Alkek Velodrome History
Along with the 1988 Olympic Trials Alkek Velodrome also hosted 7 National Championships and National Team Training Camps. Prior to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics Alkek hosted the Australian team who set several records that still stand today.
Many international caliber riders attended including Olympic Gold Medalist Marty Nothstein and to be world champion Jenny Reed who would compete against other national level riders such as Rene Duprel (right), Garth Blackburn (below).
Photo's courtesy of Bill Giffen
During this time Alkek Velodrome was operated by the incredibly dedicated Kathy Volski of Houston Parks and Recreation Department until she moved on in 2006.
In September 2017 Hurricane Harvey caused devastating damage to Alkek Velodrome ending operations for the year however thanks to efforts of the volunteers and GHCF the track was able to open for the following year although with reduced facilities.
By the time Lawson returned to Houston the GoFundMe had raised over $250,000. On August 24th 2018 in front of over 400 people he presented a check at a very special edition of Friday night racing which signified our appreciation for his efforts.
The first official event at the velodrome was the track cycling portion of the U.S. Olympic Festival - '86. The track events were held July 26 - 28, 1986. Headliners were 1984 Olympic Silver medalist Nelson Vails (below) and 4x World Champion Connie Paraskevin (left).
The 1989 Branders Invitational sprint competition, in which the USA and USSR competed was hosted by Alkek Velodrome featuring US riders Trey Gannon, Steve Phillips and Connie Paraskevin. Prior to the event the USSR team was burglarized leading to the Houston Parks Board paying $1500 to replace funds and papers. Alkek racer Bill Giffen played a lead role in the TV advertisement!
It the early 2000's Alkek Velodrome hosted several rounds of the ATRA American Velodrome Challenge which pre-dated the USAC National Track Calendar. It was made up of events held at tracks all over the USA.
Along with the AVC Alkek Velodrome hosted other national and international level races including the Nicole Reinhart Junior Classic alongside the local racing schedule.
In 2007 the City of Houston transferred management of the velodrome to the Greater Houston Cycling Foundation set up by a number of riders including Mark 'Doc' Bing, Carl Dore and Greg Sanders. A non-profit organization who have operated the Alkek Velodrome Ever Since.
During it's time Alkek Velodrome has produced numerous elite riders and champions. In July 2018 Lawson Craddock was seriously injured during stage 1 of the Tour de France after an accident involving a dropped water bottle. He bravely carried on pledging to raise $100 per stage he completed. Despite his injuries Lawson was able to capture the hearts of the cycling world and miraculously made it to Paris.
Today the Greater Houston Cycling Foundation continues to oversee Alkek Velodrome and direct facility and operations improvements while providing a great racing venue for Texas. Plans are in place to restore the Alkek Velodrome for generations to come...
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