Last night was the end to another great season of “Short Track” mountain bike racing out at PIR (Portland International Raceway, adjacent to Delta Park and north of the Kenton neighborhood). About 300 people of all ages and abilities found their way to the venue for some good, old-fashioned, elbow-to-elbow racing action.
This series has been a mainstay on the local racing calendar for 12 years now. It’s owned and operated by Kris Schamp of Portland Racing, who also puts on the Kruger’s Kermesse on Sauvie Island. Schamp shared with me last night that he thinks stifling congestion on nearby freeways and a drop-off in racing participation in general has eaten into his field sizes of late. But he also said many new Portland residents bought series passes this year, eager to participate in a fun weekday race series so close to home.
What I’ve always loved about this event — besides the racing itself which features tight turns, fast competition, and thrilling course layouts — is the approachable vibe. In my transportation advocacy world we talk about “8-80” streets, meaning we should design streets to be safe for everyone 8-80 years old. Short track is like 8-80 bike racing.
Similar to cyclocross in the fall, short track is a place where everyone’s welcome. It’s definitely a “run what you ‘brung,” type of place. Last night there was everything from a kids race to elite-level competition. And out on the course I saw fat bikes, cyclocross bikes, mountain bikes, singlespeeds, and even a guy on a longtail cargo bike!
Speaking of action on the course, I got to see two great battles: Carter Hagedorn and Jacob Smith (both from the DEVO youth development team) dueled for the win in the Category 3, 10-14 year old race. And perennial fast men Ryan Weaver (Giro/River City Bicycles) and Seth Patla (PDX TI/HUB/RCB) treated us all to a show at the front of singlespeed race.
I captured a bit of that action as well as a few other scenes in the photos below…
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – email@example.com
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