by Aaron Hawkins
Word spread quickly through the cycling channels here in Louisville that our beloved cyclocross grounds would be making way for more soccer fields and swing-sets. The news first broke through our local cycling forums,and it has been the talk of the cycling community since it broke our hearts on Wednesday.
An article in Louisville’s local newspaper delivered the sad news that stimulus money will help to develop our park. Yes, that may sound great, but the plan is to develop our park into more soccer fields, a dog park, playgrounds and picnic areas. Cyclocross is being bumped from the very place that launched Louisville’s ‘cross scene, and we’re being bumped, rather dumped, into a reclaimed landfill down the street. It’s a sad day where bikes are displaced for park features that can be found all over the city. A suitable cyclocross facility is not something you come across every day. While this is not uncommon that cycling amenities are being wiped from the landscape by metro governments; it seems odd that Louisville wants to push it’s bike-friendly living and destroy it at the same time.
Louisville has been on the brink of national recognition and success with the cycling community for the past few years, and cyclocross was exactly what it needed to put itself over the top. The community is peppered with cyclists of all ages, backgrounds, including some stars and stripes bearers. Its a fiercely competitive town, and some of Louisville’s cyclists are know nationwide, and some have left impacts in across the globe.
In the past two years, Ironman has visited, Master’s Road Nationals swept through, and of course, the USGP. Its a sleeper city; no one expects Louisville to have such a large and deep cycling pool. Once you’re here a few times though, you notice the packs of riders each weeknight, the huge Tuesday Night Worlds crowd, you hear about the great Red Zone Juniors program, and you see the hoards of triathletes crushing it down River Road. You also see the dust clouds of riders down at our park, testing each other’s will and handling skills each Wednesday night starting in August, and finishing the season in the mud come December.
This is a call to everyone that has come to Louisville, raced here, ridden here, and felt at home here. Everyone that I’ve spoken to about coming to Louisville for the USGP’s, has been extremely positive, and say that they always look forward to coming back. I’m one of those people that came back and stayed. I moved to Louisville because of its cyclocross scene. It’s only 4 hours from “home”, but Louisville was a chance to be in a new cyclocross mecca that was just beginning to take shape. This March will mark my first year here in Louisville, and its amazing how big cyclocross has grown; but it is a markedly greater shock as to what’s to come.
Everyone that loves coming to Louisville to race, please make your voice heard. We need to save River Road Country Club, as it is the home for the USGP stop, the launch pad for most of our Junior cyclists, and the proven training grounds to all that live here. I doubt anyone would let Gloucester vanish, lets make sure that RRCC doesn’t.