Red Deer BMX hosts provincials
Whereas in early July Great West Adventure Park was wet, slimy, and void of human presence, over the weekend it was sunny, dry, and raucous as BMX riders converged on the site they were supposed to be racing around earlier this summer.
Red Deer BMX finally got to host its provincial meet over the weekend after high water levels from the Red Deer River’s June flooding left the riverside biking area a mired in mud two months ago.
“This was all a mess,” said club president Laura Snape, gesturing to the Great West Adventure Park grounds, “Picnic tables were floating over there, and the parking lot was under water — deep water; waist-high water.”
Flooding then necessitated the club to postpone its scheduled hosting of provincial races at the site on July 12-14. While the riding track itself was not hit by water, the surrounding area was all flooded, said Snape.
“It took probably a week and a half to two weeks before we could actually get down here and start working, and then everything was covered with a layer of that slimy mud. So there was a lot of digging, a lot of spraying.
“It took a lot of time to dry out, and when it gets wet there’s still that slimy mud that you have to deal with.”
But overall, the park was spared the extensive damage it experienced during the last significant flood of 2005. Then, the area was one of the hardest hit in the city, with the starter’s hill partially washed out and the then-new moto shed destroyed.
Then, a large volunteer effort got the track up and running again, with the shed stripped down and redone and ten thousand square feet of grass replaced.
This time around, the club was better prepared, having put the shed up on blocks and moving bikes and equipment to higher ground just before the floodwaters encroached on the space.
In the end, waters reached right to the bottom of the recently-raised moto shed.
Over the weekend 368 riders ranging from five years old to 50-plus took to the track and around them families and spectators created a festive, high-energy atmosphere.
Streets leading down to the park were filled with vehicles and grassy areas near the city’s trail network were used for parking, and, in some cases, makeshift day tents.
Snape said the pros and cons of the track’s location are finely juxtaposed.
“It is one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful BMX track in Alberta. But with that comes no parking and the river.
“We’re going to do some strategic vision planning of what we’d like and put together a proposal for the city and see what they can do for us, because we would really like to become the central hub for BMX in the province, because we are central,” she explained.
Among the proposals might be to utilize some more of the space around the track, which might involve removing some trees. Snape said the club is unable at present to host a national race simply because it does not have enough available parking.
She added that the club has an ongoing goal of becoming more known in Red Deer. With about 140 registered riders in the club and a strong volunteer base, Red Deer BMX is doing well, but is still largely unknown.
“It’s really important to me to increase the community presence of Red Deer BMX, because the track has been here for years and years and people don’t know it’s here.
“And the impact of having 368 riders plus their families come down to Red Deer from across the province is fabulous,” said Snape.
Local athletes won 16 golds and a large haul of other medals at the meet.