Finally A Good Use For The Great Park

Breakaway in front of an abandoned hangar (photo cred. Jeff Sipper)

At any other time, a visit to Irvine’s “Great Park” results in a desolate landscape populated by abandoned buildings and a lone orange balloon. However, on Thursday nights the runways are invaded by hundreds of amatuer cyclists participating in the “Thursday Night Crit at the Great Park”.

The “crit” or criterium is hosted by California Bicycle Racing and involves riders navigating a 2.7 mile circuit for several laps, culminating with a final exhilarating sprint to the finish. There are three catagories so anyone can race: Cat. 4/5 for the average people like me, Cat. Pro/1/2/3 for the experts, and Masters for the old guys. There is a nominal entry fee of $15 which goes to support the Bahati Foundation.

The race is a great way for cyclists of all skill levels to get a good workout in and compete for awesome prizes sponsored by Shimano, Motor Tabs, and other vendors.

While out there last week, I got to thinking… soccer fields and water fountains are nice, but the Great Park should add something unique to its otherwise unimpressive and unprofitable features by adding a cycling track to the park. There is a huge demand for velodromes (the official word for a cycling track) especially since the only ones are in LA or San Diego. Needless to say, a velodrome is what we need to make our park a great one.

The Encino Velodrome

The author resides in Irvine, where he attends Orange Coast College and serves in student government.  He also works at a bike shop and is a candidate for Irvine City Council.  He hikes and rides bikes in his free time.


About Chris Moore