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On Monday nights, human racing machines take over PIR (Photos)

Posted by on June 26th, 2012 at 10:16 am

Short Track Racing at PIR-18Criterium racing at PIR-2

Whether you love to ride dirt or pavement, PIR has you covered on Monday nights.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

To understand how vibrant and healthy Portland’s bike racing scene is, you needn’t look any further than Portland International Raceway (PIR) on a Monday night. Nestled in former wetlands just north of Kenton and west of I-5, PIR hosts two major weekly race series’ — one for dirt lovers and one for the roadies.

The Monday Night Bike Race Series run by Team Oregon happens every week between April 16th and August 27th. Riders tackle a 1.9 mile lap around PIR’s scenic, flat, and fast course. It’s a mass-start race for a set number of laps. There are weekly clinics for beginners and many people say that PIR is the perfect place to give criterium-style road racing a try.

Just a few hundred yards from the start of the road race, a much different type of bike racing happens. The Short Track Series runs on Mondays from June 4th to July 30th (except for July 2nd). The Short Track course changes every week, but it’s always dirty, fast, challenging, and a lot of fun.

I went out yesterday to soak up some of the action (admittedly, I shot a lot more photos of Short Track). To give you a taste of what happens out there, here are some of my favorite photos…

Short Track Racing at PIR-3

Hecklers!

Short Track Racing at PIR-5

Hecklers!

This guy somehow managed to be almost completely covered in mud…

Short Track Racing at PIR-2

And his kids were a little freaked out about it…

Short Track Racing at PIR-17

Speaking of mud, this little shredder is learning how to ride in it…

Short Track Racing at PIR-22

Then this happened…

Short Track Racing at PIR-23

But mud isn’t just for the little ones…

Short Track Racing at PIR-8

Short Track Racing at PIR-11

And while it’s always about fun, these guys and gals push themselves. Hard…

Short Track Racing at PIR-19

Short Track Racing at PIR-15

Short Track Racing at PIR-9

Short Track Racing at PIR-14

Short Track Racing at PIR-7

And now, let’s switch over to the road…

Like a pack of wolves about to capture its prey, this poor guy doesn’t stand a chance out there all alone…

Criterium racing at PIR-1

Anyone who has raced knows what this moment feel like…

Criterium racing at PIR-3

And, if you’re lucky and strong, you might also know what this feel like…

Criterium racing at PIR-4

Thanks to our amazing local race teams, promoters, sponsors and to the folks at PIR for letting bikes take over the place on Monday nights…

Criterium racing at PIR-5

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Joe
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Joe

The Crit looks like wide open drag race. whoa.. hope all had fun!

takeaspin
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takeaspin

PIR is great… I don’t think there is any other venue in the country that has such a popular road and mtb race scene every week. The racing is fun and the people involved are very friendly.

Marty
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Marty

I live in Kenton and love the no sounds of the bike raceway much better than the days with the loud race cars.

Dave
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Dave

Don’t forget the third race series out there, Tuesday PIR. Monday’s road race is Masters 30+ & Women only, whereas on Tuesdays the young guns show up.

john
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john

A Couple comments. 1. I got my wife to take 9 yr old son to kiddie MTB race. Now i have never raced there (and now probably never will, the velodrome is much safer imho!) I met them there (I bike commute from downtown..) evidently just before he took off for a lap. It was evidently such a cluster, with such rude parents and nasty little kids, that I ended up having to console and calm my wife down the rest of the evening. She was so upset she could hardly see straight or talk. I am thinking it was mostly her, but good grief people so much for growing the sport. Oh well so much for mtb bike racing for the kids! 🙂 at least for a couple years…
2. PIR road is a far far cry from criterium style racing. It’s also a far cry from typical road racing. It’s racing onto itself. Why. Because of the wide roads: the tactics, skillset and technique that are typically very nuanced and complicated in normal crits or road racing, are not required.

Kenji
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Oh shoot! Sorry to hear about your experience! I think I remember hearing about this incident. I’ve talked with Kris about making some changes for next year to help with these types of issues!

oskarbaanks
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oskarbaanks

Hey, the world ain’t perfect. Don’t give up so fast! I bet it is far more stressful lining up at Burgerville on Saturdays at noon to grab lunch. That’s racin’ as the sayin’ goes.

Travis
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Travis

Dude, those are amazing photos!

daisy
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daisy

Love the photos, especially of the little guy!

9watts
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9watts

Mud guy needs some fenders.

Roller cam brakes?! Wow. That photo made my day.

oskarbaanks
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oskarbaanks

Yes those lovely brakes (when set up correctly ) are more than likely older than the lovely person riding that C-dale. 🙂

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

John, for those of us who weren’t there, care to share what went wrong?