capacity when the time comes.
Have a great new year and see you all soon!
Alkek Velodrome Program Director
19008 Saums Rd, Houston, TX 77084