Novice racing clinics gearing up in Portland

Popular cycling community encouraging newbies

Portland, Oregon is well known for its fixed-gear scene and commuter-friendly community, and now a grass-roots effort is underway to encourage budding road racers.

Beginning May 4, coaches and experienced riders will be leading clinics for men and women on Monday nights at the Portland International Raceway. Clinics run for men on the first Mondays and women on the second Mondays of the month. The River City Bicycles Monday Night Race series runs through August 31st.

"We saw a real need for clinics for women in 2007 with the introduction of the Novice races at Portland International Raceway," series organiser Jim Anderson told BikeRadar. "So in 2008 we started an intro to racing for novice women in. It was a HUGE success. Kendra Wenzel of Wenzel Coaching ran all the clinics, and engages at least 100-plus novice women racers.

"This year we have clinics for intro to racing for women and men," he added. "People have done clinics and intro to racing for novices in the Portland area, but not at Portland International Raceway."

Clinics will run approximately 30 minutes before the race and 30 minutes after the race. There is no fee for clinics, and riders do not need to race that night. Organisers encourage all riders interested in bicycle racing to join as an annual member to the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association.

All levels and abilities are welcomed and encouraged to attend: all that's required is a helmet, a road bike and a sense of adventure. There are separate races for novice masters men (aged 30+), novice women, and two categories for more experienced master men, and an open women category for women of any age and ability.

The course is a 1.9-mile, flat, wide and smooth paved loop of Portland International Raceway (I-5 Exit #306B) in N Portland. The raceway circuit is closed to all car traffic.

Entry fee is US$13 for women and master men, $5 for women under 18. Racers who avoid traffic on I-5 by bike commuting, or taking MAX to PIR receive $1 off entry, and race organizers will donate $1 to the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), a local non-profit working to make Oregon one of the best places in the world to ride a bike.

For more information, visit www.racemondaynight.com

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