Once Was: Cutting Edge BMX Track

I used to ride during the lunch hour at work, but the clothes changes x2 and the inevitable flat tire (the route was especially thorny) convinced me it just was not worth it, so instead I take a quick walk at some point during those sixty minutes. If I were to extend those pedestrian minutes by just a few each way, I could visit a site that has been on my mind lately. It is a site that, I think, would make an interesting photo shoot - a site that, though now in ruins, was apparently (and as its name suggests) very cutting edge in its prime. Yes, the site is the old Cutting Edge BMX Track on Fourth Street in Ontario.

I've never really done a lot of bmx here at the blog, which may not be so strange, because it is the one discipline of bicycling I have no connection with these days. On the other hand, until we aspired to our first 10-speed, didn't we all basically ride bmx in our early years - fast pedaling 24" wheels (or smaller?) through dirt fields, over hand-formed jumps, off curbs, and popping wheelies beneath the appreciative gaze of old summer sun. Was it not just as much fun as what we do these days?

Though the lunch-time rides I used to take bounced along in the dirt just behind the track, I never actually visited when it was in operation. Bummer, because they, apparently, held some high quality events there. The track itself was, at one time, highly regarded and well maintained, two facts which very likely allowed it to host State, National and even World Championship events. In fact, I distinctly remember what was probably their final big fling - they had gone all out with signs and banners, gussied up the place, the dirt parking was packed to capacity. I seem to remember the signs saying something about the World Championships, which probably means it was 2005, and thinking "wow, the Worlds. I never knew this place was so significant." 

Interesting how things turn out, though. A mere three years later, the track closed. I believe the owners were leasing the land from the county and the parks department wanted to expand Guasti Regional Park with a new water play area. Funny how things turn out, though. Six years more and the land still sits vacant. You can't see into the place from the street, but I imagine its dirt berms are eroded, the whoop-dee-doos weed infested, the pro shop a cracked and defiled shell, the starting gate a rusted waste, forever closed.

I spent time scouring the internet for information on the track. Until I fell asleep. Not a whole lot of text, least ways nothing easy to find, a handful of very poor quality photos, and some pretty good videos was about it. The names Harry and Dotty Leary kept popping up - apparently they owned the place, sold it, then bought it back with hopes of reviving it from hard times. Steve Rudy, owner in 2001 put up a $4,000 purse for a race that year (more than was / is[?] often awarded at ABA National Championships). Steve Spencer, another one time owner, is another name referenced to the site. And then there is Answer, the company who purchased the track in 2007 from Harry Leary, and who are widely blamed (whether fairly or not) for its decline and ultimate demise.

Well, after all that, and as you can see below I did stop by the place. It was before work and, though the front gate was swung open I decided it was probably best not to trip down the berm to find out what might be hidden in all that undergrowth; the place has, clearly, been popular with vandals and tweekers.

empty bleachers

don't know what that structure was

observation tower

old pro shop

berms are still there, roughly

So lets hear it - if you ever went to Cutting Edge to race or ride, to spend some quality time with the kids, what's your story, what do you remember most? Good memories or otherwise, it doesn't matter.

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