About Imperial Valley Velo Club
In 1987, a group of local cycling enthusiasts led by Rumanian former Olympian Dmitri Nemteanu began the Imperial Valley Velo Club. For several years, the club very actively organized criteriums, time trials, and road races all around the Imperial Valley. Larry Cowne, Scott Finnell, CarterTaylor, Rick Webb, Raul Alvarez, and Tony Darr were early stalwart members. Ken Claverie aided in the publication of a regular newsletter about the group’s achievements, training methods, and upcoming events.
Due to the international success of Americans Greg Lemond and Lance Armstrong, the sport of cycling has grown beyond its fringe status in the US Now, the Imperial Valley and Mexicali areas include about 300 serious enthusiasts and hundreds if not thousands more casual riders pursuing a healthy lifestyle.
Brian McNeece revived the club in 2003 through a simple email list. Since then the club’s activities have grown to include this website and an annual USA Cycling-sanctioned criterium in Imperial that is part of the SoCal Cup racing series. For seven years, the Imperial Classic attracted top talent from many nearby states in the US and Mexico. Former participants at the IV Velo Club’s Imperial Classic have gone on to compete in the USA’s premier pro cycling event, the Tour of California.
In 2009, Olympic cyclist Sarah Hammer entered (and won) the event and sang its praises. “I’ll be back next year,” she said. “This is a great race with a unique community feel.”
In 2011 and 2012, the Imperial Valley Velo hosted the 6th Annual Imperial Classic and debuted another criterium race at the Brawley Cattle Call Rodeo Arena. Through its efforts and putting on sanctioned races, the IV Velo Club has raised more than $20,000 for its charity, the Cancer Resource Center of the Desert, and another $2,500 for the Family Treehouse in Imperial.
Starting in 2014, the IV Velo Club began to host the 3:10 to Yuma Charity Bike Ride. 2016 will be its third edition. As always, proceeds go to the Cancer Resource Center of the Desert.
In 2014, the IV Velo Club became a tax-exempt charity. Dennis Price, an IV Velo member and science teacher at Southwest High School, began a cycling club at the high school at outfitted 14 bikes for students to use. Dennis has moved on, but Andy Villagrana continues the club in its third season.
Late in 2014, the club began a bicycle refurbishing a giveaway program. Its goal is to encourage low income kids of all ages to use a bike for recreation, fitness and sport. The club is working with the El Centro Police Officers Association, Court Appointed Special Advocates, the Juvenile Justice Commission, Child Abuse Prevention Council, and the Imperial County Department of Social Services to identify worthy kids. In 2015, the IV Velo club processed and donated 190 bicycles.
Current officers of the Imperial Valley Velo Club are Brian McNeece, President; Jesse Flores, Vice-president; Gary Glud, Treasurer; Brian McNeece, Secretary. Other directors are Ray Soto and Roland Pritchard.
Annual Dues are $30 per year.