Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Grochau Takes PIR Opener, Benjamin Third

(UPDATE: Corrected version with Kelly Benjamin in third overall and Christian Tresser in second)

Colavita/Sutter Home pro Kelly Benjamin celebrated her first-ever PIR Tuesday with a third-place finish, slipping away from the field on the last lap with John Grochau, an experienced hand on PIR's tarmac who brought home the win for Team Rapha.

Benjamin, a recent transplant to Portland, joined Grochau at the front of the race and the pair built enough of a gap to hold off the charging field by seconds. Benjamin credited Grochau with powering the move.

"He did most of the pulls," she said. "So I just kind of sat back in the finish."

Although Benjamin finished second on the road, Tresser earned some hot spot points which moved him ahead of her on overall points.

Tuesday's race marks the beginning of the Portland International Raceway Tuesday Night tradition that has become a staple of the local racing scene. The races run every Tuesday night through August. Benjamin said she enjoyed the wide-open racing and would definitely be back.

Word-RCB's Randy Word came across the line in fourth. The win is Grochau's best result at PIR since he finished third in July of last year.

Monday Night PIR Series Begins May 4

Beginning May 4 through Aug. 31, hundreds of cyclists will also take over PIR on Monday nights as the River City Bicycles Monday Night Race Series kicks off its 13th season.

There will be separate races for Novice Masters Men (aged 30+), Novice Women, an Open Women category for any age and ability, and two categories for more experienced Masters Men.

"Bicycle racing continues to grow in Oregon, and we see new racers each year trying it out," said race organizer Jim Anderson. "PIR is a great place to learn about racing. We're adding clinics for novice women and men who want to see what the sport is all about in hopes of seeing a growth in the novice category."

Anderson said prizes will be awarded, but the emphasis is always on learning and having fun. The series will expand it's efforts to reach out to new racers with clinics focused on the basics of how to get started racing. Men's clinics will be every first Monday of the month and the women's sessions will be every second Monday. Kendra Wenzel of Wenzel Coaching will run the women's clinic, and the mens clinic will be overseen by Russell Cree of Upper Echelon Fitness. Clinics will run approximately 30 minutes before and after each race.

Entry fee is $13 for women and master men, $5 for women under 18. Racers who avoid traffic on I-5 by bike commuting -- or by 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.

Top racers win gift certificates from River City Bicycles each night and for the monthly series. Consistent riders in all categories for the season will have a chance to win a Showers Pass jacket. Racing starts at 6:15 p.m.

More information at: www.racemondaynight.com or info@racemondaynight.com