By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
For the second time in less than a year, the idea of bicycle racing at Keizer Rapids Park has been brought up.
Like a proposed BMX track – an idea which hasn’t been publicly discussed since – proposed last summer, Tuesday’s idea of a cyclocross track was brought up during a Keizer Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting.
Jarod Seaman from Half Penny Cycling in Salem expressed interest in using some of the trails in the back of KRP.
“We put on a short track event at the fairgrounds (in Salem) each year,” Seaman said. “This year we’re interested in changing venues. We want to use Keizer Rapids Park as our venue of choice. A lot of us in our group use Keizer Rapids Park during the winter. The trails are already established out there.”
Seaman proposed using the trails through the disc golf area on three Monday evenings in August, from 5 p.m. until dusk.
In response to a question from Parks Board chair Brandon Smith, Seaman confirmed his group is indeed separate from the BMX group that came to the board last summer.
“Our max is 100 to 150 bikes,” Seaman said. “Some of our races in the fall can have thousands of folks. People from Portland and Eugene come down and use it as training. We would be roping off the area (at KRP). We haven’t figured out the logistics of the course yet.
“We generally like the two-mile course which takes 10 minutes to ride,” he added.
Robert Johnson, the Parks and Facilities supervisor, couldn’t think of many drawbacks.
“Interference with parking would be my only concern,” Johnson said. “I know the course is a lot of fun.”
Seaman said some group members would come in the afternoons on the three Mondays to tape off the area being used.
“I think it’ll be great,” Parks Board member Roland Herrera said.
Seeing nods of approval from others, Smith gave Seaman the go-ahead for Seaman to work out details with Bill Lawyer, Keizer’s Public Works director.
“The board is supportive of this,” Smith said. “I think it would be good.”
Seaman told the Keizertimes afterwards he first learned of the trails at KRP two years ago.
“This is a good spot for it,” he said. “It’s been kind of a secret spot. The trails have enough diversity to get a good workout. You have the technical aspect plus the speed. There are lots of trails. Everyone has their course they prefer.”
Seaman said his team would most likely narrow down selections to one course. He has a preferable one in mind.
“It has a wood staircase,” he said. “You dismount, run up the stairs, then remount the bike. That is one of the best options.”
Seaman said the August events would be used as training for the team’s fall and winter season races, which are held regardless of weather.
“With our sport, rain is not a deterrent,” he said. “In fact, the more rain, the better. Some won’t start their training until it is raining.”
While looking to use KRP this summer for training, Seaman said full races could be in the future.
“It comes down to the Parks Board’s desire,” he said. “My concern is to not deter current park users. There is the potential to put on races annually here.”