Clinics help women own track at PIR

Monday night races
by: ©2007 Jim Anderson, Pedal-powered racers gather at the starting line at Portland International Raceway, where they’re a little quieter than what usually circles the track.

Two-wheelers who often are frustrated by the city stop signs and traffic lights that kill their momentum may want to head out to the Portland International Raceway this summer for a few rounds on a track and some friendly competition.

And women are encouraged to participate.

Races happen every Monday night from May through August. But on the second Monday of each month, experienced women racers will offer support to newbies with half-hour introductory talks before the races, and additional information and feedback afterward.

The races, starting their 12th season this summer, drew about 130 participants a night last year. About 25 to 30 of those were women.

Jim Anderson, an organizer, says the goal is to get more women racing.

'It's somewhat intimidating,' he says. 'There's a lot to learn and not as much support for women racers.'

But now, he says, more women-specific riding groups are emerging. And, he adds, 'Women racers want to help out the new women racers as much as they can.'

The course is a flat, car-free 1.9 miles. Helmets are required.

The series is sponsored by Lakeside Bicycles in Lake Oswego, which provides prizes and awards to winners each month.

Races start at 6:20 p.m. (novice women) and 6:35 p.m. (open women) every Monday from May 5 through Aug. 25. Race categories always include one for novice men, one for novice women, two for experienced men over 30 and one open race for women of any age or ability.

Clinics for women start at 5:45 p.m. on the second Monday of each month. Racers generally pay $13 a night, with some discounts available. Spectators enjoy for free. For information, visit

- Toby Van Fleet